Search This Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

There Will Be Only Silence Here For 5 Days...

Yesterday afternoon Shri Mataji, my Spiritual Mother and Guru left Her physical body. Therefore there will be no post for the next 5 days - I am going to silence and meditation...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Paint a Cat in Watercolor

In 2 weeks I have an intention to represent my new educational DVD. The topic is "Animals". One of 6 video lessons on DVD is about how to paint fur of a cat. Here is that lesson briefly.


  • I am using a pallete limited to earth colors (burnt umber, raw umber, sepia, black), except for blue eyes.
  • I am first painting in wet and adding dry brush in the end for the texture.
  • The eyes of the cat I am keeping dry and white while first washing.
  • First washes are of warm colors in wet, then are coming darker and cooller in wet.
  • I am focusing on the muzzle, the rest is not important.
There might be different tips for a different case, but I am sure they will be helpfull.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cheng-Khee Chee - Zen in XXI century

Cheng-Khee Chee, Associate Professor Emeritus of the University of Minnesota, is a Dolphin Fellow of the American Watercolor Society, signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America (Master Status), Watercolor USA Honor Society and many others. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, Who’s Who in American Education, and Dictionary of World Chinese Artists Achievements. He has been represented in numerous national juried exhibitions and captured over 200 honors.

Cheng-Khee Chee. Koi #1. 1998. 76x102

Mr. Cheng-Khee, you are a member of so many society and institutions. Doesn’t it disturb your painting activity in some way?

Not at all! Though I am signature member of many organizations, but I am not on the governing board of any of them, therefore they do not take away my painting time. The signature membership of an organization, such the American Watercolor Society (AWS), is acquired by having paintings accepted three times to the organization’s highly competitive annual national open juried exhibitions.

Cheng-Khee Chee. Koi #6, 2008, 56x76

I read some articles in Watercolor Artists Magazine and I admired 2 things: when you came to America you worked in the day and painted in the night, and other is that you keep painting every day. What is the source of inspiration for you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mika Törönen

I was looking through the art pages in FB and I found a demo video of a Finnish artist that I think I can share here. I also recognized the name of the artist that I heard from Finnish fellow artists some time ago. His name was Mika Törönen.

Where did you study art?
In Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney, Australia.

Why watercolor medium?
About 20-25 years ago I saw some watercolour paintings in gallery and fall in love.

Did you study watercolor or you have chosen it later? 
No, As a watercolor painter I am totally self taught.

Who would be an authority in Art for you among old masters and colleagues?
Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, Ilja Repin, Arthur Streeton, Hans Heysen.

In The Realm Of Dwarfs

Helsinki is all buried in snow. I am invited to teach in YLE painting club. YLE is a TV channel in Finland. It has a few high buildings. We enter one of the buildings, get into the lift cabin and it starts moving… downwards. After awhile it stops and we start walking along the corridors, a passage after the passage, turning left, right, left again…The walls are roughly worked up, they are not straight and vertical, I would say they are wavy, with very rough texture. We keep walking and I have a strong feeling that I found myself in a Dwarfs Kingdom.

Finally we arrived at the destination point – another corridor with a several class rooms for all sorts of crafts. Deep underground I was recalling the impressions of summer, sea, greenery, flowers, all those I was demonstrating in watercolors in my course. It was a bit unreal – all those colorful pictures under dozens of meters of rocks and granite in buried in snow Helsinki.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Paint a Seascape and a Sailing Boat

About this particular painting I`d like to stress that:
we are using only 3 colors.
we are making both soft and sharp borders.
we are creating the background at once and do not touch it after.

K.Sterkhov. Sunny Regatta. 25x35cm. 2009

Wash the sky with ochre, keep the highlights white. Soften the borders with water. Use a rather broad brush.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Seascape in Watercolor - 10 Mistakes

I recomend a Seascape as a subject to understand thoroughly the watercolor medium. It is not important if you didn`t paint with watercolor before. There are tricks to help you in mastering the watercolor technique. Even if you are experienced in watercolor, even then Seascape is the best training.
K. Sterkhov. Sea Meets Sky II. 56x76 cm, 2006

10 mistakes of the beginners in Watercolor Seascape:
  • Usement of a too small brush. It does`t let one make big washes and keep the paper wet.
  • The line of horizon devides the composition in two equal parts or the line of horizon is not straight or horizontal.
  • Not enough water for the first wash. Too small container for water or it has too narrow top.
  • Dull color. If you apply a cool color, it requires a supportive warm shade.
  • Trying to repaint the background or, to change something in it when it starts drying.
  • Applying several brush stokes at the same place one after another. You should`t controll everything by yourself, depend more upon water.
  • Trying to continue painting the sky when you have painted the foreground.
  • Lack of transparency in dark areas.
  • Trying to make a very completed work.
  • Equally approached the foreground and the background.

The World of Votsmush

"I go, find myself somewhere in my own program. That means not here: there is another universe that is inside. There are different processes going there. When I am taken out I hardly can decide what to do - it is very hard to come out of there... I mean, of course it is easy, but why?"
Alexander Shumtsov
Arush Votsmush. Where Chernysh Vanished To?

When studed in Academy all students from Alexander`s course invented a nick and an image for themselves. Alexander has become Votsmush - mirror reflection of his name Russian spelling.  And ever since he is living and creating by putting everithing upside down.

Ledingrad Cats

Let me introduce Vladimir Rumyantsev, a watercolorist fellow from St.Petersburg Watercolor society.

His watercolor works look more like illustrations. They are always full of details and humor. Partucularly I admire his cats - he`s got plenty!

Vladimir Rumyantsev. Petersburg Romance. 2006

Monday, February 7, 2011

Keiko Tanabe. Interview.

Keiko Tanabe is an award-winning watercolor artist.  Her paintings have been juried into many exhibitions across North America and in Asia.  Her work has been purchased by private collectors from all around the world.

It was not long ago when you become a full time artist. What made you to give up a settled job to devote yourself to Art fully?
- I always worked hard to realize the choices I had made whether it was my study or my work, so I didn't quite feel like I "gave up" anything when I made a career change.  Throughout my life I enjoyed creative activities and I was aware of my desire to become a painter growing stronger over the years.  I practiced painting in my spare time and decided to do it full-time when I felt the time was right.

Keiko Tanabe. Waiting For Spring. 21,5x29 cm

Did you always know that watercolor is your medium?
- When I started making art, I tried watercolor and also other mediums such as acrylic and pastel (I avoided oil because of health concerns).  The elusive nature of watercolor intrigued and frustrated me more than the others and I had to understand why it was so difficult to control it.  That was my initial reaction and luckily it was more of an attraction than a deterrence to me.  The more I worked in watercolor, the more I was convinced that this must be the best medium to express my emotions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

O. Pomerantsev - Simple Poetry

I am introducing my collegue from St.Petersburg Watercolor society Oleg Pomerantsev. I find that his works have some very special atmosphere, they are so inviting into the world of clouds, fogs and water.

Oleg Pomerantsev. Russian Landscape.

He is graduated as architector. His landscapes strictly follow the classic Russian school of watercolor. They all are almost monochromatic but they exactly express the felling of Russian nostalgy. They look like painted memories extracted from the depths of our mind.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ulugbeck Mukhamedov - interview

Ulugbek, you are known to the watercolor lovers as a great master and a founder of a new method of watercolor medium, “the black tea technique”. Could you please tell us about the essence of the technique and how you have found it?

U.Mukhamedov. Going Home.

I live in Bukhara where there is a lot of ancient architecture. The town is more than 2 500 years old. In my watercolors I am trying to express the spirit of my native town and a spirit of ancient. I have painted a lot of works but yet I felt something was missing. I was anxious to find new possibilities. I was looking through the books of old masters, exhibition catalogues, examining the Russian school of watercolor painting.
U.Mukhamedov. Street in Samarcand.
The discovering of  “the tea watercolor” doesn`t belong to me for it was used for the tonning the paper yet in the Ancient China. I would rather say that I found the value of it for myself. It happened coincidentally. I had an idea to make an effect of old paper as if the work had been painted 200 years ago.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Painting of the Day

My Chinese assistant in Sichuan. He gave me some lessons of calligraphy. Also he was my assistant in one of the graphic groups and also in a group of sculpture. Very talanted indeed!

K. Sterkhov. Lao Tu. 56x76. 2006

Painting of the Day

FB always displays new names and images. This time I was amaized to see a painting created in India. After Milind Malik it has been a big surprize for me - Aditya D. Shirke.

Nandor Mikola

When I ask my Finnish friends who would be the person in Finnish watercolor world worthy of writing about, they always say the name of Nandor Mikola. I have tryed to find some information though it was not much said in the i-net about the artist.
This article is a tribute to Nandor Mikola (1911 – 2006), great Finnish watercolorist, born in Hungary. He was the only painter in Finland having his museum during his lifetime. Nandor Mikola is a honorary member of Finish Watercolor society.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Mikola started studying lithography at the Budapest University for Art and Design in 1928. At the same time he studied painting at the Budapest Free Art Academy under the guidance of Guyla Rudnai. He graduated as a lithographer in 1932 and participated for the first time in a public exhibition at the Obuda district culture house in Budapest, where he displayed his watercolour paintings. That year he worked as a lithographer in Budapest but continued studies atGraphic Institute of Vienna, Austria the same year.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sunset Demo

Here I am showing an easy and fast way of painting alla prima, combining wet and dry techniques. It is important that the background is painted all at once and we do not touch it any more. Then we let it dry and paint with dry brush the foreground grass.

Watercolor Demo by Fabio Cembranelli

Enjoy more demos at Fabio`s blog...)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Painting Of The Day

A sketch of Mila Iovovich made for a woman magazine long ago.

K. Sterkhov. Mila. 25x35 cm. 2002