Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Feature: Liana Yarckin

"Summer Has Arrived" watercolor by Liana Yarckin
Hi Everyone,

Today's feature is the delightful Liana Yarckin.  She was trained in Architecture and Interior Design.  Her work is fresh, cheerful and colorful.  You can tell her spirit signs through when she paints.

To see more of her work check out her blog.

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I got my start when my Aunt gave me some watercolors when I was about 4 years old.  It was frustrating because I used too much water on non-watercolor paper.  Forty years later, I still experience some frustration, but, overall more joy and fulfillment with watercolor.   For me, painting can take me away from whatever stresses I may have or I can use it to challenge me, push me in something that is just for me.
"Apples Peaches and Plums" watercolor by Liana Yarckin
 Where were you born?  Los Angeles, California

If you could live anywhere where would you live? 

Any beach with sunny weather and a city/town close by.  When I am at the beach, I can look at the ocean from sun up ‘til sun down.  I love the changing tide, the sound of waves or no waves.  A town nearby so I can reconnect with the world.
"Paris Cafe" watercolor by Liana Yarckin
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why? 

Two years ago my answer would have been flowers.  I loved painting the folds and curves and of course the gorgeous colors in flowers.  Currently, I am working on a café series, which encompasses street cafes, street scenes to groups of people and even a lonely valet stand.  I am trying to address capturing the feeling of these groups of people.  People breaking bread, enjoying each other’s company, sitting alone, the mass of people coming and going, maybe together, alone, yet a group.  From a technical point of view, I am trying to simplify the details by mingling colors of wet into wet just to give the essence of what is there.  Simplify the details, give a hint and hopefully end with a painting that is pleasing to the eye and connects with others.

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

I like to paint in several washes.  Layering the color up to build the painting.  I like the results of layering transparent color.  Whether wet into wet or wet onto dry, it can be like magic to see the color combination.
"City Cafe" watercolor by Liana Yarckin

How did you arrive at your current style? 

I am attracted to watercolors that are “loose” and I always want to paint that way.  I have taken workshops and read books by artists that paint this way.  However, I think I am tight by nature and you can’t truly change your natural style.
"Locally Grown" watercolor by Liana Yarckin
 Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration? 

My favorite watercolor artists are Dan Burt for his bright color and seems like spontaneity, Skip Lawrence for his beautiful wet color washes and whites and Andy Evansen for his color and looseness.  I was lucky enough to take a workshop with Andy.  He is very sweet and so happy to teach and help his students reach their goals.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist? 
A good frame of mind and my husband who is so encouraging and supportive of me.  We are all in a different place in our art journey and it is important to remember that each of our journeys is our own and not meant to be compared.  My husband makes it so easy for me to paint.  That is a great gift he gives to me.  He is brutally honest when I ask his opinion, but, more importantly, he allows me to paint uninterrupted at any time of the day.  He will keep our kids occupied and fed (on the weekends) so that I can have this time.  He is the one that tells me, “it is important for you to have this time”.
"Grapes in the Sunlight" watercolor by Liana Yarckin
 Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites? 
Permanent Rose, Windsor Blue, Scarlet Lake and Cad. Orange is my go-to colors.  I feel very comfortable using Permanent Rose and Windsor Blue.  I know exactly how much to use to get what I want.  I love the punch Scarlet Lake and Cad. Orange can add.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
  1. To get to the next level of my painting style!  To get really, really good.
  2. To be recognized in a juried show, which means I will have to enter more than the one I have entered, which means I need to turn my focus on competitions instead of just painting happily along, which stresses me.
  3. To have a solo show each year. 
  4. To be the patient loving mom and wife I want to be, which means learning to cope and mature.
  5. To take my mom on a trip and enjoy it thoroughly.  Maybe an art workshop in a tropical location or in Europe?!
"Sunflower Fields" watercolor by Liana Yarckin
 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career? 

Paint, paint, paint and don’t get discouraged.  Take classes, join a local art association and get involved in a blog.  Those things have helped me to go further on my art journey in different ways.  It is great to share with others what you are going though and also to watch and learn what other artists are going through on their art journey.  I feel like I know my blogger friends as if they live right here with me.  The feedback and fellowship from the blogger world has been wonderful.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Keep it simple, don’t overthink it.

"The Party" watercolor by Liana Yarckin

Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?  Sunny beach

Book or movie?  movie

Favorite author?  I mostly read art books and art magazines.  I have 3 boys so I also fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow these days.

Favorite movie?  Blades of Glory, I could never be that silly.

Romance or comedy?  comedy

Favorite ice cream flavor?  Moose tracks

Night owl or morning person?  Neither, I am midday.  I feel most alive, awake and motivated midday.

Cake or Cupcakes?  Cake, there is more area of moistness. 

Thank you Liana:))

See you on Monday,


Monday, May 21, 2012

Bridlewood Arabesque

"Bridlewood Arabesque" 6" x 8" original watercolor on 260lb Arches by Carrie Waller
Hi Everyone,

I finished my 2 part commission and have framed them both.  Now I'm  going to get them delivered before the packers pack them away and whisk them off to Arkansas. 
"Bacchus The Wine God" 6" x 8" original watercolor on 260lb Arches by Carrie Waller
 These are my clients favorite items.  Her favorite wine, which they no longer make, glasses and decanter.  It was great fun to paint the red wine.  I'm always fascinated that there is not a lot of red used to capture a fabulous red.  Such an illusion:), that's one of the things I love about watercolor, so many fabulous layers.

Here are her pieces framed.  My Mom did the framing and they turned out terrific.  We used  a silk mat to really bring out the beautiful colors in the wine.  The frame in person is not so shiny, it's a very nice champagne color that lends itself to gold and silver decor.  I love this frame because it can look traditional and contemporary.  I use this frame a lot.

Have a fabulous week.  During my move I'll most likely only be posting on Monday and Friday's.  Wish us luck:))



Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Feature: Arena Shawn

"Hide and Seek" watercolor by Arena Shawn

Hi Everyone, this week's feature is fellow blogging buddy Arena Shawn.  Her work is magnificent.   She has a fabulous play between abstraction and realism.  Her wet on wet backgrounds add a dreamy romance to her pieces.  They blend so seamlessly with the bright focused areas a beautiful dance.

To see more of her work visit her blog

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I was a graduate student studying physics in Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and the policy of the university is that graduate student working as teaching assistants (which I am) can take any classes the university has to offer except business classes. So, I went ahead and took some computer art classes – painting in photoshop, vector images for advertisement, etc. I found out (to my surprise! :-P) that if you cannot paint or draw using physical media, going digital is not going to make you a better artist! Frustrated and deciding to get my foundations right, I started to take studio art classes, and one of the teacher referred me to a nice local watercolor artist, Rena Brower, who teaches in the community art center. Oh boy was that eye-opening! She paints these huge, semi-abstract florals and landscapes wet-in-wet, and after three classes I was hooked! She also introduced me to books of her mentor, the late Zoltan Szabo, who paints these beautiful moody landscapes also wet-in-wet, and is a master of the watercolor medium. That was the beginning of my love affair with watercolor…

After graduation I got a job in California, as an after-sales engineer in a scientific instrument company. The work involves a lot of travel and made it difficult to paint, but I still managed to squeeze at least 2-3 hours a day to practice. I had a suitcase which I always had a few quarter-sheets watercolor paper, a couple of gator-boards and my palette and brushes packed in, and I took it around the country painting in hotels and on location. I started to enter juried shows in 2010, and was lucky to get in a few national shows, even winning some awards. In the mean time, my works exhibited with local art groups started to get sold in Art Walks. With the encouragement of my boyfriend, I took the leap after some serious thought, to leave my job and try to paint full time. I’ve started my Daily Paintworks page at the beginning of this year, and found a very supportive online community of fellow artists, from whom I’ve got lots of encouragements and great tips of both art and marketing. I’ve also started entering local art fairs and outdoor arts-and-crafts markets this year. Hopefully that would spread the name across locally and generate more sales. With more time dedicated to painting, I’ve also been able to produce more work to submit to juried shows. This year I have been accepted to the Richeson Small Works Show, the Watercolor Art Society – Houston National Show, and the Illinois Watercolor Society National Show. Hopefully, there would be more to come… (Greedy…)

Recently I’ve started to go back to the foundations, and joined a full-time classical drawing and painting atelier program. The full-time program would ideally last 3-4 years, and each student would start from copy master drawings, then progress to drawing plaster casts of classical sculptures and live models, painting casts in limited palette, and finally to full-palette painting of still life and figures. The teacher I am training under, Andrew Ameral, studied and later taught in the Florence Academy of Art for years, which inherited the 19th century French Academy lineage. So far, I am absolutely in love with the training, and I'm counting my blessings everyday for being given this opportunity...

Where were you born?

Shanghai, China.
"Island Beauty White" watercolor by Arena Shawn
If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I would be torn between cities rich with classical art and architecture wonders, such as Rome or Florence, and remote and barren places devoid of human trace, but haunted by nature beauties, such as Iceland or Alaska. Maybe half and half in time?... Yes, I admit I’m greedy…

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
I love flowers (what, you already know that? How? :-P) but I really want to be a landscape painter too. I am so captivated by remote, barren places whose beauty was rarely seen by human eye. My last trip to the central highlands of Iceland just made me realize again that the ability to transfer the experiences of being in these places and moods of these places on paper would be a true blessing. I am working toward it – being a landscape painter requires a lot more editorial, designing and abstraction skills and so far I have been a related literal painter. Lots to learn there…
"Dancing Tulip" watercolor by Arena Shawn

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

I paint mainly wet-in-wet, starting with a faint under painting with light and more bright colors than the finished painting would normally look, indicating both value and color temperature relationship in this underpainting. Then I would wet the painting section by section, and go with more saturated colors, and heavier pigment density, trying to finish each section in one go, before the paper totally dries. For the center of focus in my painting, which is normally painted more sharply than the surrounding elements, I would often wet it multiple times and glaze wet-in-wet to achieve the in-focus look, but still try to maintain a soft color transition within each shape.

How did you arrive at your current style?

My first teacher in watercolor, Rena Brower, started my love with wet-in-wet techniques. I read a ton of books by the later master Zoltan Szabo and did lots of exercises in them to practice. After I moved to California, I studied with another master painter, Karen Frey, and she taught me my current approach of faint underpainting + controlled wet-in-wet. I have been fortunate to be able to take lots of workshops with many great watercolor artists, from each of them, I have always learned a great deal, and added to my arsenal of techniques, which I’m sure have influences my current style as well. For example, lately after taking a class with the wonderful artist Jeannie Vodden, I have started to experiment with multi-colored underpaintings, and much more glazing in the underpainting stage. Every teacher leaves their marks…
"Edge of Summer" watercolor by Arena Shawn
 Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

If only one can be picked, I will definitely say Dean Mitchell. His watercolors just blow me away – each one with a solid drawing as foundation, and all sorts of different subjects – from still life to portraits to street scenes to rural landscapes, and techniques carefully chosen for the best rendering effects of that subject. I’ve looked at his miniatures (4x5 or smaller) in person and been absolutely amazed that there is no sloppiness in even such small work, and the underlying abstract design and value patterns makes his painting stand out even when you are viewing it across the room.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?

I love hiking in the wilderness. I used to hike five miles everyday in the open spaces and regional parks all across the San Francisco Bay Area, and marvel at the beauty untamed nature has to offer. I am also really taken by good food, and love to seek out local restaurants with a personal touch! Last but not least, I am a gallery and museum junkie. When I was working as an Engineer and travelling across the country, for each city I go to, I would plan my trip after a day’s work, not matter how tired I am, to see their art galleries and museums. Seeing works of other artists and past masters online is great, but sometimes, seeing a beautiful work in person just blows your mind away!
"Dancing Tulip" watercolor by Arena Shawn

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Cobalt Blue and Quinacridone Burnt Orange. I will go through a nervous breakdown if I found that either of these two colors are down to the last tube and the new supply has not arrived in mail…

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

  1. Being juried into the American Watercolor Society International Show and win an award;
  2. Being juried into the Shanghai Zhu Jia Jiao Watercolor Biannual International Show;
  3. Get Signature Status in National Watercolor Society;
  4. Get a gallery representation in Scottsdale;
  5. Being able to support myself painting and selling my paintings!

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Ask yourself about the goals you are trying to achieve, and try to be as clear and honest about them as possible. What would success mean to you? It may be different from everyone else’s definition. If you wish to make a living as a full-time artist, then a lot of time spent marketing yourself may be necessary and yes, it would take away from your studio time. Is that a sacrifice you are willing to make? If you want to be the best painter you can, then you may have to spend a lot of solitude time in the studio, and not get recognition any time soon. You may have to go back to relearn drawing skills, or the basics of painting without being able to produce finished work for a while. Is that a sacrifice you are willing to make? Life is all about making choices for yourself, and stick to it. I am still suffering to make mine, but I believe if one give a clear and honest evaluation about what to give for the gain he or she desires, a lot of unnecessary agony can be avoided later.
"High Summer" watercolor by Arena Shawn
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Don’t be a workshop junkie (which I am). Being an artist is largely about being able to stay in your studio alone and paint lots and lots of paintings in solitude! (by Keiko Tanabe)

Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla, my boyfriend and I both like it, while Chocolate is only my love ;-)

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?

If sunny beach is packed with people, then rustic mountain retreat, as long as I can occasional go down and get online… :-P

Book or movie?

Book – although I guess e-books soon could include a few movie clips in them…

Favorite author?

He is non-fictional and I am a nerd, John McPhee. He is a great nature writer. I love his large volume, “Annals of the Former World”.

Favorite movie?

Currently is “In the Mood of Love” – self-restrained love stories are my favorite. I’m twisted, I know…

Romance or comedy?

… (Blush) Romance… I am such a girl…

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Vanilla, plain and simple.

Night owl or morning person?

Night owl by personality, although after joining the atelier program I was forced to get up at six every morning a paint a little before attending class, because after standing and drawing for 8 hours a day I rarely had any energy to paint at night on weekdays any more… Carrie, how do you do it? I admire you and Crystal…

Cake or Cupcakes?

Cake, and to be specific – large Cheesecakes! ;-)

 See you Monday!  The movers called yesterday and asked if they could come early, as in today, that would be a Negative.  We compromised and may have packers showing up on Monday, earlier than scheduled.  Wish us luck that we can get it all together:)


Monday, May 14, 2012

Work In Progress and What A Happy Day

Work in progress watercolor on paper 6 x 8
Hi Everyone,

I'm sharing my current work in progress today.  This piece accompanies the painting from last week.  It's a commission and this is my clients favorite wine.

 I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day yesterday.  It was just about the best one I've ever had because my hubby came home from Afghanistan after a long deployment.  The boys and I were overjoyed, we're so happy to have the family back together.  Now it's time to pack up and move.  Wish us luck going to be a crazy month of May:)

The sign the boys and I made
Our first Brian sighting, fresh off the plane
Happy to have Daddy back
Back together again
Til next time,


Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Feature: Hilda Muxo Klinger

"Charming Tuscan Cafe" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger
Hi Everyone,

This week I'm interviewing a long time blogging buddy, Hilda Muxo Klinger.  Hilda is a wonderful pastel artist with a delightful blog. 

To see more of her work click here.

How did you get your start? What's your artist journey so far?

I've painted on and off for many years but when I joined The Parish Social Ministry Art
Club in 2006 I realized how much I loved to paint. From there, I displayed my paintings in
Rockville Centre Library in Rockville Center, NY. I have had a solo exhibition in RVC Library which was wonderful.

Where were you born?
I was born in the Bronx, NY, then lived in Jamaica, NY until I got married in 1968.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I would live right here in East Rockaway, NY. I love to travel throughout the USA but love coming home where I'm just steps away from the beach was a perfect place to to raise my 2 girls. Now, I wouldn't want to leave my grandchildren to live somewhere else.
"Tuscan Hidden Garden" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger

What's your favorite thing to paint and why?

I love to paint get the likeness of that person is always so challenging to me. But I enjoy painting still life.. and painting from photographs that I took on my vacations.

Could you talk about your painting techniques?

I work mostly with pastels on Canson paper ...when I paint portraits I add lots of layers of pastels on the face then start blending with pastel pencils or hard pastels.

How did you arrive at your current style?

I studied under Dan Slapo, a master pastelist who has his studio in Garden City, NY and he taught me so much on portraiture. He basically taught me to paint what I see. I never knew what he meant until now.
"Peconic River Herb Garden" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger

Do you have a favorite artist? Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I love Sargent, Vermeer and Rembrandt. But mostly, my blogger friends are my inspiration....Visiting all of them is like going to a museum.. I enjoy them so much!! Everyone has their own style and its so much fun to see what everyone is up to.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being success as an artist?

My family and friends..I take many reference pictures of them in hopes of getting that "perfect" shot  for my next painting.
I love my pastel journal magazines which always teach me something new, and I love to have my work critiqued!.
"Days of Work Over" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

I mostly use Rembrandt pastels for portraits. For those wonderful highlights...I would use Unisom pastels which are so rich in color!
"Barn Wood Beauty" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? (Dream big here)

I have displayed my paintings in Libraries but it would be nice to display in a nice Gallery.
I go to a workshop once a week but teaching would be nice..
Having an article in the Pastel Journal (that's really dreaming!)
Go to a workshop in Yosemite...and learn to paint landscapes.
Just paint, paint, paint....!
"My Sister" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

I never sketch but I think its a good practice for anyone starting their art career and basically
practice and never give up...the more you paint the better you get..
"Beautiful Sunflower" original pastel by Hilda Muxo Klinger

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

Just to paint as much as you can...and enjoy every minute of it!

chocolate or vanilla?
Definitely Chocolate
Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?
Rustic mountain retreat
Book or Movie?
Favorite author ?
Sydney Sheldon
Favorite movie?
Romance or comedy?
Romance, of course...
favorite ice cream flavor?
Night owl or morning person?
Morning person
Cake or Cupcakes?
Chocolate Cake!

Thank you Hilda,  See you Monday:)  Have a great weekend!!