April 11th, 2014
When painting this gorgeous landscape I had to practically “built” the rocks layer by layer. It took me a couple of hours to achieve the texture of the rocky cliff with its washes, cracks, grass, and clays. I was doing it patiently with passion, thinking that Mother Nature did the same her way but it took a few million years :0)
Here are a few interesting facts:
The Point Arena Lighthouse is situated on the closest point of land to the Hawaiian Islands in the Continental United States. The point is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean which keeps the area cool. This Lighthouse is set in one of the most spectacular and peaceful surroundings on the northern California coast. The Point Arena tower is the only Pacific West coast lighthouse of significant height that you can climb to the top! Access to the lantern room provides a panoramic view of the rugged California coast and of the ocean.
A Little bit of history:
The first lighthouse at this site was constructed in 1870. The brick-and-mortar tower included ornate iron balcony supports and a large Keeper residence with enough space to house several families. In April 1906, a devastating earthquake struck the Light Station. The Keeper's residence and Lighthouse were damaged so severely that they had to be demolished.
The new lighthouse began operation in 1908, nearly 18 months after the quake. It stands 115 feet (35 m) tall, and featured a 1st Order Fresnel Lens, over six feet in diameter and weighing more than six tons. The lens was made up of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets of double bullseyes. It was these bullseyes that gave the Point Arena Lighthouse its unique "light signature" of two flashes every six seconds. This incredible optic, that held an appraised value of over $3.5 million, was set in solid brass framework, and was built in France. Prior to the introduction of electricity, the lens was rotated by a clockwork mechanism. The Keepers, or "wickies" as they were called, had to hand crank a 160-pound weight up the center shaft of the lighthouse every 75 minutes to keep the lens turning. Light was produced by a "Funks" hydraulic oil lamp, that needed to be refueled every four hours, and whose wicks would have to be trimmed regularly. Later, two 1,000 watt electric lamps were installed to replace the oil lamp, and a 1⁄8 horsepower electric motor was installed to replace the clockworks.
Nowadays (since 1984) nonprofit organization called the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers takes care of this place providing diligent historic preservation of this beautiful place. (info:courtesy to wiki and pointarenalighthouse.com/)
April 8th, 2014
A fascinating view of the mountains, which give a shelter to a peaceful in the summer time and full of energy in the Spring creek, the Redwood Creek.
When I stood there and watched this grandiose monumental view, listened to the sounds of wind, looked at the awakening from Winter nature; I started imagining how I can bring all that beauty on the piece of paper. Needless to say, when I came home; I had to paint this landscape.
The Redwood National and State Park is located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. Comprising Redwood National Park was established in 1968. Redwood Creek follows the Grogan Fault; along the west bank of the creek, schist (coarse-grained metamorphic rock that consists of layers of different minerals and can be split into thin irregular plates) and other naturally transformed rocks can be found there, while sedimentary rocks of the Franciscan Assemblage are located on the east bank.
April 5th, 2014
One of the stop during my recent art-trip was a small cozy town of Trinidad. I enjoyed walking along the rocky shore. Gentle breeze, afternoon Sun, and a lighthouse, all together called for some impressionistic style loose and fresh painting.
Here is a little more details about this beautiful place:
Trinidad is a seaside town in Humboldt County, located on the Pacific Ocean 8 miles north of the Arcata-Eureka Airport and 15 miles north of the college town of Arcata. Situated directly above its own natural harbor, Trinidad is one of California's smallest incorporated cities, (with a 2010 population of 367) and is noted for its spectacular coastline with ten public beaches and offshore rocks. These rocks are part of the California Coastal National Monument of which Trinidad is a Gateway City. This natural landmark is joined by three additional marine landmarks - the historic Trinidad Head Light, the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, and Humboldt State University's Fred Telonicher Marine Laboratory.
Overlooking Trinidad Bay, an accurate replica of the Head's lighthouse (A Victorian keeper's residence that was built in 1898); Trinidad's Lighthouse in Memorial Park. In 1947, the original lens and bell were donated to the Trinidad Civic Club to be displayed in a memorial park overlooking Trinidad Bay. Mrs. Earl Hallmark donated land, and in 1949 the Civic Club built the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. On Memorial Day, families and friends gather at the lighthouse to remember and honor those lost and buried at sea (courtesy to trinidad.ca.gov and http://trinidad-ca.com/discover/lighthouses.html)
April 2nd, 2014
A couple of weeks ago I pointed my brushes North and went to explore some new (for me) places.
One of the stops was at Fort Ross, California.
For my painting, I've picked up this historical landmark. I liked the scene with Old Windmill against a blue sky and the ocean.
The history of this place is interesting and rich.
(I've found a few interesting facts online)
Fort Ross, originally Fortress Ross is a former Russian establishment on the west coast of North America in what is now Sonoma County, California, in the United States. It was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America between 1812 to 1842. It has been the subject of archaeological investigation and is a California Historical Landmark, a National Historic Landmark, and on the National Register of Historic Places. Nowadays, Fort Ross is a part of California State Historic Park.
Fort Ross is a landmark in the history of European imperialism. The Spanish expansion went west across the Atlantic Ocean, and the Russian expansion went east across Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.
For many years following the Russian presence, Fort Ross was preserved and maintained as a single large holding by its successive owners. The site was operated as a rancho through the Sutter and Benitz periods (1841-67), as a logging operation during the Dixon/Fairfax years (1867-73), and as a ranch, port and social center during 1873-1979.
Although land use changed over time, its continuous status as a large holding helped to bridge the transition from a ranching community to the 3,386 acre state historic park we have today.
In the 19th century Fort Ross had a port in the northwest cove which was used extensively by ranchers in the surrounding community. There was a store, a post office and a telegraph station; the old Russian buildings housed a hotel, a dance hall and a saloon.
It was one of several social centers for residents of the area. Fort Ross continues to be important to local residents, and many have volunteered their time, resources and expertise to assist in the park’s development and growth.
These days, Fort Ross has changed from a ranching community in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to the popular state historic park of today.
(courtesy to WiKi and FortRoss.org)
March 7th, 2014
It is becoming a good tradition now to give myself a Gift of Art every year.
This year in the month of my Birthday, I created Happy Birthday designs with the flowers from my virtual garden, most of them are the images of the paintings that were already sold. And now, they get a new, also very Happy, appearance in my Happy Birthday designs.
For example these lovely Sunflowers:
I thought that blue and green background with yellow highlights will give them a good contrast:
The gentle purple of the orchid called for lilac and purple shades:
Rich royal blue helped the Poppies and Purple Iris to be "framed" in a simple, yet romantic design:
As well as those Impressionistic Water Lilies, which are "floating" in the blue, water-like, surrounding:
Juicy pink made my Hibiscus and the Rose with the Dew Drops even more gentle:
And a sweet miniature Tulips on the window were just a right size for this vintage feeling Birthday card:
Overall, I shell say, I went overboard with my Happy Birthday designs this year as I created dozens of floral Birthday cards.
But what a great gift to myself!!
Besides, I surely had lots of fun!
More designs are in my Cards Gallery: http://irina-sztukowski.artistwebsites.com/art/all/cards/all
February 28th, 2014
My latest large painting is complete.
I picked such name, Made In USA, as I remember my husband joking: If I ever get a tattoo, it shell be "Made In USA".. I find it very patriotic indeed :0)..
So, I picked the subjects for my painting:
All Are Made In USA.
First, I painted the dogs: Fred and George - Made In USA
Then I moved to painting apples, one by one: proudly grown in our garden, by ourselves..and... Made In USA
Then I took Hookers Green and Grass Green paint by Daniel Smith Co (made in USA) and painted flowers, foliage, and grass:
And the final, Golden Centerpiece of this painting is my husband, who is also "Made In USA", in fact, in a beautiful Golden State of California.
He is proudly washing apples. And, by the way, those apples were sweet, sweet!! :0)
It certainly takes a long time to grow apples. It took me more than a season to finish this artwork :0)
February 24th, 2014
I am in the process of preparing a few paintings for one international art show in Rochester, NY. The theme that I chose this time is about the water. Since I paint mostly in watercolor, I called it Water On Color series, where the realism in watercolor is mixed with the abstract pattern.
The six paintings that I made helped me to create some of these collages.
The above collage has a cool feeling with just a few splashes of yellow, when the collage below is full of "fire-like" strikes and hot washes:
The art show is taking place in July 2014, so I will post more details later on.
For now, I am just "splashing" some Water On Color :)
February 21st, 2014
With all the recent serious things such judging, writing for CWA, preparing for the shows, and meantime working on a couple of commissions; I really wanted to loosen up and make something just for fun.
Here is my little Fun Tree of Life series.
First, I placed some random swirls on Strathmore 140lb Cold Pressed paper, then I washed them off. Next, more swirls were coming, and more and more using dry-on-wet technique. When this was done, I applied wet-on-wet nice juicy wash of rich colors such Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, and all what I felt is right for this project from my pallet.
Still sounds too serious?
Here is when the fun came. When paper was dry, I looked at each swirl and it basically "dictated", moved my hand to where I felt putting the branches of the tree, plus a little cute additions to the trees that made it fun.
Impression I and Impression II (above) are all about birds and flowers.
Impression III and Impression IV have hidden birds, plus one of them is full of fruits and has a curious cat:
In Impression V the cat is hiding on a tree. And Impression VI is caring two hearts and two love birds:
Fun Trees of Life.
Just like in real life, we grow, we thrive, sometimes don't see things right in front of our eyes, sometimes are happy just by looking at a simple flower or a birdie, or find love where we least expect it...
Oh, I am getting again too serious.. better stop and keep working!
February 18th, 2014
These sweet and gentle daffodils just showed up in my backyard a few days ago. I picked a bunch and set up a still life.
Intentionally, I've placed freshly picked flowers into an antique Wedgwood vase. It emphasizes the fact how small is the distance between beauty of a two-day-old flower and a century-old pottery.
The beauty is eternal!
And the waves and a maze of a pattern of this silk scarf adds the interest to this full of life and color still life.
February 14th, 2014
Recently, looking at my painting of Oregon shore, I was asking myself how many times I've painted the water, waters of an ocean, lakes, sea or river?
And even though the answer was MANY.. I was curious to see the difference in the shades of blue; the blue blue water.
Water for me has some personal almost human qualities. The colors depend on the time of the the day, the light, the shadows; and, of course, the artist's mood, time put into painting, and professional choice of the color.
And here are just a few waters painted in the different places at different times.
The silver waters of A Foggy Morning At Crab Cove, Alameda, California:
Slowly building, soon ready to crush waves next to the shore in Boys And The Ocean painting:
Deep blue waters of the ocean during the sunny in Capitola, California. Two Umbrellas At The Beach painting:
and a very same day just a few hours later.
Two Chairs At The Beach painting:
Here is a foggy morning with wild emerald green waves in Carmel By The Sea, California:
and the same day, when Sun appeared, it made the water shine
(Carmel By The Sea, California)
Almost unbelievable Thalo and Ultramarine blue water in the painting A Coupe And The Sea:
Ready to storm yet still not dangerous waters in A Girl And The Ocean artwork:
If I were a poet I would write a poem devoted to Water; but, I am the Artist and I will keep painting Miss Water in all her shades of blue