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Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Portrait Demo

4 stages of the portrait demo without the final result that is to come soon.
My elder daughter portrait, 43x55 cm

1. General big shapes in wet. Some masking fluid is applied in advance.

2. Defining some shapes on dry.

3. Uniting the shades, adding some texture wet on dry.

4. Defining the shapes and shades, adding more color and accents wet on dry and dry brush.

5. Must be the final stage that is coming, hopefully soon.

There is a  tutorial DVD available. 100 minutes of portrait painting in watercolor with comments in English and highlights making easier to understand the process. 35 euro including shipping within Europe.

Contact me at to purchase.

Friday, April 27, 2012

India Report

I am back from India. This post is to keep in mind my experience in the country which I feel like a Homeland of my Spirit.

My journey was rather busy with commitments most of them not artistic. I used any possibility to paint nevertheless.

First I completed the aim of my visit - I have delivered my younger daughter to the International Sahaja Public School near Dharamshala. It`s going to be her 3rd year there with 2 breaks in between.

I have talked to Himalayas, told them all my worries, surrendered all problems and commitments to hear the eternal voice of the mountains.

I have vizited the place of Mahasamadhi of my Guru, my Spiritual Mother, Adi Shakti Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi and soaked in Devine vibrations. The silence and bliss of that experience will be the pure spring for me for the nearest months.

I have prayed to Shri Ganesha so that He could bless me with wisdom and purity in the Land of Kundalini that is India.

I have enjoyed the beauty and fragrance of flowers well as the pictures of everyday life of simple Indians.

I had a chance to be useful in NGO Ashram where I gave a painting lesson for orphans.

And the last week I spent for clearing my subtle system, balancing my emotions and for meditation in Sahaja Yoga Health center in Noida near Delhi.

I am back and I have tons of ideas and materials to be busy for the next few months. Only two weeks but it seems like another life started.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2 Weeks in India

Don`t worry, my friends, if you don`t see new posts these days. I am in India at the moment, enjoying fully. I hope I will be able to share new creative ideas after my trip.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Joseph Z. Interview. Today.

No need to say WHO is Joseph Zbukvic and how much he has done to bring the watercolor media to the highlights. Here is the interview with the Australian master, which I got today.

Could you convince an oil painting lover in advantages of watercolor painting?
Personally, I like both mediums and I know some people have a bias either way. I could tell an oil lover all the magic qualities of watercolor but in the end it`s the matter of taste. That is hard to change. Historically, oils hold a high ground and always will, due to their ability to be displayed in museums and public places without a worry of fading etc... Also size and strength... Watercolor will always be a Concerto versus the symphony of oil... It`s how it is. The two are as valid but should not compete.

Joseph Zbukvich. Quiet Corner. 15x22". 2012

Which qualities of watercolor media made you so dedicated to it? 
I discovered watercolors some 40 years ago as part of my university course. I gained a diploma of industrial design in 1974. The moment I used it I was hooked by it`s own “life” ... It can not be tamed. Instead of controlling it, you ride it like a wild horse. It`s always exiting and alive. It never ceased to surprise me even after all this time... It it`s elusiveness and spirit I adore.

Joseph Zbukvic. WAITING FOR CUSTOMERS. 22x30".2012

Could you do without watercolor?
Well, that is obvious after 35 years as a professional artist, I can do nothing else... I have a favourite saying...” I just paint, all else comes after”... It has cost me my marriage and many relationships... She is my only true love... watercolor... I once went on a holyday without my paints. I lasted 3 days and then went to an art store and spent the rest of the time painting... I like to say that ART CHOOSES YOU...ONE CANT CHOOSE TO BECOME AN ARTIST...

Joseph Zbukvic

Do you consider watercolor graphic or painting media?
Strange question. Any medium can be graphic... If you look at some illustrations, particularly old ones - they are work of art... It`s a fine line…

Joseph Zbukvic

If the result of work is not perfect would you consider the painting is wasted?
No such thing as wasting time... (xpt for writing this< ha ha) Every painting is an experience, whether it works or not. Anyway I never paint for purpose of success or sailable work... I just paint... Anyhow “watercolors` elusive quality is made to have “failures”. If you succed every time – you are not painting properly...

Joseph Zbukvic

Do you expect a certain result when painting or it is more important to be flexible and enjoy the process?
I always start with an inner eye vision but also always let watercolor tell me what to do... It has to be a balance between the two – otherwise it`s too controlled and stiff or just a happy accident of running paint...

Joseph Zbukvic

Who influenced you the most in watercolor?
Sargent is the only man I look at with awe... He used 5 colors – did it all on location – no camera-no nothing – just for fun... Amazing stuff.... Also my four painting buddies in our group “Winterlude” ALVARO CASTAGNET, HERMAN PEKEL, PATRICK CARROLL and NICK CANOSA. We have been mates for 15 years and have travelled the world painting together...

Joseph Zbukvic

If you had a choice of only 5 colors which ones you would select?
Well I just said Sargent only used 5! I think they were ULTRAMARINE, BURNT SIENNA, CAD RED, YELLOW OCHRE and one more... can`t remember... I could paint using one color and have done paintings using instant coffee just for fun... But - CAD YELLOW, BURNT UMBER, CAD RED, COBALT TURQOUISE AND ULTRAMARINE WOULD BE A MUST..
Joseph Zbukvic

What is your attitude to black paint?
Black is not a colour, just a total lack of colour.

What colors do your silverish grey tones consist of?
Gray is a combination of all! colours!!!! Every one of them!

Joseph Zbukvic

What is your brushes variety for a single painting? 
I use 'ESCODA' BRUSHES... made in Spain by a lovely family in a small factory, ALL HAND MADE!... My brand squirrel mops for big washes and nylon “Perlas” for details. Only one thing is important with brushes - they MUST HAVE PERFECT POINTS!!!! So many students try to save money and paint with old blunt ones - useless!!! The brush is a tool that rates the marks to produce your work... If they are no good?!?!?! No point of drawing and mixing paint and using good paper and then trying to paint with crap!
Joseph Zbukvich

What is your paper choice?

Can you give an advice on details selection? 
 Detail is just “jewels”. Big shapes create the atmosphere and space, depth, etc... Details merely enhance that and finish the work ... Most people confuse details with creating better work - WRONG! Big shapes and major washes are the boss!


Do you always finish the painting in one session?
All my paintings are one in one go – mainly on lacation!... I may do some “polishing up” next day in the studio (more details).

Can you determine the percentage of control and spontaneity in your work? 
Control versus spontanious is a repeat of your NO. 6 question? I think you meen inspiration? Without that there is just pictures, not works of art. Sadly we see way too many of those paintings only painted for money…

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ong Kim Seng. Interview

Ong Kim Seng BBM. A.W.S. DF. N.W.S. was born in Singapore and has been a full-time artist since 1985. He has won six awards from the AMERICAN WATERCOLOR SOCIETY; the Paul B. Remmy Memorial Award in 1983, the Lucy B. Moore Award in 1988, the Clara Stroud Memorial Award in 1989 and the Barse Miller Memorial Award in 1992, Winsor & Newton Award in 2000 and the Ida Wells Memorial Award in 2001. He has been an active member of theAMERICAN WATERCOLOR SOCIETY since 1990 and was the first Asian outside the U.S.A. to be awarded membership. He was President of the SINGAPORE WATERCOLOR SOCIETY from 1991 to 2001 when he became Honorary President, in which that capacity, he interacts with other watercolor organizations in the other parts of the world. In 1993 his work, 'Bhaktaphur' was the first Singapore watercolour painting to be auctioned by Sotheby's in Hong Kong. In March 1994, his work, 'Bali' was auctioned by Christie's in Singapore. Ong Kim Seng was the Organizing Chairman of ASIAN WATERCOLORS 97 SINGAPORE, the first international watercolor exhibition to be held in Singapore. He was Founding Editor-South East Asia forInternational Artist and an article on his works appeared in the first issue of the magazine.

Ong Kim Seng. Everest the North Face.1988

You represent watercolor of Singapore in the world. Are there any specific features in Singapore watercolor? Does it belong to a certain bigger region watercolor society?
I represented SIngapore in many occasions in International art exhibitions .  Whether other art critics and artists would agree with me about the  Singapore form of watercolor is the tropical light source  in particular in its  presentation . It is actually a mix of traditional British and Californian watercolors . In my case I prefer to apply fresh primary  colors  creating a luminous  finish on my painting . 

Ong Kim Seng. As The Night Falls

Could you tell how you become a watercolor artist?
Since young I dreamt to be good at drawing and painting although to be  a full -time painter never comes into my mind . This is because my mum  was strongly against my childhood aspirations .As a result I went through the normal education   and did a number of jobs before I turn full time artist in 1985.

Ong Kim Seng. Beding Rawaling Himalaya.1989. 42x28

Who or what the most influenced you as an artist?
The British artist Sir  William Russell Flint was my greatest influence as well John Singer Sargent . It is the unpredictability of this medium that attracted me  and to keep me  painting till today .
When did you become a full-time artist?
I became a full time artist in 1983 after I left my last job as a audio visual specialist with multi -lateral organisation.

Ong Kim Seng. Mighty Annapurna.

What is your attitude to critique of art? What is proper: to enjoy the good sides or to find defects of the painting?
The words of critique of art is subjective and it cannot be taken seriously , for example they called " watercolors as a  stepchild of art  or as a preparation for a large scale oil painting " !  It is human nature to look for faults then to appreciate  just on the good sides when it comes to art. Or else people may think that you are not educated enough to admire a painting !

Ong Kim Seng.  Veliko Bulgaria

You travel a lot. Do you always paint on a spot? How do you organize the process?
Most of the time I paint on the spot although I do paint at home or in my studio.  I usually pick a spot  i like and select the most interesting part of scene to start painting .

Ong Kim Seng. Morning Light Tongli. 22x31''

Can you find difference in painting made in studio with a reference photo and the same subject painted on a spot?
There is a great difference between painting in the studio and on the spot of course . When you are painting "plein air" whatever you see is clear and sharp whereas with a photograph even with very high density there are bound to be areas which are not clear  and details blurred or even black!  I agree that it is comfortable and safe  to paint  in a studio  but there are limitations to the feelings of the environment and to attain first hand reference of the place you are painting .  In the studio you are confined to the four walls!

Ong Kim Seng. Xitang Bridge. 53x38cm

Do you have certain colors in your palette those you can`t do without?
Yes French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna   the two most important colors  I cant do without !
Do you use masking or white opaque color in your painting?
No .

Ong Kim Seng. Morning.

Can you formulate most important rules of watercolor for yourselves?
Achieve  what watercolors was when they were  painted by British Masters  that is to stay transparent and clean !

Ong Kim Seng. Bali

What brushes do you use?
Winsor and Newton size 12 and and the most useful  size 10.
Do you follow what is happening in watercolor media?
I read magazines from many countries in particular the United States and China .

Ong Kim Seng. Western Himalaya. 2005. 22x30''

What are the tendencies in watercolor media in the world in your opinion?
Watercolor had been regarded by even critiques that they are a "step-child" of art !  Many collectors are skeptical  about the medium itself . They always think they fade ,and the paper is less durable than canvas .  However watercolor was the oldest medium since the dawn of civilization   . Many of the paintings in the water medium were kept in museum last till today in its original form. 

Ong Kim Seng

Some “do” and “don`t” for the young watercolor artists?
Watercolor is to keep painting and never give up . It is the most challenging of all mediums . Do not paint it the way you paint oils !  This is a different approach .