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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Model from Sweden

Recently I received some photos from my course in Sweden. Here is a model sitting)

Sometimes it turned away from me but finally we managed.

Of course it was much easier to be a model myself. But after 25 years of a break in self-portraiting I had a shock facing the changes)

The new DVD with portraits is available. It includes 100 minutes of portrait painting with comments and many useful tips.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Piet Lap - Interview 16.11.2011

Here is the interview with a marvelous Dutch painter Piet Lap, given to me by e-mail couples of days ago. It`s a material of a great value to me!

Piet Lap - watercolor artist

When did you fall in love with watercolor?
It was in my first year as a student at the Art-academy in Tilburg-holland. I already loved outdoor/ after-nature drawing but it was my inspiring teacher Bob Buys, who was chairman of the Dutch Watercolour
Society,who initiated us in the fascinating world of watercolour. Just sitting along a channel or on a junkyard, nothing else to bother, great fun!

Piet Lap. Dutch Landscape 1.

Do you consider watercolor a painting or graphic medium?
Watercolouring is, of course, painting; not just filling in colours in a drawing.

Do you wait for inspiration or you feel like painting every day?Inspiration is an often abused word, mostly as an excuse not to paint. Just start working, inspiration will eventually meet you in the process.

Piet Lap. South Harris Hedriges

What is the most inspiring theme or object for you?
I did a lot of still-lives over the past years, mostly using glass-panels and mirrors to create a small world full of uncertain boundaries, vague ideas of space, foreground and background. Nowadays my main objects are landscapes. You see, I like travelling. I am not sure wether this urge comes from the desire to go and paint somewhere, or, the other way round, painting is just an alibi to travel.I guess the truth lies somewhere in between. I can be fascinated by the colours of a Moroccan soukh, as well as the tragic carcasses of shipwrecks in a bay in Brittany, or the theatrical changing light over a Scottish Loch. There is a painting waiting for you in almost every landscape, if you can catch it on the right moment, with a surprising light and point of view and, above all,with the right state of mind.

Piet Lap. Benodet. Bretagne.

Do you finish your works on a spot sometimes or you prefer to paint them in studio?
I prefer working on the spot. I lose spontaneity in doing things over in my studio, though the technical circumstances are better there.

Piet Lap. Port Rhu Douarnenez Bretagne.

What is the importance of drawing when you paint with watercolors? Is it necessary to learn basic drawing first or one can become a watercolor master without it?
A difficult question. You can make great watercolours without any tracé of drawing-skills ( see: Emil Nolde), but if you don't have that skills in your luggage you will fail in a lot of subjects. For example: a ship lying in the water the way it does, is without a correct drawing seldom convincing. Another example: there are lots of watercolours ( see the internet) of streetscenes with people strolling around. Only few of them are convincing. Mostly people are reduced or degraded to a kind of 'aliens', just simple trunks with two pointed sticks under it. Horrible sight ! Seldom a credible interpretation but merely an illustration of unableness.

Piet Lap. Petra Jordanie 1.

Do you have any special theory about colors and mixes? What are your color preferencies?
If so, a satisfying answer takes too long.

Piet Lap. River Degli Schiavoni

What is the part of imagination in your work?
My work is an interpretation of reality, more than imgination.I never felt figuration a burden to shake off. On the contrary: I look upon working after observation as a source of elementary painters'pleasure: you see better and you see more.

Piet Lap. Stac Lee St. Kilda

I didn`t see many figurative objects in your painting. Is a human nature of no interest to you?
Though I painted people and portraits, you are quite right: they are underrepresented in my website.
Piet Lap. Cimetiere Des Bateaux

What is your approach to painting – do you spend some time to develop an idea or you start and finish in one breath? I mean do you paint spontaneously or work out the idea first?
I have no specific approach that I am aware of. It all depends on the subject you paint, on intuition, on your mood for an experimental approach and on the outdoor circumstances. Making a watercolour is like chess-playing: try to think about the two or three next steps you intend to make, eventually prepare a sufficient amount of some colours and in the meantime you will feel your adrenaline rising. That's a good sign. Don't  rigidly stick to your plan, ideas can change on your way, so be receptive. If you act, do it with speed and determination, all the way.

Piet Lap. Still Life 9.

What are your preference in colors (brands), brushes (size, shape, material), paper (quality, brand)?
About that gear: I use tubes( no blocks) of Winsor&Newton, Talens and Scheveningen( Dutch brands). I have 40 colours on my palette, far too much of course but half of them I seldom use( just in case...). Brushes: some expensive Kolinsky-marter brushes, some cheap flat brushes, but mostly Da Vinci Cosmotop-mix in all sizes, from 6 to 32. I tried all sorts of paper in my life but nowadays I stick to Arches-Torchon 300 ans 640grs for landscapes, Schoeller-Hammer Torchon for still-lives( you can torture this paper!)

Piet Lap. Still Life 16.

Did you have some artists who would influence you when you started painting with watercolor?
I can't recall it ,but I do remember the moment I held in my very hands,in the London Victoria&Albert-museum, the watercolours of R.P.Bonington (19th century), the Mozart under de British watercolourists(he also died very young). And there is that painting-devil and genius John Singer Sargent who will always remain a standard in the world of watercolour.

Piet Lap. Yorkshire Cliffs.

Would you select some country where in your opinion tradition of watercolor medium is the most supported and appreciated? Do you teach your approach in watercolor?
Some remarks on these questions: Studying the internet, especially the websites of American watercolourists, it becomes clear that there is quite a difference between what I would call their marketing-strategy and my approach. Lots of them have won Awards for some mysterious reason, are members of several Societies, sell glicee-prints & DVD's and, even the less-talented, give masterclasses thus spreading around some painting-tricks and create lots of epigones who try to copy the way the 'master' Works. I have to admit that, unfortunally, I have little marketing-talent. In my younger days,being a teacher at an Art-Academy, I gave a lot of 'masterclasses'. I think I have pulled my weight. You see, I am 68 now, still working on new projects. Time has become precious for me, so I try to avoid things that distract me from working and concentrating.

Piet Lap. River.

Could you accent something most important to master the watercolor?
You can't master it, watercolouring. You will always start 'tabula rasa',with a frightening empty sheet of paper.

Could you accent something most important to master the watercolor?
What keeps me going is the hope that some lucky day I will make a satisfying watercolour: nothing more, but also nothing less! And to all fellow-watercolourists I would say: Remember, our best work has
still to come, maybe tomorrow... or the day after. Wait and see..

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Watercolor of the Day

David Stickel. Light Years. 56x76 cm

David McEown. Waves On Stones. 56x76 cm

Robert Highsmith. White House. 70x90 cm

Monday, November 14, 2011

Anders Zorn

I believe we have to look back sometimes... There are lots of good things done before us. It is good to know something about those...

Anders Zorn was a Swedish painter and printmaker in etching.

Anders Zorn. Self-portrait.

Zorn was born in Mora, Dalarna. He studied at Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, Sweden from 1875-1880. He became an international success as one of the most acclaimed portrait painters of his era. His sitters included three American Presidents, one of whom was Grover Cleveland in 1899. After his success in US the artist came back to Sweden.

Anders Zorn. Misses Salomon. 88x101, 1888

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was probably the foremost swedish painter when it comes to the skills that needs to capture the light and colors. He didn`t limit himself working in many genre like landscape, portraits, figurative painting. He was equally skillful in watercolor, oil and etching. Before the 1890-s he painted more with watercolors, then he payed more attention to oil medium.

 Anders Zorn. Pier.

Zorn's Process and Materials
Many artists mention the concept of the "Zorn palette," especially in regard to portraiture. This warm palette, which is often said to include simply a yellow, black, red, and a white—but no blue—may be a very useful tool, but it is a mistake to attribute it to Anders Zorn. A few portraits and other paintings by Zorn seem to show a definite warmth and a lack of tube blues and greens—and Sandström confirms that the painter was proud of saying he mixed all of the hues on a canvas from just a handful of colors—but many Zorn paintings utilize blues. In fact, in Sweden Zorn is celebrated for his depictions of water, which required blue paint. Sandström had difficulty even comprehending the assumption that Zorn worked with the specialized palette associated with him. She reports that 17 tubes of cobalt alone are represented among the 243 tubes of paint left by Zorn in his studio in Mora. Laine, of Stockholm's Nationalmuseum, concurs that the notion of a Zorn palette is a bit of a misnomer. Still, portraits such as Miss Constance Morris show that he was adept at using grays to suggest blues. Many of Zorn's portraits—and his nudes—exhibit a compelling warmth, providing inspiration for today's painters regardless of what the Swedish artist may have actually squeezed onto his palette.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pine Tree Demo By Me

Announcing my new DVD "All Seasons for 2 hours". You can see 7 video lessons with LANDSCAPES + bonus. Here is a sample demo from the DVD.

Konstantin Sterkhov. Watercolor Demo Video. Pine Tree. 25x35 cm

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Amazing Chinese Watercolors

The work of phenomenal Chinese watercolorists who participated in the first Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolor Biennial. Some of the works are here, thanks to Watercolor Artist magazine.

Fadan Le. Dawn

Shoutian Xue. Harmony BW.

Haitao Yang. Dock 1

Tianrun Xu. Bend Down.

Liu Yi. Swan Harmony #4

New Book Series

Yesterday I had started shooting the video for a new book+DVD series that will be published next year in Russian and English. That will be 6 books with DVDs about Seascapes, Landscapes, Cityscapes, Animals, Flowers and Portraits. I have got the material for Seascapes shot now. Here is a sample.

Konstantin Sterkhov. Morning Mist. 25x35 cm

Konstantin Sterkhov. Windy Day. 25x35 cm

I am terribly sorry for the quality of the photos, there was smth wrong with my scanner.