Happy New Year -Candle light

In early times there was a belief which suggested that smoke from the candles would rise and reach the heavens above and God will answer secret prayers said over flames of the candle.
May this candle spread light, cheer and warmth in your homes and families!

I wish you much, much happiness, joy and blessings and a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2010
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Happy New Year from Maia

Merry Christmas!

I wish your all a joyful Christmas eve!

"Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia.Christmas bells on a Christmas tree

Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved." ~Augusta E. Rundel

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day.
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat.
Of peace on earth goodwill to men."
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Icons-painting Sacred art

For almost 2000 years the Christian icons have always been the objects of prayer and contemplation for believers.
Interest is growing for this Sacred art form, not only for its aesthetic and artistic qualities, but for its profound spirituality.

Virgin Mary icon

The pictorial representations of Biblical scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, historical events in the life of the Church, and portraits of the saints, icons are not merely pictures used to decorate walls, but also "windows to Heaven" embracing a mystical beauty of faith, love and well-being.

Though, not so long ago the art of icon painting (icon writing is the correct term) served the needs of churches and religious people, in the present days icons are also valued as decorative elements.

Virgin Mary-icon detail

In this post I want to present Mircea Vladimir Bodea, a very talented

contemporary Romanian iconographer's Orthodox Sacred art.

You can see a sample of his works in these pictures and some details too.
Virgin Mary-icon

He developed his own style, a special technique of icon painting by creating a texture based on eggshells.
He applies with great skill pieces of eggshell onto durable wood as a base for painting.
All his works are hand painted and varnished.

A particular spiritual importance is given to the gilding achieved by gold leaves in either oil and water based gilding applications.
The background of the icon for an iconographer is "Light", sign of the Divine Grace that illuminates the world.

Virgin Mary-icon detail

The gilded lines on the dresses and on the objects suggest the beneficent energies they reflect.

Mircea Vladimir Bodea's has painted over 300 icons admired all around the world.
You can see some more of his icons by visiting his website.


Human face drawing-face proportions

Teaching is the best way to learn, they say and this is the truth. So let's learn to draw together.
Some proportions of the head are generally common to all faces and need to be right in a portrait.
The human face has an egg form, so we draw an egg.
The proportions of the human faceBefore you do that, draw a grid of squares; 3 squares for the height of the egg and 2 squares for the width.

With these 6 squares we have divided the human face to it's most characteristic parts and we even have a vertical symmetry line through the center of our face drawing.

1. The hair line is 2/3 up from the brow line;
2. The brows and the top of the ears are on the same line (in many cases).
3. The nose base and the ear lobs are also at the same level.

I hate computer drawing, so one ear will do the job. We always hate things we don't master, that's human nature.

That's it, see my dummy!
(don't laugh, I know it's ugly!)

Human face front view and side view-sketchesFace proportions and relationshipsWe need some more lines for the details.

Using the same overall dimensions as before for the height and width of the face (we measure them), we divide the height in 4 equal parts this time .

4. Eye level line (1) - generally is halfway from the top of the head and the chin.
The human head is 5 eyes width in front view.
If we divide the eye level line (1) in five equal parts we can see that:
- the distance between the eyes is the width of one eye (2);
- the nose width is the distance between the inside corner of the eyes or the distance between the eyes (2);
- the neck line starts from the outside corner of the eyes (3);
6.The mouth middle line is at 1/3 of the distance between the nose base and the chin (4);
- the vertical lines starting at the center of the pupils, line up with the corner of the mouth (5);

These are the main thoughts I wanted to share with whoever is interested.
Please, keep in mind that all this is just theory, just the basics, like a template.
Every human face is unique.
Still, when observing your model, while knowing the basics, you just have to discover the differences between the actual features and the "template".

Man portrait - pencil sketch

Have a nice day - pencil portrait drawing

When sketching or drawing a portrait from life you have to find the most prominent characteristic features of the face you are drawing. Everyone has a unique face.
As for the rules, I have just one - the most important thing when drawing a portrait is the face expression, the feelings we try to express through our sketches and drawings.
Man raising his hat-pencil drawing
Some proportions of the head are generally common to all faces and need to be right in a portrait.
For drawing realistic heads from your imagination you have to pay attention these proportions.
Many tutorials advise you to start drawing a portrait from the main parts (face oval, the eye line, the mouth, etc.), and slowly move into details.
Others, to start from the eyes, as they are the most expressive on a face.
Very often, the nose is the most characteristic feature of a face.
Observing each individual model we can make adjustments in portraits we draw.
Here is my tutorial about human face drawing - face proportions.
Here are some short video tutorials about face proportions:


Still life with coffee cup and drapery - pastel

Drawing or painting drapery, whether it is table cloths, cascading cloth or just a napkin, can be one of the most beautiful subjects in art.
Though to draw convincing drapery and realistically represent the folds needs a lot of exercise.
Here is one of my doodles, a still life with drapery in pastel.Still life with drapery,a coffee cup and a vaseStill life - drapery study in pastel-50cm x 70cm

Sketches, doodles - Teaching is the best way to learn

Portrait of a young girl-pencil sketch 1 closeup
As I said in my previous post, I am not very good at drawing; that's why I write about how to learn to draw.

Once upon a time I thought that teaching is an easier job for a woman than engineering, so I obtained a teaching certificate and I found myself teaching in a vocational school.
To be prepared for the students onslaught of questions, you feel compelled to give them the best you can or else, you can lose their respect forever.

Portrait of a young girl-pencil sketch 1I must confess, I hated it but it was a continuous learning for me too.
After seven years of teaching I’ve come to realize one abiding truth: the best way to learn is to teach.

At the left, these are some of my doodles. Most of them are made at work, on common computer paper, during a boring meeting, waiting for someone and similar waste of time.
Here are some of my drawing tutorials:
• How to draw a rose in five steps.
• Human face drawing - face proportions.
Man portrait-pencil sketchPortrait of a young girl-pencil sketch 2
According to a study published by Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling helps a person's memory significantly (as I have found out at Wikipedia).

Thoughts about learning to draw - pencil drawings

Natural talent for drawing is a wonderful gift if someone is that lucky.
If not, drawing skills can be learned by anyone to a certain extent.
Being a civil engineer I have been drawing technical stuff for many year now.
Shinny coffee pot-pencil drawing
Even if I know the basic principles, creating artistic drawings is not so easy.
As long as in engineering logics and details are of great importance, as an artist you have to do the opposite.
Just let go of any pre-conceived notions and simplify, even if logically it does not make sense! Not to put every little detail in a drawing or any artwork is the most difficult thing to do for a tech-minded person.

Single rose-pencil drawingOn the left side of the page you can see some of my drawings.
For someone who knows nothing about drawing it is much more easier to learn, starting from scratch.
If you're just starting out it is a good idea to take some drawing courses and also to read as much as you can from the numerous online drawing lesson.
Be aware that nobody and nothing (not even your carrier) can determine you to learn to draw if you don't wish it with all your heart.

Strawberries on a plate-pencil drawingSo, why not learn to draw on your own!
All you need is a pencil, a piece of paper and the most important: interest, dedication and much much exercise.
Here are some great online resources for learning:
• Learn how to draw a rose in five easy steps.
• Learn to draw online.
• Drawing and Sketching - Resources for Artists
• Andrew-Loomis-Fun-With-a-Pencil

Apples in a bowl-pencil drawing
And now that you have the resources, you may not have the time to exercise.

There is a very interesting technique to exercise in just a few seconds, I shall tell you about it in a future post.

Early Morning in the Valley - Landscape painting

This painting is a 45.5x40.5 cm (18x16 inch) oil on canvas.
Sunrise in a beautiful valley between the mountains.
The inspiration, as always, the surrounding landscape.
In this painting I tried to capture the morning mist slowly evaporating as the sun rises in this beautiful valley surrounded by the mountains.

Art sites and tutorials

Here are a few valuable art instruction resources and sites with painting and drawing lessons, video demonstrations and beautiful artworks.
 I hope you'll enjoy visiting them.

Still life with vegetables - pastel painting

The old soda bottle and the vegetables make up a still life composition this time.
This is a 35 x 45 cm (23.8 x 17.7 inch) pastel on paper.
Comments are welcome.
Still life with an old soda bottle and vegetables

Geraniums - oil painting

Red geranium flowers in a pot, these lovely common flowers, that we can see in almost every window are a great subject for painting.

Geranium flowers in a vase-oil painting30cm x 40cm (12 x 16 inch) - oil painting on canvas.

How to paint flowers - video tutorials

Every year, in springtime I make lots of photos of flowers, for my paintings. As I had too many of them, I gathered them in flower videos and so, surfing on YouTube, I reviewed Marjorie Harris's flower painting videos.
Marjorie Harris is a very talented artist and teacher whom I admire very much. I love her video tutorial where she shares her freehanding method of painting flowers.
She makes painting roses look so easy but it is only simple for talented artists like her.
Here is one of these very instructive tutorials. I hope you will enjoy it the way I do.

You may want to have a look at Marjorie Harris's website too.
And now, my favorite, from artist Maneco Araujo:
Another amazing one from Singapore Artist Ng Woon Lam:

See also my rose drawing lesson: how to draw a rose in five steps.

Hand painted Easter eggs - Easter wetting

From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth, new life, in most cultures.
The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.
Starting with Holy Thursday, people start painting Easter eggs in a multitude of colors.
Hand painted Easter eggsThese are my blown eggs (created by piercing the shell with a needle and blowing out the contents).

Transylvania has a mixed population.
Due to the differences between the western churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches some of us celebrate Easter twice each year, one after the other. The former now use the Gregorian calendar to calculate the date of Easter, while the latter still use the original Julian calendar.
Easter egg Easter eggsThese eggs are just for fun, there is nothing left inside them.
That's why I shall dye some Easter eggs with onion skins too, the good, old, natural dye.

If you would like to try to hand-paint your Easter eggs, have a look at theses simple egg painting models and coloring pages.

Easter wetting.

In Transylvania, there is a tradition called "the wetting", a popular pastime throughout the region.
Every year, on Easter Monday, the boys, armed with buckets of water are waiting for the girls to come out of their houses. As soon as they appeared, the boys wet them with water. The girls reward the boys who had wet them by giving them the most beautiful decorated Easter eggs and cake.

Today, this tradition is practiced with more gentility. Boys in the city use perfume to sprinkle on the girls' heads on Easter Monday.
I wish you and your families


My first Award - Appreciation for bloggers

I have received my first award!
It comes from Meda, a fellow Romanian artist and good friend. She creates beautiful wedding invitations, cards, gifts and more, all handmade. You can see all these wonderful works at Handmade by Meda.

Thank you very much for the award, Meda.
Premio Dardes Award
"The PREMIO DARDOS AWARD" acknowledges the value of every blogger shows in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literacy and personal values everyday.
The Rules Are:
1. Accept the Award, post it on your blog along with the name of the person that gave it to you and their blog link.
2. Past the Award to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact them to let them know that they have been chosen for this award.

I am passing on this prize to fellow artists who please our senses with their wonderful creations and unlimited imagination and even help us by sharing wonderful tutorials.

This way I want to thank them, to congratulate them and show my appreciation for their great work, for what they’ve done lately, for all of us.
After all, blogging is about collaboration and together going further than we can by ourselves.

Here it goes:

Ralph Serpe from Art instruction blog
Leah Piken Kolidas from Creative every day
Tammy from Daisy Yellow
Bchira Arfaoui from Bchira Arfaoui Fine Art
Collage Diva
Tamara Campbell from Tamarak's table
Celeste Vaught from Celeste Vaught Art
Linda Blondheim from Landscapes of the South

I hope this award doesn't offend anyone from the list above, but if it does, please just ignore it.
So much for today. There will be others too as soon as I discover them.

Wet palette for acrylics - homemade, cheap solutions

The greatest quality of acrylics is also the biggest problem: they dry too fast!
Let's see how we can keep acrylic paint moist and workable!

Moisture-retaining palette.

Homemade wet palette

All you need is:
- a plastic box with a fitted lid or plate of any kind or size (ice-cream box),
- paper towel and
- greaseproof paper (baking paper).
Homemade moisture-retaining palette
Step 1. Cut two sheets of paper towel and one sheet of greaseproof paper at the size of the box.
Step 2. Place the paper towel at the bottom of the box and soak it. Drain off the excess water.
Step 3. On top of this, layer a slightly larger piece of greaseproof paper and gently press all over, so that it makes contact with the paper-towel layers beneath it.
You are done, voilĂ  your wet palette!
Homemade wet palette
How much the drying time can be extended depends on the temperature and the humidity. The paint stays wet for days, as long as the paper tower is wet. If you want to take a break, just place the lid on it or wrap it in plastic.
Be aware that in extended period of time the paint does gradually become watery.
Don't put it in the fridge because the colder it gets, the more brittle acrylics become.
If you need just a few colors you can use a smaller box for a palette. In the picture you can see an empty ice cream box. I use it very often especially if I am painting on the go.

Candy boxes used for mixing paint Such empty candy boxes can be used for mixing color. In this case, if you need much color, you have to use a retarder. Wrap the box in a plastic if you take a break.

Happy painting!

Painting tips for beginners-How to keep acrylics soft

crylic paints can be used in several ways:
They can be used diluted with water, instead of watercolors because acrylics can resemble watercolors - yet they dry dark not light like watercolors. A great advantage is that acrylics are water-resistant when dry and can be overpainted without disturbing previous colors. Acrylics can also be used straight from the tube, as an alternative to oil paint because acrylics dry much faster than oil paints. Like oils, acrylics allow you to create a considerable variety of surface or textural effects, retain the impression of the brush or knife.
The appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, and other characteristics of the paint surface can be modified by using acrylic mediums.

The greatest quality of acrylics is also the biggest problem: they dry too fast!

Let's see how can we keep acrylic paint moist and workable?
You can keep the paints on your palette from drying out by using several techniques:
1. The easiest is to keep a spray bottle handy and spray a mist of water over the paint and dampen the canvas or paper while painting.

2. If you need to blend your colors you can add a few drops of acrylic retarding agents to lengthen the drying time

of acrylics. This way you can improve the flow of your acrylic paint too.
It is recommended to limit its use to the upper layers of detail, rather than underpainting. Extending the drying time too much has no logic; it would be the same disadvantage as with oil paints.

3. Using a special "stay wet" palette from the market or you can make your own moisture-retaining palettes with the exact size you want and with no costs, keeping your acrylic paints soft for days.

In my next post I want to share with you how to make a cheap moisture-retaining palette.

Happy painting till than!


Still Life with poppies - original oil painting

Small oil painting with poppies and colorful flowers in a vase.

Still life with poppies - original oil painting

14 cm x 27 cm original oil painting

Flower Fantasy - original oil painting

Floral oil painting with fantasy flowers

This oil painting is a play with colors and forms.

For the background, I used brushes and a painting knife for the colorful bouquet.

Feel free to leave me some feedback, constructive critic is welcome.

25 cm x 30 cm - original oil painting on canvas

RBG-CMYK-RYB Color Model

Understanding the uses of color is crucial to composition in fine arts and design.

There are many systems for classifying hue (color), developed so that researchers can measure and define color qualities.
Our perceptions are affected by the various physical phenomena and psychological effects too.

Additive primary colors

RBG color model:

Light Primaries - red, blue, green.
This definition is active when colored light is mixed, as on your computer or TV screen.Its effects are less familiar than pigment mixture to most people.

If all three primaries are mixed, the theoretical result is white light. Therefore light mixture is sometimes referred to as additive mixture.

Substractive primary colors

CMYK color model:

Printers primaries or the subtractive primaries- magenta, cyan (turquoise), yellow: this represents the basis for color printing.
In theory, mixing equal amounts of all three pigments should produce gray (black)but in practice they tend to produce muddy brown colors. For this reason, a fourth pigment, black (the key), is often used in addition to cyan, magenta, and yellow.

RYB color model:

Painters primaries - red, blue, yellow - are also substractive primaries.

Though painters have long used more than three primary colors in their palettes, red, yellow, blue, and green are still widely considered the four psychological primary colors in combination with black and white.
This traditional color model is primary used in painting and art education. It is based on 19th century theories where triads are formed by 3 equidistant colors on the traditional color wheel.
In the upcoming articles this is what I shall talk about.

Next: Lesson 3 - The Color wheel.
Privious: Lesson 1 - How do we see color?

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