Step by Step


Garibaldi, 20x24, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


I've been playing with a new painting process, so it's time for another step by step post.  This is just one point on my journey to learn as many different ways to make a painting as I possibly can, without getting off-track with my own creative voice. In this process, step 2 is what makes it new to me.

1. Mother Color

Pick a color for the imprimatura and cover the canvas with it in a transparent layer. Visible strokes are okay. I lately use a rag to wipe off excess paint. The goal is to cover the entire canvas with a "mother" color but to still let the whiteness of the canvas shine through. This time I picked blue.

2. Flow

Block-in dark areas without acknowledging their meaning. Focus on the direction of strokes only.  How do the dark areas seem to "flow" in the scene? Move the brush or the palette knife the same way. This is a new step for me and I am having a lot of fun with it. Use at least three different colors (from dark-darks to mid-darks), to do this. The key is to ignore shapes of individual objects in the scene, but instead to move with the flow within dark areas.  With a light touch and dry brush, allow some of those flowing strokes into lighter areas as well. I used a dark purple for the first darkest dark, then a mid- value green, and a mid-value yellow.






3. Edges

Start introducing more values to define objects, considering their edges. Attend to the soft-edged areas first, by using a dry brush, blending, or whatever trick you use to preserve softness. Stop to evaluate the placement of object before diving in with hard edges. It's not fun having to go back and make too many corrections.




4. Surface

Decide which areas are best left thin, and which require thick juicy layers of paint. Typically, dark areas are left thin while the light areas receive thick delicious strokes. But, as anything else, there is opportunity for innovation. Acrylic is especially forgiving with this. I added thick lightest lights in the sunlit areas of the rocks and tree-trunks,.




5. Magic

Bring the picture to life. This is a step which is not really a step. Every painting needs something different. What does this one need? I have yet to figure that out. I may have to do steps 3 and 4 a few times going back and forth. There is a danger of ruining the painting's freshness, but I also don't want to abandon it before it receives due attention. Is it done yet? I think it's (almost) there.


Cabin Lake, Cypress, 16x20, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


Happy painting!

Tatjana

New Things

Lighthouse Park, 12x9, acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki



I have a few new sketches to share and some ideas about finding new opportunities to enrich our creative experience.

I looked back at art projects and events where I had participated over past years and noticed patterns of coasting by inertia, entering the same shows and repetitive events. Doing the same thing over and over can feel like a tradition or a ritual, even a matter of loyalty. But, I noticed that at some point my creative contribution gets depleted. There just isn't anything I can add or learn, unless I venture away from (my) beaten path.

At first it feels a bit scary to throw oneself out into the world, meet new people, get exposed to new environments. It's unnerving to be in a place where I don't know anyone and nobody knows me.

But this anonymity has its advantages. There are no preconceived expectations, and there certainly are no agendas to navigate. It's liberating to be a new gal on the block. People are generally kind and patient with a newcomer, and there lies a chance to learn new things, and maybe even shine.  

I've done this several times and each experience was extremely invigorating and educational.



Beach Patterns, 11x14, acrylic sketch by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki


Two years ago I wanted to do some plein air painting in the beautiful Okanagan. I stumbled into The Bear Valley Highlands workshops and signed up without knowing a single person there. Luckily,  artists are one of the easiest people to befriend! The event was a fantastic experience. I made new friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a weekend in a gorgeous setting.

This year I decided to check out our neighbors in the south and this time I stumbled (I do a lot of stumbling) into the Pacific Nothwest Plein Air event. I submitted my application and was thrilled to be accepted. This is what I will be doing in the first week of August. Painting the stunning Columbia River Gorge scenery in the company of some top notch  painters, followed by a month long group show in the Maryhill Museum of Art. in Goldendale, WA.





Taking risks has its rewards! I can't wait to meet new art friends and get inspired by the Columbia Gorge landscape.

Reconnecting with old art friends and making new ones is one of the best aspects of a creative life. The upcoming plein air painting season is a perfect opportunity for that. I hope to see many of you, my old and new friends, in some of the paint-outs this year.

Tatjana