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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:


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™‚

Spot Illustrations for the “Princess Frog” Fairy Tale

3 Feb

I enrolled into a year-long online course with Carla Sonheim. Each month we will be illustrating a new book, and the first is a Russian fairy tale “The Princess Frog”. Being a Russian, I know this one very well, so at first it was somewhat hard to brush off the preconceived ideas of what the characters are “supposed” to look like.

Oh, and a spot illustration is an illustration that doesn’t stand on its own, occupying a full page – but rather is usually tacked in a corner of a page or something.

And I got sooooo inspired! I got six already!

“The youngest, the brave Tsarevitch Ivan, had the ill luck to send his arrow into the midst of a swamp, where it was caught by a croaking frog.”

“How can I marry a frog?” complained the son. “Never mind,” replied his father, “you have to marry the frog, for such is evidently your destiny.”

“The Tsarevitch Ivan returned home. There was no smile on his face, and cloudy was his brow, more cloudy than before. “C-R-O-A-K! C-R-O-A-K! Tsarevitch, my dear husband, why so sad? Hast thou heard anything unpleasant at the palace?”


“Vassilissa, when she came back, searched for the skin, and when she could not find it her beautiful face grew sad and her bright eyes filled with tears.”


“But the man continued, gently: “But I pity thee and want to help thee. Here is a magic ball. In whatever direction this ball rolls, follow without fear.”

Queen Street, Toronto

1 Feb

Queen Street, Toronto Streetcar, The usual traffic jam

Quidi Vidi Village, Newfoundland

31 Jan

I am experimenting with watercolours, trying to figure out how this medium works.

Here’s my latest attempt, painted from my own photo taken last summer in Quidi Vidi village, Newfoundland. I am not satisfied with this picture, but can’t figure out what exactly went wrong and whether it’s fixable.

Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland

Vietnamese River

19 Jan

A friend of mine posted pictures of her trip to Vietnam – and they are so colourful, I immediately wanted to paint from them!

A sketched one but wasn’t satisfied. So I took out my watercolours and did a quick painting:

Boating on a Vietnamese River

I captured my progress step-by-step. I think I liked it better somewhere in the middle and then I butchered it. It got too muddy and detailed – watercolours aren’t meant to be this way. Oh well, I am only starting to learn this medium!

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Cottage Oil Lantern, Newfoundland

24 Aug