Art Quality

Tofino Study, 8x10, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki



Quality is such a big word, it can mean many things to many people, and nothing to others. What does it mean for us artists? How can we convince ourselves that our creations have the quality that we expect from them? What in particular is within our control?

The criteria will be different for every person and can change over time. For example, when I started painting, I was obsessed with composition - my every piece had to follow the strict rules of the Dynamic Symmetry. Then, I studied many color theories and defined very specific criteria for selecting color mixtures. These days I am into mark making and will not consider a painting of mine satisfactory unless there is a variety of brush marks in it.



Work in progress - a piece for my solo exhibit in the Studio Connexion Gallery in Nakusp, BC in July - stay tuned!



My Art Quality Checklist


Step 1 - PREP

- The best materials and tools that I can afford (canvas bars straight, corners crisp, gesso layer thick, canvas tight like a drum, paints of artist quality, brushes well shaped)
- Generous palette (squeeze out huge blobs of paint)
- Lighting perfect
- Reference material clear and deeply inspiring


Step 2 - CRAFT

- Values
- Color
- Composition
- Lines and shapes
- Edges
- Marks
- Originality
- Freshness


Step 3 - REVIEW

- How does it look on the secondary easel?
- How does it look on the wall in my home?
- How does it look with or without a frame?
- Identify surface issues (sloppiness, ignored passages, craft-related issues)
- Identify deep issues (originality, emotional response, overall style, and direction)
- How does it fit with my body of work?
- What can I learn from this piece?


Step 4 - SEND-OFF

- Show it to my favorite gatekeepers
- Document it for my records
- Impeccable presentation (varnish, backing, edges, hanging hardware, frame, etc.)
- Where does this piece want to go?
- Show it to the world!


I hope this will help in defining your own creative quality checks if that's what you need.

Happy painting!

Tatjana

Huge thank you to everyone who visited during my artist residency in the Federation Gallery. It was a fun weekend in the company of wonderful art lovers!

Pop-up Art Studio






For this weekend's West of Main Art Walk, I am creating a pop-up art studio in the welcoming space of the Federation Gallery on Granville Island.

The idea is to create an ambiance that reflects my painting practice, in order to give the visitors an idea of where and how the creative process takes place. The setup will be something in between my home art studio and the plein-air setup for painting outside, in nature.

The Federation staff graciously allocated a nice area by the gallery window, so there will even be enough space to display pieces available for viewing and purchase.

There are a few more days for planning, which includes deciding what to bring and what to do while I am there. For once, deciding what to wear isn't a problem since most of my clothes are splattered with paint and thus, appropriate for this event.

We expect many visitors, and I hope you will make it there if you are in the area.

I am packing up examples of my work to bring with me. There will be a mix of finished pieces as well as a number of small unframed studies. These little darlings rarely leave my studio and I seldom get convinced to let them go. so this will be a unique opportunity to see them. They are great for getting a glimpse of my creative process, and they are quite affordable. I myself own several studies by my fellow colleagues which I snatched at similar art events over the years.


Details of a few paintings that will be available for viewing and purchase


Hopefully, there will be time to paint something on the spot between chatting with the art lovers, so I am bringing my paints and brushes. There will even be some freebies. This will be fun!

The event takes place this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 2&3, 2018, 10am-5pm, in the Federation Gallery on Granville Island, 1241 Cartwright Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 4B7.

I hope to see you there!

Tatjana

West of Main Art Walk





Spring is a great season for art walks and they are happening everywhere. If you are in the Vancouver area, please come see the Roundhouse Exhibit on May 24, and visit me on the weekend of June 2/3 in studio #24 in the Federation Gallery on Granville Island.









You can download the full map here:




Happy spring!

Tatjana

Art in the Window


Whitewater Study, acrylic, 16x20


It's such a joy for artists to send our art out into the world. Finding a permanent home for art is awesome, but temporary homes are great too. This is where a supportive art-loving community plays a part.

Next week, my paintings are heading out in two such directions. In my last post, I mentioned a group art exhibit In the Blink of an Eye in the Port Moody Arts Centre, where three of my paintings will be included among many works of art by local artists. I am hoping to see you at the opening!

The second place where I am taking my paintings next week is the Roots store on Granville Street in Vancouver, where they will be displayed for the month of May, as a part of the West of Main Art Walk event.

I've never had my art in a merchant's store so this will be an interesting experience. I am very grateful to the Roots staff for accommodating my art display, and to the Artists in Our Midst art group for organizing this event.

If you happen to be in the area, take a peek at the store window, I hope you'll enjoy what you see. The best part is that you will see art in many other stores and venues in the area, all being a part of the same event.



Alpine Summer, acrylic, 11x14


Here are some pointers for artists who are thinking of displaying art in a similar venue:


  • Book the installation and take-down times with the venue staff and make sure this is done at the times that suit the venue.
  • Plan in advance how the art will be displayed, and what kind of props you'll need. Consider display easels of various sizes and styles, splints, hanging gadgets etc.
  • Make sure the art is finished and framed impeccably, but keep in mind that some damage may occur. Expecting a public or commercial environment to be safe for art is optimistic.
  • Write your contact info on the back of the art, and also give your contact info to the store staff.
  • Make clearly readable labels with the piece title, your name, and your website. You can add other info if you wish. I like to keep things simple.
  • If you want the visitors to be informed about some event or a gallery where they can see more of your art, ask if you can display additional marketing materials, like posters, brochures, business cards etc. Understand that this may not be possible.
  • Beware that there are risks in all this - the art may get damaged or even stolen. Once we take the risk, it is ours.


My goals in doing this are to add art to the community, gain fans for my work, and leave a positive impression on the people who help us so that they feel compelled to do it again.

I am looking forward to this experience and keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well!

Tatjana

P.S. If you see someone running down the Granville Street with a handful of paintings during the month of May, consider a citizen's arrest!


Lighthouse Park, acrylic, 12x9


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