Thursday, 17 September 2015

Color of Light

Daly Glacier, 24x20, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

There are many reasons why I love this time of the year – delicious freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, gorgeous transformation of the foliage, my home and studio all nice and cozy in anticipation of colder months. 

But one thing that tops it all is the change in color of the sunlight as the earth slants just so for the sun rays to get that amazing pink-gold glow. Last weekend my garden looked as if every single leaf was gilded with gold. True, we get less of the sunlight overall, but what we get is just drop dead gorgeous.

That is a gift of shorter days – every hike and walk in the nature is saturated with warm radiant colors that lend beautifully to the creative inspiration.  Hopefully some of that gets into our art!

Looking at my work, I realize that I tend to add and remove pigments on my palette,  following cyclical changes in the nature. Here are some of the seasonal colors that I seem to use more at certain times of the year:

Winter – Raw Umber, Payne’s Grey, Diox Violet

Mountain High, Mt. Seymour (detail), acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Spring  – Cadmium Red, Phthalo Blue, Sap Green

Rock Formations, Gabriola Island (detail), acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Summer – Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green

Golden Sunset, Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, (detail), acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Fall -  Yellow Ocher, Red Oxide, Green Gold

Daly Glacier featured above (detail), acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


I captured the Daly Glacier scene with the Takakkaw Fals below it, on an early September hike along the Iceline Trail in the Yoho National Park. It’s on the British Columbia's side of Canadian Rockies and I am sure that it’s absolutely stunning at any time of the year, but in September those warm sunlit colors shine like jewels. 

As I write this, it’s raining outside and the world looks gray with just a few sparks of turning foliage. I feel lucky to have the brilliant fall palette captured in paintings and sketches on my walls.

The creative process is the most amazing mystery for me - I don't know where art comes from, but I am grateful to be granted access to its source.

I wish everyone many fair days with a beautiful fall sunshine! 


Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Kinney Lake, 30x30, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

The stormy weather seems to have turned off the summer here in Vancouver area.  Last Saturday we had no power and dark clouds prevented any meaningful work in the studio. The perfect time for a purge!

 It’s amazing how much substandard stuff accumulates in the studio while the good ones get finished and sent out.  Many of them are just experiments and exercises which I like to keep as a reminder of some particular technique or a material I don’t often use, but quite a few that were still hanging on the walls suffered incurable illnesses. Here are a couple of examples.

Lack of Clarity

When you have to ask yourself repeatedly - what is this painting about anyway? - chances are that you have a case of missing clarity. The best works embody an idea which is supported by the composition, colors, texture, any number of elements we add to our work. But sometimes the idea just fails to gel. I have two versions of a scene featuring a bunch of cows in a sun-dappled pasture. The scene captivated me so strongly that I made two versions of it, but when I look at them I feel confused – what is this about?  There is something about the whole thing that bothers me – is it the cows, the patterns, the colors, I don’t really know. I keep going back to them again and again trying to change various aspects of the paintings. After a while it’s becoming obvious that the puzzle has become a distraction and it’s time to move on.

Faulty Materials

Poor choice of the support is where things most often go wrong for me. I recently noticed that a 30x40 canvas was too thin for the acrylic texture I’ve been working with. As a result, the painting started to sag and the only way to save it would be to glue the whole thing onto a large board, and I don’t really want to do that because all my large works are on stretched canvases.  It’s quite a disappointment to realize that all the work on this painting went to waste just because I didn’t notice the canvas was inadequate before I started. Lesson learned – always make sure all the materials are top notch.

So I spent a day sifting through unfinished works and making a refuse pile, while my significant other was taking them back, pleading for mercy, and offering to buy them from me. At the end I agreed to keep a few as long as they are kept out of my sight, and the curator agreed to help dispose of the rest. It’s a deal! 

The next day the power was back and a fresh new (sturdy) canvas found its place on the easel. Now what will this painting be about?