I love gesso?

26 Apr

I have been away for a long time. Life is happening. My matleave has ended, I am juggling work, 2 kids in daycare (read: constantly getting sick), household, and hobby. And while I do my arts projects every now and then – finding the time to share them here has been tough.

But looks like I am finally finding the new balance of things, so hopefully I will be creating AND sharing…

I am taking another year-long class with Carla Sonheim this year. I missed many of the assignments this year. Some for the lack of time, others for the lack of interest. Quite a few were collage-centered, and collage is just something far out of my interest. I don’t collect stuff and looking for stuff to cut out and use in my art feels pointless. I am much happier creating my own stuff πŸ™‚

But this week I took a day off and got into it and… fell in love with the new technique: using gesso to create textured images. I took a quick trip to the art supplies store, bought the gesso and three wooden blocks for painting – and created three paintings, reusing my old sketches. And I personally love the results πŸ™‚

These are small, about 15×15 cm (6×6 inches) – but I love them πŸ™‚


Hello there

Suspended and floating

Children’s Book

22 Jan

Here’s a book I authored and illustrated for my friend’s second son’s birth. It’s in Russian as she’s Russian, so I wrote the translation below each page:

Medicine from Boredom

Medicine from Boredom

One sunny day Misha was bored.

“wanna bake a cake?” – asked Grandma

3. "Wanna ride a bike?" - asked Dad

3. “Wanna ride a bike?” – asked Dad

4. "Wanna come over?" - asked Grandparents

4. “Wanna come over?” – asked Grandparents

5. Mom didn't ask anything. She left.

5. Mom didn’t ask anything. She left.

6. Misha was bored. Very bored.

6. Misha was bored. Very bored.

7. And then... "WHAAAAAAA!"

7. And then… “WHAAAAAAA!”

8. "Who are you?" - "I am your baby brother Stefan and I am bored"

8. “Who are you?” – “I am your baby brother Stefan and I am bored”

9. Since then, Misha was never bored again. He now had his best friend, his baby brother Stefan.

9. Since then, Misha was never bored again. He now had his best friend, his baby brother Stefan.

Started illustrating for a newspaper!

18 Jan

I started illustrating for a newspaper. A tiny local one – but I am illustrating πŸ™‚

Here’s my first illustration for a tongue in cheek article advising people on what toys to buy other people’s kids (noisy, messy, etc.)

Markers, photoshop

Iceland Watercolour Sketches

19 Oct

I Have been very quiet. For a very long time. For some time, I didn’t paint or draw. Too much was going on. Two small kids is no picnic, I’ll tell you that. And even though they go to bed early, I was too drained. there wasn’t much to share in painted form.

But then I bought a new set of water colours. I only started using watercolours maybe a year ago, and bought tubes of paint. It was too time consuming to mix all the colours for a dot here and a small spot there, so I just almost stopped. I until I read an advice: palettes for sketching, tubes for painting. Light bulb!

I had a gift certificate to an art supply store from my birthday, so I went and bought a watercolour set.

And ever since that day, I have been painting almost daily! All of a sudden, I decided to do a travelogue of my trip to Iceland in 2011. So here are the pages from the travelogue!

A typical colourful Icelandic house. They say that fisherman’s villages were all bright and colourful to help fishermen navigate back to their shore from the sea, making it easier to discern where home was.

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a very hilly city. So picturesque!

President’s villa:

Reykjavik is a sea port city:

Ok, I have NO CLUE how to paint a night city 😦 Any good sources/online demonstrations/etc?

A quaint little cafe in Reykjavik:

That’s what most of Iceland looks like, out of Reykjavik: houses with mountains behind them and field of green grass and ocean in front of them:

Towers and skies of Reykjavik:

Local foods. Jellied fish brains, mashed fish, rotten shark. Yummmm πŸ™‚
Actually everything but the shark was exquisite!

Iceland – is the land of hot springs and geysers:


22 Aug

I disappeared. I haven’t posted in – what, THREE months? Wow πŸ™‚

Well, I have been drawing only very occasionally. And I never havw the time to take photos of my sketches and photoshop it to correct the colours…

And then I realized that one of the reasons I barely held a pencil/pen/brush was that my head was full of false ideas that I need to have an idea before drawing. An illustration with a story behind it. A real painting. Or – if just a sketch – it has to be a study of something real.

And as I have no ideas and I never have the time to sketch when I am outside – and there’s nothing interesting inside my house, really – I simply stopped painting. So sad!

Once this realization hit me, I waited for both of my kids to be in bed – opened a pad of paper I bought about 6 months ago (with paper for markers) and just started, curious to see what is so special about this paper.

It all started with a pink circle. Which turned into a face. Which turned into a girl. Which turned into a playground full of kids.

And then the next day I drew more kids.

And then even more.

This is so unusual. I have never painted/drawn kids before. And I always start with no idea as to what kind of scene I am going to paint. It’s all spontaneous. And I love it!

Little Red Riding Hood – 2

16 May

Another technique that I learned this month through my online illustration course is masking taping your characters.

We’re still onto Little Red Riding Hood, so I started with the wolf. I had an idea in my head of what pose he should be in, so there he was. The technique was much fun.

Then for the following 2 days I stared at my wolf, trying to figure out what to do with him next. So I added the ground.

And then the Little Red Riding Hood.

And then the shadows.

And then I decided I definitely like this illustration. It turned out really well πŸ™‚

Little Red Riding Hood

14 May

This month we are onto illustrating Little Red Riding Hood (with my online illustration class), and as always – we’re learning new techniques.

Here’s an attempt in an acrylic over oil pastel technique, where you cover the paper with oil pastel, then cover it over with acrylic – which, of course, won’t bind too well to oil – and then scratch the image out of the acrylic layer.

Very liberating as the results are not very predictable and you can’t be too precise with details and there’s no way you can fix anything that went wrong. Once you scratched the acrylic – you scratched it πŸ™‚

On being a mom

29 Apr

I have a newborn. My older son is still in daycare, but my newborn is making sure I am drained enough to stop painting. Well, almost.

Because while he’s draining me, he’s inspiring me, too – and sometimes I manage to put the ideas on paper.

This is how I felt trying to figure out how to get my baby to sleep at night (note the choice of words: “at”, as opposed to “through”):

I succeeded, as a matter of fact πŸ™‚

I drew this one below after my bathroom scale showed weight increase – after I lost so many pounds literally overnight. What has caused it? Chocolate craving. Which I cave in to late atΒ  night after my toddler is in bed. Cause, you know, chocolate is bed for his teeth. But now it’s bad for my figure!

I even managed to sketch my son while breastfeeding. No, I don’t have 8 arms like an Indian goddess, and no, I am not with cirque du soleil. But I managed this πŸ™‚

So there you go. Even sleep deprived, breastfeeding, and tired – I find some time for myself – and my passion!

uh-oh! baby’s stirring! gotta go πŸ™‚

Free Strathmore Online Workshops

21 Mar

So far what has been posted is nothing new, but still… worth saving a link – maybe later they’ll post something a bit more advanced.


Watercolours – free tutorials

18 Mar

Saving the link to explore later – free watercolour tutorials