Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Five Painting Projects

Botanical Beach, 30x40, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

I know that this is a silly thing to ponder, but I keep wondering how many ways there are to make a painting, or at least how many I can learn over a lifetime. While some of us strive to prefect one method, others are on a quest for multitude.

Some go deep in their learning, some go wide. There is no right and wrong in this. Each artist's journey is personal.

These days I seek to broaden my horizons and to mix things up. I examine works of masters, pore over art books, take a workshop here and there. It all goes into the knowledge bank. The possibilities fascinate me.

Things coming from the studio reflect this journey. In the past few weeks I worked on a few different projects:

1. Composition Challenge

I expanded an old favorite painting, Goat Mountain Patterns into a triptych, which was an interesting composition challenge. I wrote about this in my last blog post. This exercise altered the existing painting by opening up a wider, and more satisfying, but still harmonious scene. See the result here.

2. Texture Challenge

I completed a painting which I started a while ago with a thick and juicy layer of transparent acrylic texture gel in the foreground. The painting then grew by adding many layers of paint - glazes, veils, and dry-brush marks. This is The Botanical Beach painting featured on the top of this post. The texture of the gel helped form the rocks and plants in the foreground. BTW, this painting depicts a scene from the amazing Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on the west coast of the Vancouver Island. Well worth visiting!

3. Scale Challenge

I made a quick small sketch of a mountain trail scene, and then used that sketch as a source for a larger painting.  It's interesting to see how the initial draft, although very rough, has a pleasing freshness and vigor of brush-marks, while the larger piece has a calmer, brighter and more polished feel. You may recognize the Black Tusk, a well known mountain peak in the Garibaldi Provincial Park, in the background of the scene.


Left: 14x11 quick sketch;  Right: 30x22 acrylic painting Black Tusk by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

4. Color Challenge

I used a photo sent to me by a wonderful art lover and avid skier, to paint this piece. It was a great exercise in achieving a color harmony. The shapes in this scene are divided between cool shadows, a deep blue sky, and flaming sunlit peaks. The key of this challenge was to balance the color temperature of the contrasting areas.

Chatter Creek, 20x24, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

5. Marks Challenge

Last but not least, this sketch was all about shapes and marks made by a specific tool - in this case a palette knife. The abstract shapes of the mountains and the directional pattern of the pines felt just right for this exercise.

Whistler Patterns, 20x20, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

I love variety in my painting projects and I found this mix very stimulating.

Who knows what'll come next?


Friday, 17 February 2017

Art Keepsakes

Goat Mountain, triptych by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, not for sale 

The theme of creative  joy continues!

What comes to mind when you try to recall the most joyful creative moments from your past? For me, this takes me back to my childhood when I could immerse myself in drawing for hours on end, the outside world disappearing completely. It was all about creating my imaginary world with endless possibilities. Where is that magical world now?

It's still here. Somewhat burred under expectations, needs to excel, desires to get better, but still here, And I am making a point of re-discovering it by paying a close attention to things that resonate joy.

Here is an example.

I have a painting that I made a few years ago that I particularly enjoyed making. It went to a few shows and didn't get sold, and I have to admit that I was relieved, because I secretly wanted it for myself!

I never send a painting into the world if I don't like it, but this one had something in it that puzzled me (in a good way) every time I looked at it. It still does. It's been hanging on my living room wall and I never get tired of it. But I often had a thought that I wished the composition included a wider view of those amazing mountain patterns.

The original - Goat Mountain, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

That gave me an idea. How much fun would it be to turn my favorite painting into a triptych?

So that's what I've been doing the past few days. I added vertical narrow panels on each side of it and expanded the composition. The result is on the top of the post. I enjoyed both the result and the process. I got to play with patterns (I am crazy about patterns!) and the best part is that I am  keeping this triptych for myself!

My little selfishness will be justified because I now feel even more inspired to make new paintings with patterns of our stunning Canadian landscape. This project helped crystallize my inspiration. Art begets art, as it should.

Talking about art keepsakes...

Don't you love to see which paintings of their own artists keep for themselves? When I was just starting to paint I was told by an accomplished artist that professional artists never keep their own work because they can't afford it. I found that very sad and I hoped that it wasn't true.

A few years later, the owner of the first commercial gallery that represented my work suggested to me to keep a few pieces from each body of my work for myself.

I took that to heart.

I make sure to have enough of my own paintings in my personal collection, to illustrate where I've been and what I've done so far.

I also have a few paintings by other artists whom I've encountered on my journey. Some I received in exchange for my own work, and some I purchased. Creating an art collection gives me an interesting perspective because it allows me to truly appreciate both sides of the creative joy - the creation and appreciation of art.

On my wall - a lovely still life by a wonderful artist Cindy Revell

I warmly recommend having your own art collection, be it created by yourself or by artists whose work you admire. It's never too late to start, and it can be as easy as picking up a brush!

Whether you make it or buy it, I guarantee that it will be a great source of joy.

I love my keepsakes!


On my wall - an inspiring landscape painting by a talented artist Brian Buckrell