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!

Summer Giveaway

Forest Trail, 11x14, acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

If you want to make a good use of the summer plein air painting season, it's important to be well prepared. Ample amount of art supplies and equipment is essential. So are light-weight, quality painting supports. I will explain in a few easy steps how to make them, and show you an example of the end result.


But before I get to that, let me share this with you. If you collect art and like my paintings, please consider joining my circle of art friends at this time. I am planning a summer giveaway which may interest you. I explain all about it in my newsletter. I am looking forward to sharing my art with you!


How to make light-weight plein air panels


I like to use 1/4 inch thick plywood which my hubby cuts for me into standard, easily frameable sizes (8x10, 9x12,11x14, etc.).

I paint all sides with a layer of white gesso (which prevents warping) and let it dry before mounting a gessoed canvas on one side of the board.




Place your panel on the gessoed canvas (good side up), outline its shape and cut out the marked rectangular piece with scissors. Remember which side of the canvas goes up.


Spread any kind of acrylic medium evenly over the side of the board facing you. Cover the surface completely, including corners.



Place the canvas piece on the wet side of the board. Remember which side goes up. Although you have a rectangle and it shouldn't matter, there are slight imperfections in the cut which may make the rectangle wider on one side. It's nice to have the shape of the canvas match perfectly the shape of the board.


Press firmly to affix the canvas to the board and to get rid of any air-bubbles.



Make several boards at the time, stack them up and press with something heavy. I leave them to completely dry overnight.




The next day, you have a nice surface for your backyard plein air painting session or for any other project you can think of.





I had to capture these glorious white peonies which last too short, but at least I have a memory of them. Taking time to keenly observe their colors and shapes was a valuable lesson.





In my last post, I invited you to join me for the opening of the West Coast Homeland group show. I am pleased that some of you showed up and I also made some wonderful new art friends. A great time was head by everyone!

Happy Summer my artful friends!

Tatjana







Group Show Checklist





In case you are wondering what an artist needs to do in order to participate in a group art show, here is a kind of a checklist that you can use, or make your own.


May 1 - Monthly review of exhibition opportunities. Picked a call for artists which sounded great. The theme matched my work and the venue was new to me, which goes with my goal to meet as many new artists and art lovers as I possibly can.

May 4 - Submitted images of my paintings which matched the requirements.

May 9 - Acceptance arrived via email. Yeah! Small celebration.

May 11 - Asked the venue to clarify any rules that weren't clear to me, and paid the exhibition fee.

May 11 - 18 Communicated with the venue and provided:

  • Statement
  • Bio
  • SM links
  • Final listing of paintings

May 19 Reviewed the venue's ads on SM and web site, made any corrections as needed. Liked and shared the ads.

May 31 Announced the exhibit in my newsletter, blog, and website.

June 6  Spruced up the paintings. Touched up the varnish where needed, made sure the edges were clean and attached the hanging hardware.

June 8 Wrapped and delivered the paintings to the venue. Introduced myself, thanked the staff for their help, and admired the venue.

June 9 Announced the exhibit to all my art friends:

  • sent an e-vite to my art circle subscribers
  • emailed the art clubs
  • Facebook page post (personal and art business)
  • Pintrest post
  • Instagram post
  • Tweeted
  • etc.

June 11 Checked the closet for something to wear at the opening. Yikes! Raided Winners one hour before the closing time. Found a black top and sandals (sigh of relief).

June 14 Created a whimsical add with a collage of my paintings and my statement for the last minute invite (see above).

June 15 Posted the last minute invite on SM.

And here we are - the opening is tonight! I am bringing a supply of business cards and art cards to give away (while quantities last).

I can't wait to meet my old and new art friends, peruse the exhibit, and chat about all things creative. Must remember to take photos - please remind me if you are there!

June 15, 2017 
7-10pm
Beaumont Studios
316 W 5th Ave, Vancouver, BC

I hope to see you there!

Tatjana