Alexandra Yakovleva2020/01/21

Toning a canvas

I am so ready for a new painting to come to life. Let's start 2020 with a new piece of masterpiece! Wow that was humble!

I have quit my long-term habit of painting on white canvas a few years ago, thanks to Mark Carder videos I came across. He is a realist artist from Texas.

It makes sense to tone your white canvas in order to avoid those white specks peeking at you after the painting is finished. It gives any canvas a good base and a proper start. I usually do a very simple mixture or oil paint of my choice and turpenoid. I tend to judge proportion of turpenoid by eye and like it very runny. For this paticular painting I mixed cadmium yellow with lamp black. I don't use black in the painting itself, but for toning it worked great giving a greenish shade to it. Using a soft brush I just apply one thin coat, I mean very thin. I slighly rub it in, but it is not necessary.  The area in which I am working has a ceiling fan, that gives a proper ventilation.  When the canvas is dry in about 3-4 days, I will use a solf pencil to sketch the desired design on it. I always rely on my thumbnail sketches. 

I currently have it drying hanging on my wall. It looks great as a finished piece of art. Not for a long time.

Alexandra Yakovleva2019/12/11

Work in Progress

Painting away my new fresh piece of a masterpiece! Wow how humble, Sasha (short for Alexandra in Russia).  I am wearing my boyfriend's shirt, he can share, he's got a department store in his closet. Interestingly I haven't put a single paint mark on it. Wait till I decided not to wear it and get paint all over my own shirt. 

I prefer working quite speedy and complete a painting within a week max. For some reason stretching a pleasure for weeks is not quite for me, unless I decide on a giant size of a canvas. That might happen. Never say never.

I think one of the seasons I like to paint fast because it is like eating a delicious cake, get it all in one piece in your stomach and then dwell on satisfaction. It is also a desiger to see the complete product before the excitement and focus is gone with the wind. I am not rushing when I paint by any means, no I extend the process with a steady speed. I am in the zone. Focused. I am just going, mixing, painting. 

The technique of taking pictures of work in process is crucial. There is a better understanding of what needs to be corrected or how the piece looks from a simple photo on the phone. I do step back, yes, it has been put into my head since the Art School. That hasn't changed. But a picture on the phone gets a painting in a better focus. It's like looking at the planet from the space. 

I also like to tone my canvas. A light mixture of titanium white and burned umber with turpentine does just fine. No more painting on a white canvas with the fear of white speckles piercing  you. Put that base layer as a sheet on the bed to create a foundation for the main colors. 

Usually I don't listen to any music while I am painting, but there would be an interview, podcast or an art lecture playing in my ear. I need a voice talking not singing. Not sure why but music doesn't get me going with my art. Talk in my ear does. I have been especially enjoying energetic lectures of Jerry Saltz. I wish I could write like him. I wish I could write period. 

That is about it about my Work in progress. 

Alexandra Yakovleva2019/11/12

Kaliningrad Museum of Fine Arts

This Fall I went back home. To Russia. How excited it was to discover that the main Art Museum in town found a new home. The picture above and below shows a new location for the Kaliningrad Museum of Fine Arts. It is situated in an old Stock Exchange building, which was build almost 150 years ago. What a perfect architectural fit for art. What do you think? 

We  went with my mom to see an exhibition which made its travel from the State Russian Museum in Saint-Petersburg. I am glad art still travels! The artist Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva deeply struck us with her stunning woodcut artwork for which she was a pioneer. In fact she uplifted this traditional art form by producing a limited number of sophisticated prints.

Below is a six color woodcut. 

Summer Garden.

In her watercolor paintings she mainly depicted Saint-Petersburg and European cityscapes. In oils she did portraits and interior paintings. I am glad the exhibiton had a little bit of everything, which gave a full picture of her many talents in different art mediums.

Alexandra Yakovleva2019/11/01

My special signature

How do you sign your work? Do you have a special signature?

I do. And this image above is humbly small. I couldn't resize it. Obviously I am very new to my very new website. 

This specail signature which I have been signing my paintings since at least 1996 has been created by my dear mom. She turned out to have a genius mind! It is not just an "A "looking letter it is a combination of three firs letters of my first, middle and last names in Russian. We use Cyrillic alphabet so no latin letters can be found. I love this signature so much I put it on my official stamp to solid my art with true authenticity.

Signing your work is crucial, it is vital to put that last finishing touch to firmly seal the name of the creator. Leave that signature in history for posterity. You never know what travels your art piece will make. It might be discovered one hundred years later in a desert and no one will know who it is unless it is signed. 

Make sure to always sign your masterpiece (or just an art piece)


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