Pause, Look, Listen...


Golden Larch, 30x15, original acrylic painting
by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


It's hard to paint at this time of the year when I am so humbled by nature. "See what I can do," she says and turns all the colors to gold, while I fumble with my brush. It happens every year, yet the glory of autumn never gets old.

This fall I visited the place where our great predecessors roamed with a brush and palette in hand, and where they captured little jewels of nature on canvas.

Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.



Colors of Algonquin, October 2017


I made a pilgrimage to the majestic collections of Canadian art:

McMichael Canadian Art Collection, in Kleinburg, Ontario
Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto
National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa



Paintings by Tom Thomson in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection


There is nothing I can say, nothing I can add to the beauty of the Canadian landscape captured in the works of masters:

Tom Thomson.  Lawren Harris.  A. Y. Jackson.  Frank Johnston.  Arthur Lismer.  J. E. H. MacDonald.  Frederick Varley.  A. J. Casson.  Edwin Holgate.  LeMoine FitzGerald. 
Thank you!





I reveled in their paintings and listened to what they had to tell me:

Pause

Look

Listen

Observe

Remember

Enjoy

Take the time

Discover the endless gifts of nature

Feel the beauty




Paintings by Tom Thomson in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection


How can we not paint if we have the ability to do so?

Make art.

It is needed.



Tatjana



Rock Isle Lake, Banff, 30x40
original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki



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Summer Gratitude

Mountain Lupine, Wild Flowers, Alpine Meadley, Indian Paintbrush, 16x16, original acrylic paintings by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


This summer was long and scalding hot, but it sure was not lazy. It was packed by traveling to artsy destinations, painting, framing, shipping, and attending art events.

After an extended period swarming with art activities, it's important to look back and acknowledge all the joy and hard work which needed to be done for all these lovely things to happen.

 It's also important to thank all the wonderful collaborators and art lovers who made this summer exceptional.

THANK YOU!

- Beaumont Gallery staff, artists, and visitors who participated in the West Coast Homeland art show. The opening reception was a nice small affair, perfect to make new and meet old friends.




- 2017 Pacific North West Plein Air artists, Maryhill Museum of Art staff and volunteers. The entire event was magnificent!



- Lake O'Hara Trails Club for maintaining one of the most inspiring parks in the Canadian Rockies. Another thank you goes to my hubby for being persistent and phoning the reservations until he was able to secure a camping spot for us this year.



- Kilby Plein Air Event staff, volunteers, participating artists, and visitors, some of whom turned out to be wonderful like-minded souls. What's not to love about spending a weekend on a picture perfect farm and making new friends?



- Charming owners of The Studio Connexion Gallery in gorgeous Nakusp, BC. Perfect location, beautiful art, and very special people. The experience was fantastic and several of my paintings found permanent homes.




- Grant Berg Galleries for expanding representation of my work to the lovely Kananaskis and finding more walls for my art.




- White Dog Studio who took exceptional care of my paintings over years of fruitful collaboration.



- Buckland Southerst Gallery and Lando Gallery for being supportive and encouraging of my artistic development over many years.




- My wonderful art collectors for including my art in your lovely homes and offices!

- All the amazing art friends for making the art world a better place!


I hope you liked my Oscars' speech!  Just to make sure I don't miss anyone, if you are reading this blog post, you are one of the people I want to thank, just for being here, loving art, taking the time to read this and look at my art.

THANK YOU!


I wish everyone a gentle transition into the next season and many successes, however, you choose to define them!

Tatjana

Change


Purcell Patterns, 30x20, original acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


There is one sure way to find out just how much your fans love your work.

Change.

Start doing things differently and you will instantly be told how much your old style is missed. Although this may raise doubts, it's a good thing. We make art. We develop. Our art gains fans. Every single bit of this process is awesome.

So why do I sometimes feel guilty about moving on?

I feel a mix of nostalgia and fear that the life is passing way too fast. Didn't I just take my very first art class (watercolor painting by a fabulous artist Zhu Zhu Mark), a few years ago? Wait, that was in 1995. Ouch!

So much has changed since then.  I've painted watercolor florals, then portraits, then egg tempera icons, oil still life, and many other things. Then I got obsessed with the science of composition and soon after got crazy about the expressionist painting of the iconic Canadian landscape. I stylized it,  composed the heck out of it, gorged on patterns and colors.

My most recent change happened this summer when I decided to completely eliminate the pre-drawing process and instead develop each painting by overlaying shapes unrestricted by lines. It's not something I am planning to keep doing forever. It's just one more destination on my art journey.



Wolf Creek Patterns, 12x16, original acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


I wondered why this corny metaphor kept cropping up, but then I realized that it's not really a metaphor and it most certainly isn't corny. Life is indeed a journey - we can feel it in our legs and arms, our mind and emotions. We aren't today where we were yesterday.

When I was seven, we moved from my grandpa's house where I grew up to a new part of town where I didn't know anyone. In my teens, my country fell apart and the entire system of values disintegrated. In my twenties, I immigrated to Canada and had to rebuild my life. Should a small change in my painting process, seen from the perspective of the entire ever-changing life, be a reason for worry?

And yet, it is.



Dusk Approaching, 14x11, original acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


I don't know who will want to walk next to me on this new trail, or with whom I will want to walk, but I definitively feel curious enough to keep going. Perhaps this curiosity is the kay for a creative life.

All this sounds very melancholic. It's that time of the year when the nature turns and subtly changes everything with it. No need to cheer me up, friends. As wise people say, this too will change.

Basking in gloom,

Tatjana

Plein Air Sketches


Mt Hood from a Pear Orchard, oil, 8x10, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


This summer we had to fight the desert heat, forest fires, smoke-haze, but nothing can stop a resolute plein air painter! Perseverance has paid off. I have many new paintings and my web site has been updated with new pieces. I've also learned a few tricks of the trade along the way, which I want to share with you.

Tip 1 - Decide on your painting location before you set off for a day of painting outside. One can waste hours of wandering around, searching for the most inspiring spot, while the time is passing buy and frustration builds up. If you know where you are going it's much easier to get there, as some wise person said.

Tip 2 - To stay cool even in the worst heat, tie a wet bandana around your neck. When it warms up from your body heat, untie it and swing it a few times in the air, and it will become cool again. Keep it wet - any kind of moisture will do. I learned this from a charming plein air painter from Oregon.

Tip 3 - If the weather is hazy don't despair but go with it, make it work. Distant mountain-peaks seen through a haze have lovely pastel tones, not to mention striking sunsets. A sketch of a red setting sun over a river, disappearing in a haze, has won the first place in the Pacific North West Plein Air event this year.

Here is a selection of my artistic output from recent plein air adventures. I hope you'll enjoy seeing them and, if you need encouragement, feel inspired to head out to paint and share your sketches with the art community.



Little Zig Zag Falls, 14x11, acrylic




Mt Hood from Dalles Ranch Road, 11x14, acrylic





Blue Sky of Kilby, 10x8,oil





Big Beauty, 10x8, oil




Painting outside is an important practise because it teaches us to make quick decisions, paint faster, be more accurate, understand colors and values, and master our tools and materials.

Painting outside with a group has a whole other set of benefits. When I watch other artists paint, I feel my artistic horizons expanding, and, of course, making new friends and meeting old ones is always a joyful experience.

But the most valuable outcome of this summer's plein air adventures was a birth of (for me) brand new concepts and ideas. Something very special happened while I was working on my oil and acrylic sketches. There was something novel and exhilarating in the way those little paintings came together and I am now excited about creating a new series of larger studio paintings.

As I mentioned before, all points on our artistic journey are connected. What we do today affects what we will do tomorrow, and so on. I can't wait to start working on my new paintings!

I hope that you feel excited about you own art adventures, whatever they may be!

Tatjana



Meet Me in Nakusp, Join Me in Kilby!


If you are in the Nakusp area in the next few weeks, please come visit my solo exhibit, or even better, come to the opening on Friday, Aug 18, 5-8pm.

If not, no worries, I will start posting images of the 20 featured paintings over next while, via Instagram, Facebook, as well as here. I would love to hear your feedback! 

I am not supposed to reveal the paintings before the show, but sharing just one or two won't hurt. 

Here is a sneak peek, just for you!



Forest Sunset, acrylic, 10x8, by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


Snowmelt, acrylic, 16x20, by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


If you are looking for a road trip closer to Vancouver, I will be painting at the wonderful Kilby Heritage farm on the last weekend of August. Come join me as a fellow artist or an art lover. 
Registration deadline for painters is August 15 (email events@kilby.ca)

Last year I won the second prize (a free night in a Harison Hot Springs hotel!), but more importantly, I used the paintings I made in Kilby as a submission into the Pacific North West Plein Air event and got juried in. Every step we make on our art journey leads to the next one.

Have a lovely high summer! 

Tatjana

Special Places

Photo of Seven Veils Falls, Lake O'Hara - I took this photo from the top of the Big Larch Trail


We all have those special places which keep inspiring us time and again. Last weekend I went to one of those special places, Lake O'Hara Park in the Yoho National Park, on the BC side of the Canadian Rockies. This place exudes an amazing creative energy. Shapes of rocks seem designed by a master sculptor and the arrangement of lakes and glaciers is next to none.



Huber Ledges Trail


It's not easy to get here. It took 210 phone call attempts to get through to the reservations and secure a camping spot for three nights. But it's well worth the effort, and three nights are more than enough. The beauty of the landscape is so intense that a short visit feels just right. My creative brain is now saturated with visual stimuli and creative joy. I can't wait to start working on new paintings!


 Here are a few examples of paintings I made after my previous visits to the lake O'Hara Park.


Lake O'Hara, 24x30, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, available in the Lando Gallery in Edmonton, AB




Opabin Lake, 30x30, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, available




Cascade Lakes, 24x30, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, available




I hope you get to visit your favorite places this summer to get inspired for months to come!


I have news!







I just shipped three big boxes full of brand new paintings to the Studio Connexion Gallery in the beautiful Nakusp, BC. They will be featured in a solo exhibit in the second half of August, with an opening on Friday, August 18. If you are in the area, I would love to see you there! Stay tuned for more information about this event!



A sneak peek at a work in progress for the Nakusp exhibit. I'll share the completed painting with you soon.

Happy high summer!

Tatjana

Plein Air Painting Kit



As the title of the post says, I am preparing a plein air painting kit for my upcoming trip to the Columbia River Gorge. The card above says it all. It will be my first event with an American group of painters so I am trying to make myself look as professional as I can.





Just kidding, artists are artists wherever you go, lovely creative people obsessed with the things on their easels, and great promoters of artistic camaraderie. I hear that they have some lovely wineries just south from the gorge too.

Nevertheless, it's good to be prepared for the maximum enjoyment while painting outside. I am traveling by car so the temptation is to bring the kitchen sink but I'll try not to. I prepared a list  (two lists, one for acrylic and one for oils) and some pics of what I am packing up. If you notice me forgetting something important, please do let me know!


Tatjana's Acrylic Plein Air Painting Kit:



  • my brand new Strada paint box (I am retiring my super-heavy Julian easel)
  • tubes of acrylic paint (titanium white, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, transparent red oxide, quinacridone red, dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, cerulean blue, phthalo green)
  • synthetic brushes (flats and filberts, sizes 6-12)
  • water jug
  • water sprayer





Tatjana's Oil Plein Air Painting Kit:



  • my semi-new Guerrilla painter cigar box
  • tubes of alkyd oil paint (titanium white, cad yellow, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, winsor red, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, pthalo blue, cobalt blue, phthalo green)
  • Walnut alkyd medium (small jar)
  • Odorless thinner (small jar + a bigger jar to clean brushes)
  • hog brushes (rounds, filberts, and flats, sizes 6-12)
  • baby oil (for cleanup)





Miscellaneous Items:



  • my hand-made painting panels
  • paper palettes
  • sealable palette box
  • rags and paper towels
  • tripod
  • comfy backpack
  • umbrella
  • sun screen
  • bug spray
  • plastic garbage bag
  • camera
  • notebook
  • lap top
  • cool hat
  • hiking gear
  • something decent to wear for gatherings






The event includes a month long group exhibit of the plein air paintings in the Maryhill Museum of Art, so I am bringing a few frames with me and all the hanging paraphernalia. This will be fun, I can't wait to get there!

I'll make sure to take photos and will report back with my impressions, in case some of you are tempted to enter this annual event next year.

If you happen to be in the Gorge in August, please make sure to visit the museum. The area is beautiful!


Happy painting!

Tatjana

cool hat - check!