In the Blink of an Eye



In January 2005, I had my very first solo show in The Port Moody Art Center. This was an amazing opportunity for an aspiring artist. I invited everyone I knew, I was so happy to let the world know that I managed to put together a solo show. Looking back, I remember how eager I was to start my art adventures and I am immensely grateful to the Port Moody Arts Centre that hosted the show, to my hubby for the emotional support, and to the wonderful art lovers who purchased a few of my paintings from that show.


Some of my paintings from  2005


One of those memorable early art collectors was a passionate art-loving woman whom I had met three years earlier in West Vancouver where I was painting en plein air with my art class. She had told me that she would buy my painting if I ever decided to sell it. Three years later, I mailed her a photo of the painting and an invite to the show, and she came. She literally ran into the gallery shouting “Is it sold?”  I will never forget her!



The "Is it sold?" painting


You are invited to the anniversary group show featuring paintings by many artists who have shown their art in the Port Moody Arts Centre over 20 years. Let's celebrate the art and this wonderful community organization! All the details can be found on the poster above.

I will have three pieces in the show. I picked a mix of works created over the past few years, I hope you will enjoy seeing them!

See you in Port Moody!

Tatjana

Dappled Shade is one of my three paintings in this show.
Come visit us to see the rest! 


Diptych


Work in progress (still untitled) diptych by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, acrylic, 20x48


This is the first time I've planned to make a painting that consists of multiple panels. I have made a triptych some time ago, but in that case, the two side-panels were added years after the central image was done.

I am motivated by an idea from the literary world - the idea of creating a visual version of linked stories. For those interested in this concept, linked stories are stand-alone pieces of literature with something in common which gives a collection of them a greater meaning. They can be linked by common characters, by a common setting, or by a common theme. I love this concept because it gives the artist freedom to play with multiple pieces, to re-arrange them, separate them, or join them together.

In the world of visual art, we create meaningful bodies of work and present them in themed art exhibits. We also aspire to have our art in curated collections. On the smallest scale, the "mix and match" idea can be applied to the use of a multi-paneled format. So, this time, I wanted to challenge myself to create a composition that would work both as a diptych and as two separate pieces.

The main feature of the left panel is an island reflected in a glacial lake. The right panel's composition is established by the glacier and an interesting formation of rocks. Put together, the outline of the mountain and the rich chroma of the lake dominate the overall composition. At least I hope so! The piece is still a work in progress.

I am sharing a few steps of the creative process. The final image is reserved for the opening of my solo show in July in the beautiful Studio Connexion Gallery in Nakusp, BC.








 I hope that this concept interests you and that you will consider it for your own artsy endeavors.

Happy spring!

Tatjana

Step By Step - Brambles Study


Brambles Study, 11x14, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


Here is a very quick (1h) acrylic sketch with step by step snapshots that capture the painting process. This was painted from a photo displayed on my computer screen, without any preliminary drawings, thumbnails etc. This is a quick and joyful way of painting, perfect for trying out patterns and compositions in preparation for a larger piece. Aside from having great fun, another good thing about this approach is that you end up with these fresh small pieces which are little darlings all by their own.



Step 1 - Transparent red oxide imprimatura and a gestural block-in of dark shapes with diox purple. I use a large flat brush for this step.




Step 2 - Adding gestural block-in with a mid-value green mixture.



Step 3 - Repeat the same approach with mid-value mixtures of  earthy yellow and red



Step 4 - Block in the blues in the background to suggest the sea, sky, and distant coastline




Step 5 - Switch to a medium-sized flat brush and reinstate the dark areas, add details - branches, foreground texture etc.


Step 6 - Add sunlit areas - lights in the bark, grasses, leaves, using light mixtures of gray, green, orange, yellow. Keep reinstating darks and adding details.



Step 7 (the Final image on the top) - Switch to a medium/small (e.g. #6) flat brush, punch up all lights, punch up the chroma by adding a few new colors (reds, pinks, greens), and add as many details as you feel needed. It's fun to have some crisp highlights while leaving other areas unresolved.

This was quick. I am ready for the next one!

Happy painting,
Tatjana

Artful Memory

Whytecliff Park Sunset, 30x30, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


If you are a creative person, you must have experienced those memorable moments of inspiration which get rooted so deep in your mind, they never disappear. For a visual artist, those are often images with something special about them, be it an intriguing composition, a combination of colors, or just the sheer inexplicable "feel" of the moment.

While other delightful moments eventually fade into oblivion, these darlings keep coming back, and every time they do, I promise myself I'd do something special with them one day.

A beautiful art friend recently wrote to me describing a location which holds a special place in my heart. Ever since reading about it, an image from years ago started popping up, begging to be painted. Although I was working on anothr painting and had a few more planned, I couldn't shake off the desire to revisit this particular scene.

I searched my sketches and photo archives and I found a pic of a summer evening in the Whytecliff Park, looking west toward Bowen Island as the sun was setting down. I will never forget the joy of being there to witness the beauty of this stunning area.

After all those years, I finally recreated the moment in paint.

What a glorious gift it is to be able to do this!

Tatjana


Art Connections

Pacific Sunset, 16x20, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki (Lando Gallery, Edmonton, AB)


I recently had a pleasure of hearing back from a few art lovers who gracefully shared photos showing my art displayed in their homes. This a wonderful reminder for artists how our creations touch lives of people we may never get to meet.

Although art enters a marketplace and gets passed on by a transaction of sale, it is unlike any other kind of product. Art that leaves the studio becomes an active part of someone's life. It inspires, relaxes, reminds, enchants.

Art interacts over space and time.

Take the Golden Sunset painting for example.


Golden Sunset (sold), original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

It was inspired by many trips to the Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.

It's easy to fall in love with this place, its network of forest trails and beautiful rocks where one can spend hours gazing at the ocean, admiring the view of nearby islands. For me, this scene embodies the journey my husband and I made from Serbia to this amazing place on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. In 1994 we took a leap of faith and traveled thousands of kilometers to the most beautiful place on earth. That's what I think of when I look at this image.

For the art-loving family who now looks at it every day, it means something else.


Golden Sunset in its permanent home

It reminds them of growing up in this gorgeous area, having picknicks with friends, taking long walks with their dog. Our memories are different, yet our sentiment is the same.

It's about people cherishing experiences with their loved ones and feeling connected to the land.

Here are a few more pics sent in by the generous collectors to inspire us all to create, appreciate, and add art to our homes.


Golden and Orange Larch perched  in a beautiful spot


Mountain High welcoming visitors 


Little Zig Zag Falls helping its owners relax 


As I work on new sketches and paintings, I can't help wonder whose lives they might touch one day.



Whitewater, 12x16, work in progress study for a larger piece, now on the easel

All my best,

Tatjana

Five Easy Steps

Winter Trail, 20x24, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki



Some of you know that in addition to painting, I also write short stories. In the past couple of months, I've felt a bit blocked and I decided to take a five-day online class to get the words and sentences flowing again. In this excellent course, aspiring writers are nudged to write a short story each day, taking various approaches. Each suggested approach consists of a few well-defined steps.

This reminded me of the value of "steps" in the creative process in general. The internet is inundated with articles of the type "Five Easy Steps to <fill in the blank>." There is a good reason for their popularity - they are easy to grasp and they incite action. 

The notion relies on two premises:

1. Creativity is a process rather than a product.

2. We can accomplish many things we didn't know we could if we break up the activity into a few well-explained steps.


I found this helpful because, when things get muddled, blocked, or just plain scary, it's because I've been obsessing about what I want to create, rather than focusing on how to do it. Every once in a while, I somehow manage to forget that for me, the best part of creativity is the "how" - working out the steps. What do I want to do first, second, third, etcetera? Steadily taking those steps and watching the magic unfold on the canvas is what gives me joy.

There must be a million ways to make a painting, and for years, my intention has been to learn, try, and hopefully invent, as many of them as I can.

Here is an example. You can use it to paint a landscape, a portrait, a still life, or an abstract. Take your pick what you want to paint, but consider these five steps:

1. Cover the canvas with a cadmium yellow imprimatura mixed with a lot of medium, and wipe off some of it with a rag.

2. Use the largest palette knife you have to block in dark shapes with dioxazine purple color.

3. Switch to a large flat brush and block in the medium-value shapes using red oxide, cerulean blue, and medium neutral gray.

4. Get a medium-size filbert brush and add lights using titanium buff and pale pink.

5. Add some caligraphy marks with a rigger brush, a chopstick, and the tip of a nail.


I totally made this up. Still, don't you feel like going through these steps just to see what would turn out?  I do. There's something about steps that's hard to resist.

So, make up your own five steps and dive in. Try something you don't usually do. Have fun!

If you'd like to share, send me an email, or respond to this post, or post it on the Facebook. I'd love to see something fun and creative.

Happy painting!

Tatjana

The Groove

Back on Track, 8x8, original acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki



For many of us, winter holidays are an opportunity to re-connect with family and friends, to reset and re-start what we are doing, to experience a new beginning. This is supposed to be refreshing and inspiring, but there is also a side-effect. Amidst all the celebrations, I tend to lose my groove.

I love my groove. It's a good groove - making art, experimenting, studying, dreaming up new work. What's not to like about it?

In fact, I like it much more than all the holidays and celebrations in the world, and I am not sure that I need any re-starting and refreshing at all. These things are distractions that stand between me and my art, making me squirrelly and grumpy.

I am not a holiday Scrooge. I can do it for a day or two, but when it stretches over a week, it messes up my groove.

It's already the third week of January and I am finally back in my studio, happy as a clam. I got back to work in small steps and with a lot of play.

The piece above is 8x8 inches and it was a joy to make. I jumped into it without any planning whatsoever, used pigments at hand, blocked in wildly without drawing, played with brushstrokes to my heart's content. It felt great!

I hope that you haven't lost your groove over the holidays, but if you did, do what you need to to get back into it.

Make your art!

Tatjana