Aleksandra Bzdzikot

PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION

 

17.09.2017

How to bring back beauty to your life

How often do you realize you lack beauty and inspiration in your life?

 

Naturally, everyone of us has some duties, time to work, time to go shopping, time to cook the soup, time to give to our family and time for ourselves. Yes.

Time - one of the most mysterious notions of this universe. Does time exist or was it is just a measurement of changes we are undergoing? Why it is so important and why we people feel that time is running out and we are trying to chase it? We seem to be forever in lack of time. A lack of time to enjoy life, to do what we really want, to appreciate this very moment.

 

What was the last time you fully disconnected and pampered yourself? Without checking your emails, texting your friends or directing your thoughts to some stress and impatience. 

 

My last vacations in Italy made me realize how important it is to give yourself time and space and to spend your energy inwards. By doing so, you have the chance to feel, see and taste the beauty. The beauty we all long for.

 

 

What does beauty mean to me? 

These are the moments that bring my attention back to notice and appreciate how much beauty is all around me. 

I was sitting on one of the Ligurian beaches, no computer, no checking my emails, no technology. Just me, salty sea, warm stones and the sounds of omnipresent life. 

Instead of diving into my everyday routine I disconnected from technology and reconnected with nature. For me, drawing is a practice that helps me to plunge into the very moment of existence. When I draw, the world holds its breath and the only thing that matters is here and now. 

 

I reflect beauty in my art. The outward beauty of this world and the inward beauty of my soul. Beauty satisfies and enriches the soul. 

 

 

How to bring back beauty to you life? My recipe is simple, but it requires from you a shift of attention.

 

1) Bring back the beauty to this moment. Look around, see what is or who is beautiful around you. Appreciate you are alive. 

2) Let go of weighty things. Release stress, worry or anxiety. Focus on the good.

3) Do something that makes you happy. It can be a drawing, singing a song or a walk in the park.

4) Take care of your body and soul. Take a long aromatic bath, read an inspiring book and tell yourself you are beautiful.

5) Smile!

 

 

Where are you when you think about the future? In the present. Where are you when you think about the past? Also in the present moment. 

The present moment allows you to experience everything. To taste the beauty of the universe. To be. To breathe. To exist.

 

Before watches were invented to calculate the time the only method to measure it was the change of day and night. The rhythm of day and night influenced also the life of animals and plants. The nature has its own mechanism and we don't need to wear our watches to see that. The living organisms are full of internal mechanisms like molecular, chemical or hormonal ones. Including, of course, humans. The rhythm of life was always calculated by days, nights, years, cycles of the moon. In short, by observing phenomena and things that change.

 

Aristotle was the first who posed the question about the nature of time and he arrived at the conclusion that time is the measurement of change. But what if nothing happens and there is nothing to measure? Does time depend on things and events or it runs regardless of them? Newton had a different opinion than Aristotle. He thought that there is something called "an absolute time" that runs independently of things.

You can think that the world consists of things, of substance, of entities, of permanence. In fact, nothing is permanent as everything is in constant movement. In the process of life. Your world is made of events, experiences, feelings, of kisses. 

 

 

While on my holidays I visited Acquario di Genova, where I was inspired by the beauty and delicacy of jellyfish. Can you believe that even such small organisms can bring admiration and inspiration to your life?  Genoa is a special place for me and I am happy I was able to go there again. 

On the way back to Zurich I stopped at Milan where I bought a fascinating book about time. 

 

My holidays were beautiful, because I was in the present. Living in the here and now. 

You as well can make your world a better place. More beautiful. Just be in everything you do. Add beauty to your everyday life. 

 

Wishing you a beauty-full week!

Aleksandra 

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28.08.2017

10 things you don't know about me

Today I want to reveal to you some personal details. Hope you'll enjoy it!

 

1. I love eating seafood. If anybody asks me to go out and have a delicious pizza frutti di mare or a seafood dish, I am definitely in!

 

2. The craziest thing I have ever done was stand-up paddling. Actually, before you do this the key requirement is that you need to be a good swimmer, which I am not.

I have never learned how to swim at school. Fortunately, I learned to swim a bit by myself, which helps me to swim small distances and keep myself on the water for 5 minutes :-)

 

3. I make the best tiramisu in the neighborhood.

 

4. One of my favourite movies is "Prometheus" by Ridley Scott. I could watch it all over again.

 

5. I believe in natural healing and I don't take any medicines.

 

6. I like the smell of bedsheets in the morning, when they are still warm.

 

7. I love receiving flowers.

 

8. I'm quite tall - 176 cm. I was always the tallest girl in the class.

 

9. I can easily cry over a breathtaking sunrise or sunset.

 

10. I can speak 5 languages, fluently or less fluently :)

 

 

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16.08.2017

Preparing your art exhibition abroad - all you need to know

Recently, I am taking part in a couple of exhibitions. Usually, this is quite a busy time, from one art show to another. Last month I participated in an art exhibition in Udine, Italy and soon, basically in 2 days' time, I will have my exhibition at the Steiner Gallery in Vienna. 

 

If you're curious to check how the process of the preparation for a personal art exhibition looks like  - then, I hope you'll find the below information handy.

 

After you have successfuly signed the contract with the gallery you feel simply amazing and full of overwhelming "I can do it!" energy :) That's great, because your positive attitude plays an important role in the preparations, which are time-consuming and not so easy at the beginning, especially with the respective customs regulations. But if you treat this as a challenge, and not a problem, then it's an interesting process to experience.

 

1. CAREFULLY SELECT THE EXHIBITED PIECES

It's up to you to make a selection of your artworks, which will be shown at the art show, so make sure you choose the ones that define your style best. For my exhibition in Vienna, where I am going to show twenty of my works, I have selected impresssionistic landscapes on canvas and my women portraits. Naturally, it's good as well to have the opinion of the gallery owners to confirm your selected works will go well together.

 

 

2. MAKE AN INVENTORY LIST OF YOUR PAINTINGS 

This is a very important step, which is useful in the customs procedure. Make a list of all your pieces and accompany them with clear photographs and description.

My list contained such information as: title of the work, size, medium and the pricelist. This list you can then forward to your art gallery and use for the shipment of your paintings abroad. The more details the inventory includes, the better it is. As an example, the inventory of my artwork "Paradise found" looks as follows:

 

Artist: Aleksandra Bzdzikot

Title: "Paradise found"

Size: 70 cm x 50 cm

Medium: oil on canvas 

Year of production: 2016

Origin: CH (Switzerland)

 

3. CHECK THE CUSTOMS REGULATIONS 

This is the tricky part and the most difficult at the same time. If you're shipping your art abroad you must find out in advance how to do it and what is the correct procedure. If you are based in an EU country and you are shipping your works to another EU country - then I think it's less of a hustle.

My case was different. I was shipping works from outside of EU (Switzerland) into the EU (Austria). It took me quite a while to get to know the regulations and it ended up with endless phone calls with the customs officers, who do not necessarily know other languages that their own :-) Therefore, if you do not speak well the language of the country of import it's better, in my view, to rely on help of your friends, in my case German-speaking friends. Customs regulations are legal regulations, therefore, it is essential to fully understand them. When you export something from Switzerland and import it into another country you are legally obliged to pay the customs duty, import taxes and VAT, depending on your case. 

 

I decided to make an ATA Carnet, which helps me to smoothly cross the border without paying any taxes, provided all the works will be imported back to Switzerland. It works perfectly if you are shipping many artworks and you don't want to be caught up at the customs control with no documents for your paintings.

It looks quite complicated, I know! But once you figure out how to do it, you can surely say you have become a junior expert in customs law :)

 

4. DECIDE IF YOUR ARTWORKS REQUIRE FRAMING 

If some of your artworks are not on canvas, but on paper or other medium they need framing. Make sure you frame them in advance, to have a big supply of time before the exhibition. If you have many works to frame, try to negotatie with your frames supplier, as the framing costs can be quite high. 

Frame increases the dimensions of your artwork, so it's advisable to put it in your inventory and tick the pieces which are framed.

 

 

5. FIX A HANGING OPTION AT THE BACK OF YOUR PAINTINGS

This concerns paintings on canvas. Those, which are framed, ussually have hacks or hangers at the back of the frame.

When it comes to canvas, you are not equipped with any hanging option. Therefore, it is very important to fix a hanging at the back of your canvas painting before shipping it to your gallery. The best option is to install a wire on screws, like I did. 

 

 

6. TRANSPORTING

Pack the works properly to avoid any damage during transportation. Regardless of the fact whether it's a domestic or international transport put enough layers of the bubble plastic wrap to protect it from the scratches and dents. 

If you're exhibiting abroad, you need to think about the best and cost-effective shipping option for your painitngs. This depends on:

 

a) the size of the artworks

b) the distance to your exhibit location

c) the way of transport: car, plane, shipping forwarder company

 

My transport to Vienna first was going to be by car from Zurich, but then I resigned from this option to take a flight. The size of my paintings allowed me to put them into 3 big suitcases of checked baggage and arrive to Vienna within 1 hour flight. One painting had nonstandard dimensions, so I was able to take it on board of a plane. 

The flight option works well if the size of your paintings can fit into a big luggage case. Just remember to arrive early at the airport before the departure to go to the customs and stamp your ATA Carnet. 

 

As soon as you ship and hang your paintings in the gallery it's time to relax before the vernissage! I am spending my days in Vienna strolling around the city and visiting its splendid museums and art galleries. 

 

The vernissage at the Steiner Gallery starts tomorrow at 19:00 and I will be happy to welcome you there!

 

 

See you next time,

Aleksandra 

 

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25.07.2017

My art exhibition in Udine - impossible is nothing

 

This month I have participated in a collective art exhibition "Summer Art" in beautiful Udine. This adorable town is located near the border with Slovenia and is surrounded by small hills, montains and clear rivers. The vernissage was set for Saturday, 8.07.2017 and I was delighted to be one of the exhibiting artists. 

 

 

The art expo in Galleria ART time in Udine, despite being a success in my art career, has also meant something very personal for me. I would like to tell you a story, which happened on my way there and which made me realize something important. 

 

Before the vernissage, I decided to send my artworks by courier, simply because they didn't fit in my luggage. To be on the safe side, as they say, I shipped the paintings a week before the vernissage. Three days later, I was making a 2-days stop in Milan before my trip to Udine. While relaxing in my hotel, I got informed by my gallery that my artworks were stopped by the Italian customs for an unknown reason. To surprise me even more, the customs officials said that they were not going to release them soon. Despite the fact, that I did everything according to the law and attached all necessary documents, the package was stopped for an inspection.

 

Can you imagine going to your vernissage knowing your artworks would not arrive on time?

 

At first, I was really worried and got frustrated about the situation. It was aready 6 pm in Milan and the next morning I had a train to Udine. At that moment, laying on my hotel bed, I realized that however bad the situation is, I still have a choice. What kind of choice you might ask?

The choice on how to react about this situation. Either to break down, cry and fall in despair just by thinking that I would be the only artist without paintings or do something about it. I still had one more day to go. 

 

It was 6 pm in Milano when I literally jumped out of my hotel and rushed to the city to buy some art supplies. I said to myself: okay, my artworks will not arrive on time, but I will. And, I can create something new and bring it along to the exhibition. I bought paper, crayons, pencils and I even managed to find beautiful frames for my new creations. 

 

 

After the shopping was made, I poured myself a glass of water and prepared an espresso. It was going to be a night longer than usual. I sat down by the big wooden table in my room and let my inner creative force reflect itslef in the drawing process. No rush. Just me and my creative powers. I did two new women portraits, which I loved!

 

 

This situation helped to realize that rough conditions or unexpected problems bring precious gifts. We all face challenges. Everyone is dealing with something they wish they weren't dealing with. I learned that every problem we encounter is an opportunity in disguise, if you only allow yourself positivity. 

 

The gifts I received while handling this unexpected situation were amazing:

- more courage and self-belief

- strength of the character despite the external circumstances

- ability to construct a legal letter in Italian, which I have done for the first time :)

- faith that impossible is nothing 

 

Equpped with the memory of this experience I went to Udine, where the gallery owners liked my new portraits very much. The vernissage was a great event and I am grateful for all the amazing local people I have met there. Life provides me with opportunities to grow - so that my soul can bloom like a flower. 

 

 

In dark times or when your life takes an unexpected turn, we always have a choice. However, not always do we realize it. 

We can always control our reactions to a given situation and decide if we allow ourselves to be filled with sadness or joy. 

 

 

Hot Italian summer. Crickets singing in the background. The town of Udine begins its slow pace of every day life. 

Although two weeks have passed since I went there, I can still smell the freshly ground beans of Italian coffee and hear the morning calmness of the town waking-up...

 

 

Aleksandra 

  

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05.07.2017

Creation of "Lea" - step by step canvas painting

Today I wanted to share with you valuable insights on how to make a woman portrait on canvas.

 

Last weekend was very productive for me, as from early morning hours I woke up with inspiration and power to create something. As I had an unpainted brand-new canvas, I decided to use it wisely.

 

Sometimes I wake up with an idea or invincible power to create. I think we, human beings, are very gifted in terms of our creative powers. We can create everything we want, we have great ideas and we can turn our dreams into reality. I am always thankful to other artists out there, be it movie directors, painters, musicians or photographers. They provide me with lots of inspiration and emotions, that trigger the most beautiful in us, humans.

 

With such a fire to create I woke up early last Saturday. Some of you may find it extreme or unusual to wake up before 6:00 am on a Saturday - the day when you don't have to go to work, but for me, this is the best time to create. To pursue my mastery.

 

Before my "Lea' looked like this, I needed to go through certain stages, which I would like you to guide you through.

 

 

 

1. STAGE 1  - A SKETCH

Some artists don't ever sketch on a canvas. Not to mention the fact that it's not easy due to the canvas surface and the eraser simply doesn't work in case you want to cross out a mistake or change the shape of the lips :)

I also encountered this problem while sketching "Lea". However, for me, a preliminary sketch works perfectly, especially when I want to paint a woman with the details like face characteristics. After I have done a pencil sketch of the lines of the face, I feel more certain with putting the paint on.

 

 

 

2. STAGE 2 - THE BASIC BACKGROUND

Painting on a canvas is a complex process. Naturally, it depends on what would be your painting subject. Here, it is a woman. Therefore, I start painting with putting the background color.  If you want to make a one-color background you just need to paint the background in one color.

In my case, I wanted the background to be inter-dimensional, with different colors delicately shining through like the sun shines through the leaves of the tree. 

 

At first, I painted the canvas in white and light pink, later on I added some blue and apricot colors. Take notice that I also painted the face of the woman at the same time that I painted the background. I used two types of brushes - one the so-called flat and the other more pointy.

 

 

 

3. STAGE 3 -  THE MAIN FIGURE

Before I come down to this stage I leave the painting to dry for about 20-30 minutes. It's essential to let the first layer of the paint dry so that later on it will not mix with the next strokes of the brush. Here, you can clearly see that I started with painting the hair and the facial features were actually the last thing that I painted.

I applied the same painting rule as with the background. I put layers - first the lighter colors like siena and brown and then I finished with highliting the details of the face with red and dark pink. 

 

 

4. STAGE 4 - BACKGROUND FINISH

The last thing that I worked on was the background. I wiped it out with tissues to have a more blurred effect, as if a woman is seen through a mist or appearing from some space. 

 

 

 

Canvas is the tool to tell a certain story, to convey feelings to the viewer. When you are painting ask yourself a question: What feelings do I want to convey in my painting? What kind of story will it tell? 

Usually, the story is hidden within the details like the look in the eyes, the invisible smile like the one on Mona Lisa's or something else you put in the painting.

Of course, not everybody will notice these small details, but at least you can arouse the imagination of the viewers.

 

I must say I am quite happy with the achieved result. It was a perfect wake-up practice that charged my batteries for the whole day.

 

 

 

Hope you like my "Lea" and that my painting hints were of value to you.

 

See you next time,

Aleksandra

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22.06.2017

Art Basel 2017. My personal impressions.

Art Basel is a place where notable art galleries and contemporary artists of our times meet to evoke emotion and spark conversation. 

 

This year Art Basel took place on 14-18 June 2017 at Messeplatz with astonishing modern architecture of the exhibition halls created by Herzog & de Meuron. The Swiss architects have also created modern architectural pearls like Elbphilharmonie HafenCity in Hamburg or Prada Store in Tokio.

 

 

As an artist and art lover, naturally, I couldn't miss the opportunity to be there and check what other artists are doing and how this amazing art marketplace functions. I had a breadth of works to discover including paintings, sculpture, installations, video and digital art.

 

The fairs were opened to the public on Thursday 15th, although the VIP collectors and leading dealers had three days before to make sales before the official opening of the show. If you are wondering what amounts we talk about, it's worth to mention that Hauser & Wirth Gallery declared Tuesday as the most successful fisrt day ever at Art Basel, having placed a 1970 oil by Philip Guston for 15m USD, among a dozen of early sales. 

I think almost every visitor to Art Basel wonders how artwork prices are calculated and what such a calculation is based on. The sale prices were varied and depended on the position of the artist and his name, as well as the gallery who represents him. personally, I saw artworks starting from 2 000 USD and reaching up to 350 000 USD or even more. 

 

Actually, I have visited the fairs twice on two days. First time I wanted to catch the art atyles and ideas on painting, which is my preferred category of artworks. The second day I wanted to see installations, digital art and sculptures, which was very fascinating and sometimes shocking as well. 

 

Are you ready to take a look at my personal 'surprise moments' and things, which I liked? 

Let's start then. 

 

 

1. LANDSCAPES OF JOAN MIRO 

I am pretty sure many of you know Joan Miro as an artist whose artworks can be labelled as surreal or even abstract. Miro was inspired by art movements such as surrealism, dadaism and cubism. I clearly remembered his recognisable painting style. What a surprise was for me when I saw a classical landscape painted by Miro at Art Basel. Somehow, I have not assumed that he painted something else than geometrical or surreal flattened objects and figures. 

 

Here you can see his landscape 'Tuilerie a Mont-roig', oil on canvas, painted in 1918.

This painting was sold at Christie's for a price around 8 500 000 USD. Impressive.

 

 

 2. FAN INSTALLATION BY JORINDE VOIGT

This Germanan artist made an interesting installation called 'Grammatik VII' with 8 painted and lettered motorized propellers. As outside of the exhibition hall it was quite hot and sunny I thought instantly that such an artwork would be perfect to install in an office or home.

Creative and useful.

 

 

 3. MARC CHAGALL'S WORKS

I was so happy to see Chagall's paintings, because I have been a fan of his painting ever since. I like his style, which transports me into a dream world of poesy and color. Chagall was a painter who combined real and dream worlds into richly colored fantasies where people fly and animals cavort. 

 

He was a Jew coming from Belarus and the one of very few whose artoworks were shown at the Louvre during his lifetime. His story inspired me, as it proves that you can make it regardless of what country or background you come from.

Chagall's painitng insfluenced my perception of color, whcih resulted in the colorful landscapes I create. I'm so grateful to be inspired by such a master. 

 

Below you can see his painitng 'Les amoureux en rouge' from 1952.

The lovers on the painting culd be Chagall himself and his wife Valentina Brodsky - their marriage lasted 33 years, until Chagall's death in 1985.

 

 

4. A SURPRISING PAINTING BY GER VAN ELK

Frankly speaking, this painting shocked me the moment I saw it. why? First of all, it is a completely non-standard painting. I'm talking here not about the fact that it is a paint on photograph on canvas. Although that's pretty interesting as well. When you look at it, you see the main surface of the canvas is one-colored, whereas you are able to see something on the sides of the canvas - a part of a building called 'Duomo' (the cathedral).

 

Ger van Elk, in my opinion, made a shift in a traditional way of perceiving art. Usually, when you have a canvas you paint on it, so that the main shapes or figures are in the central location - the surface of the canvas. Here, the surface is empty - although it has a brownish color, which, by the way, is called 'sienna' on the list of Pantone colors. 

The artist has used the sides of the canvas, which usually are left empty or colored monochromatically. On the sides we see a photograph of Duomo, the one, which probably is in Siena, Italy. This is the art play of Ger van Elk - Siena as a city and sienna as a color. A very interesting play of words and artistic concept. 

 

 

Above you have seen the most interesting things at Art Basel that I wanted to share with you. Of course, there is so much more and I could write about art for hours. It's fascinating how artists mix art and philosophy or clever ideas with a useful result.

 

I must say I am not a huge lover of abstract art, but there was one painting which caught my attention. I love the energetic splash of colors and the way it creates some forms on a white background. It's very vibrant and alive.

 

 

Those of you who have visited Art Basel - I hope you had fun and that you were able to uncover some thought-provoking art pieces for yourself. 

Hope my insight into Art Basel 2017 was interesting for you to read!

 

 

If you'd like to see my short comment on Art Basel 2017 in a local TV TELEBASEL please check the link below (starts 2:40 min.):

https://telebasel.ch/2017/06/19/dani-von-wattenwyl-der-art-basel/

 

 

 

 

 

Aleksandra

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15.06.2017

Brilliant ways to make an art studio at home

Many of you ask me where I create my art and if I have a professional art studio.

Personally, I think one does not need an art studio to create. Sometimes what you need is some art space, which can be a part of your apartment where you will indulge in the creative process and make wonderful art pieces.

 

So, where do we begin? Have you sharpened your pencils to start?

If yes, let's start and let me invite you to a personal guided tour of my atelier.

 

 

If you really want to make art and creativity a part of your life and your every day practice I am sure you can find a space for that.

It doesn't have to be an ideal artistic studio. It can be a separate room, a part of a room, a corner or even a simple desk and a drawer! There are no limitations here.

It's like with everything, which is important in your life - you give it time and space.

 

CREATE YOUR ART STUDIO IN YOUR HOME

 

This is exactly what I did - I divided a part of my apartment and organised my art space in there. Frankly speaking, my whole apartment looks like an art gallery. But I have a special corner where I have my working desk and a drawer for painting materials.

 

1. Find a space for working on your art

I can tell from experience that in case you don't have a separate room for your painting, finding a corner in your room works equally good.

 

2. Furnish it with basic things for your art materials

I took over a corner in my apartment where I put my desk and a small cupboard for my paints, paper, brushes and other art materials.

The desk can be a normal desk for study or a spacious table that sometimes will be converted into your art desk. My desk is very simple - from Ikea and I have painted it in pastel blue to personalize it more.

 

 

What things I keep on my desk to make pleasure out of my painting experience?

I always have some fresh flowers and many pens, pencils and brushes. On the side, I usually put some fashion magazines like Elle Italia to get some inspiration for my women portraits and work on my Italian at the same time. My desk needs to be clean before I start the creative process. It's like cleaning not only the physical space around you but also the mental one. It helps me to focus instantly on my work.

Last but not least - coffee :-) I am a huge coffee lover and a cup of a good coffee is essential for me. Usually I drink Lavazza - one of my favourite brands. I am quite picky as to coffee, and it needs to be a genuine one and of good quality.

 

3. Repurpose an old piece of furniture like a cupboard for storage

When I moved to Switzerland my friend gave me a small, old wooden cupboard which I painted white and converted into art supplies storage place.

I put there my inspirational materials, paper supplies ans my illustrations. Acrylic and oil paints are stored in the blue box. It works perfectly and stands beside my working desk.

 

 

Those of you who are artists ask me what kind of paints I use and in which technique I paint. As you are well aware, there exist many techniques and styles of painting, starting with watercolous and ending with oil. I work best with acrylic and oil and the brands I use are various.

For oil painting I like good quality paints like: Van Dyck and Mussini. For acrylic I use the basic ones, which mix well with one another. As you see below, apart from coffee I am a fan of beautiful scents. Currenlty, I have a Diptyque candle that I like to light in the evenings to boost my senses.

 

 

4. Feel good and resourceful in your art space

Do you sometimes worry that you are not good enough? Do you have thoughts that you're mediocre in what you do? Such thoughts appear in our heads from time to time but sometimes they can overwhelm you during your painting process. It is natural, that we, people, have doubts about ourselves and our capabilites. However, everybody wants to feel good and flourish in their craft. Is there a magic pill for that?

 

I would say that yes. There is. For me it's the sense of freedom.

 

When I sit myself by my painting table everything around slowly ceases to exist. I don't focus on whether I will create something nice and if people will like it. In this moment, I do not care about the opinion of others or the way I look or if I am good enough to be a painter. I don't need that information. I am not afraid of being critised or being my true self. This is freedom for me. And it is with that feeling that I sit by my table and paint.

 

Focusing on the present helps me to bring out my sincerest feelings and put them on the paper. It is the process which in the end brings you amazing results. This process is the resource of all my artistic skills. Imagine a wave on the ocean - its essence is to be in the movement, in the process. When the wave freezes - it's not a wave any more. I think it's the same with painting - use your wave to get access to true resources within you. Life is fluid. Only when you think about your life in your memory you see images, scenes like in a movie. They are frozen waves.

 

Don't stop surfing on your wave. Stay alive and enjoy your creativity!

 

 

 

 

See you next time!

Aleksandra

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01.06.2017

Painting flowers

With all this warm weather and sunshine it is a wonderful time to catch some floral energy and reflect it in a painting. 

It's already June and the nature is fully blooming and preparing for the summer. At this time I go and photograph flowers and colorful landscapes, sunrises and sunsets, calms and storms.

 

Painting flowers is a gem among still life themes. Although flowers fall within the category of still life they are, in fact, very alive and vibrant. That's why it is so worth to use their beauty and energizing colours and transfer it to make an artwork. 

 

 

For those of you who are not sure what 'still life' means here's a short recap from the art history:

What is still life? 

Still life is a painting featuring an arrangement of everyday objects (natural and manufactured) like flowers, fruits, books or food. These objects don't move. A painter usually paints a scene with a bottle of wine, fruits and a dead fish. This is just an example. Many well known and recognized painters painted still life and it became a genre of its own in 16th century. In the next century, it reached its heights in 17th century Holland. I am sure you remember Flemish or Dutch paintings of flowers on a dark, usually black background. 

 

My paintings of flowers are strongly influcenced by 17th century Flemish paintings. I often use the black backgroud, because I think it brings out the colours of the flowers even more. It makes them stand out and gives the whole painting a touch of elegance. 

 

 

This painting "The midnight bloom" was exhibited at New York Contemporary Art Fairs "Art Expo" in April 2017. 

The floral texture depends on the way each separate flower is painted - take a look and you will notice that peonies in pink-red-white are painted with different strokes of the brush than the small yellowish flowers.

 

I would like to share with you some useful tips on how to paint flowers in a dynamic way. 

 

1) FLOWERS ARE BASED ON GEOMETRICAL FIGURES

If you take rose and sunflower you notice that they are of a different shape. Composition is a process of taking several basic elements and arranging them into a unified, visually pleasant motif.

All forms in nature can be reduced to a few basic shapes - a circle, oval, square or triangle. A tulip seen on the above painting can have a form of an oval - when it's buds are not fully opened whereas small blue flowers of hyacinth are based more on trangles. 

 

2) BACKGROUND CHOICE AFFECTS COLOUR

Your entire painting will be affected by the background colour. 

A warm background pushes cool colours forward. The contrary happens with a cool background: it pushes warm colours forward. 

Let's take an example: if you are planning to paint a yellow sunflower it will stand out more on a blue background. 

 

3) TECHNIQE - OIL OR ACRYLIC?

I am sure many of you use different techniques for flower painting. It can be acrylic, oil or watercolour. I usually use oil with a bit of acrylic. Why oil?

I think oil helps me best to 'sculpt' the flowers and gives them a rich texture and coloring. 

 

                                                                                     "Lover of life" - oil on cardboard

 

"Flower composition" - oil on cardboard

 

Flowers are associated with the feminine.

Quite surprisingly, paintings of flowers have almost exclusively been created by male artists. Still, painting flowers is a classic subject with a history much longer than the 17th century or even reneissance. 

Flowers are sensual, of magical smell and delicate touch. No wonder that they resemble women in many ways. Their erotic lines, richness of colours, shapes and sizes are straightforward allusions to feminine body forms. In fact, a woman's body is the part of the world of nature just like a flower.

 

We are flowers, dear ladies. We bloom and give life and beauty to this world every day.

 

 

 

 

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17.05.2017

Why I visit museums and art galleries?

Some of you might think it's a boring to-do activity on your list when you visit a city, but actually, it is far more fascinating. 

Why?

 

1. You  discover the code of genius and mastery.

 

What I mean by this, is not only learning the painting techniques or observing the painting style of a painter. Most importantly, the artworks are the witnesses and, at the same time, the results of the strong will of the painter to go after his or her dreams. 

 

You see that the exposed artworks are exceptional and the painter exceeded in his mastery. Whenever I lack energy or inspiration I visit a museum or an art gallery. When I see that some artists, who came from a very simple background, could make it up to such an exceptional level, I feel empowered that I can do it as well. 

This year I visisted Musee d'Orsay in Paris. In order not to get too tired of visiting this museum (yes! strolling around and taking in artistic energy can be tiring) I came there with a plan to focus on impressionists and their mastery. The number of artworks can be overwhelming, so I suggest to make a plan what you would like to focus on most of all. Then, learn how to crack the code of genius of your chosen painter.

 

2. You boost your creativity and recharge.

 

Ususally when people hear "art gallery" they associate this word with pompous, fancy and "hoity-toity" place with expensive artworks that they could never afford to buy.

Is this the the picture of how it really is?

 

Very unlikely. Of course, the price range is wide, depending on the stand of the artist in the art market. But still, in smaller cities or cities where art market is the biggest (like London or New York) you can find unique pieces in an affordable price.

I like strolling through galleries - please note, that to every gallery the admission is free and you don't need to pay to see the paintings. I drink my coffee, go to a gallery, spend some time there, read about the artist and get inspired - either by his/her art or by the biography. I explore, recharge and interpet what I see.

Each painting has a story to tell. Appreciate it. 

 

The painting below made a big impression on me - "The birth of Venus" by a French painter William Bouguereau.

Near the end of his life he described his love for art: "Each day I go to my studio full of joy; in the evening when obliged to stop because of darkness I can scarcely wait for the next morning to come...If I cannot give myself to my dear painting  I am miserable".

 

Passion needs constant work and focus, it needs your love to flourish.

 

 

 

2. Museums and art galleries are portfolios of passion.

 

If the painters whose artwork you see in the museum were not passionate about what they do, they wouldn't have been hanging there and you wouldn't have learned about them at school. It's the result of their passion what your eyes see. 

 

I go to museums to learn that everything is possible. If you want you can become a master in your craft, just like William Bouguereau, who was born in the family of wine and olive merchants and made his way to become an art master. 

 

You can make your way too!

Below one of my favourite pictures: artist Bzdzikot with artist Renoir.

 

 

Until next time,

Aleksandra

 

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