Friday, September 30, 2011

Hello there!
I was so busy doing things today that I almost forgot to share my news of the days with you. My husband's volleyball varsity team is going to a tournament tomorrow. He just accepted a very talented girl from a junior varsity team to a varsity one and we had another girl go away from the team so she left her jersey with her last name. I was going to help my husband to put the name of the new girl instead of the old one, so we went to buy the fabric to cover it up and I was going to paint the new name on the piece of it and sew it to the jersey. My hubby wrote the name "Nunes" on the paper and went to practice with girls. I spend a few hours to go what I planned and it came out almost perfectly. When my husband came back he was really impressed by my work and praised me but then.... he noticed that I wrote "Nunes" and realized it should be "Nunez" instead. ))) He was trying to scratch it off, suggested to cover it again.... poor guy! What is hilarious about it is that he is a very educated and attentive man, but it's his second time in his coaching career that he misspells words. The first time was when he made an amazing caricature of the team in the end of previous season and he put "volleball" on it. We only noticed it when he gave about thirty copies of it to the girls and they told us that the word is wrong!
Well, at least he is talented! )))

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today we went to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery! I was looking forward to it for a lot time and was very excited. My husband and I visited it before but today we went there to sketch and paint. I cannot really explain my love to cemeteries. There is something very emotional, very mysterious about the place where so many people of different eras and lives are buried.
I loved going to the cemeteries since childhood. My parents took me to the Russian cemetery where my great grandmother and my grandfather from my mom's side are buried. We would meet there with my far relatives to fix the lawn around the graves and basically have a picnic with each other and past generations. It wouldn't really be any rituals except when my grandmother would pray a little and talk with the graves, but it was not creepy, it seemed to be perfectly normal.
Today I searched for the place to set up for a painting and I found this beautiful big family grave stone with the last name "Laffer-Spencer" on it. It was a main object on my painting and so I wondered who these people were and what they were like. These questions along with how they died visit me often when I walk between graves. I believe my walk and curiosity is reviving these people, some very old, some just babies. Thanks to us who come to cemeteries to remember our relatives, to visit celebrity graves or just to look at strangers' graves the memory and the honor of these people keep on living. That's why it's one of my artistic dreams to learn how to make gravestones. It's such an emotional kind of art that connects an artistic expression with the grief, pain, sadness, love, desperation - the strongest emotions that a person can have. There is also a story behind each memorial statue or a gravestone and I love when a stranger can tell who the person was just by looking at their grave.
I don't know when I will die but I know that no matter how I will die I want my grave to be able to speak with strangers and tell them who I was.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today I took time to get it over with this week's homework for my two online classes I take. Tomorrow - only painting and spending time with the family! I guess tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish "New Year", according to so my husband has a short practice with the team in the morning and then he is mine.
I finished reading a very nice book for my anthropology class - the First Fieldwork by Barbara Gallatin Anderson. It's a first person story about the author's yearlong journey to a little island village Taarnby, Denmark, to study the local culture. This journey reminded me of mine, when in 2005 I went to the USA for the first time as an exchange program participant. It changed my life - sounds corny but it is true. I became more independent and strong. It gave me opportunity to compare my culture with another cultures and for short three months I was a part of a new culture. I have travelled to Europe before and it gave me grandiose impressions but I never felt so closely involved in a foreign culture before. It was a very interesting experience.
"Anyways" as the main hero from "Nacho Libre" movie says, I am going to make myself and my husband a nice Nutella sandwich and go to watch "The Happening" on our DVD. I liked most of M. Night Shyamalan's movies and I am sure I will like this one. Have a good evening as well!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I spend first part of the day painting like I promised to myself. It was partially frustrating because when I compare my painting with the ones from the books it is still a long way to me to compete with them! ))) But I know I am getting there. In an hour I will go to my watercolor class and find out what everybody thinks about them but I want to show you first.

This weird thing is some kind of seed from a palm tree.

This one is painted on a mat board which proved to be pretty interesting.

The idea is to paint the details of an object from nature.

These are miniature roses that dried out and were very poetic.

The more I look for examples of the work in the books the more I improve. It didn't really help me when I was painting in acrylics but now it's very useful for some reason.
Good luck to me! )))

Monday, September 26, 2011

Very inspired today!

It's a new week and as it usually happens I am making great plans for the next several days. I have so much to do and by the end of week I always feel so exhausted to do anything extra that I give myself a break! But not this week! I promise! 
First of all, I feel that it's time to start losing that weight I gained in the end of last semester. So inspired by my husband who lost LOTS of weight during this summer by just skipping on one thing, I will stop eating sugar. I believe this is the video that changed his mind about sugar - Of course, I will give myself a couple of easy days by eating honey instead, but this time I am really serious - I want to be healthy.
Another thing I want to start is to paint again. Not just intensively painting for my watercolor class like I did before. I want to paint my orders, paint for myself, paint for my portfolio. Watercolor is so difficult for me. I never had such problems with any other media, even the airbrush. I feel a little frustrated but I am trying to get some books and learn what other artist do to make it look right.
Oh yeah, and I finally have to get my dog washed and trimmed. My poor "puppy" (who is an almost 4-year old Cocker Spaniel girl) is looking so sad these days - she only sleeps and, well, goes out for a couple of minutes to the back and front yard. I can tell her itching and scratching is annoying her as much as us and her ears bug her a lot, so we have to take care of it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nice and useful weekend it was! Yesterday I guess it was nice part of it - my husband's team and us went to a Korean BBQ restaurant. It was my first time and it was delicious. You pretty much cook your meat yourself on the grill that it situated in the center of the table. It is very unusual!
Today we did a useful part of the weekend and went to the art store to buy the silk screens for printing volleyball team's T-shirts! I cannot wait to do it! They are going to be awesome!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's evening here and I am planning to call my grandmothers now. They both live in Russia and it's 13 hours difference between us so they are probably going to wake up now. I always feel a little nervous before calling them, I didn't hear them for so long... When I was a little girl I spent a lot of time with them and never thought some day it's going to be ok for me not to see or hear them for a while. I am afraid of it a lot. They are, in the same time, are wonderfully positive and so strong-spirited I admire them! They both went through the WWII, hunger, poverty, and after the war stood on their feet and created such a great place for my parents to grow up in that it sounds like a fairytale. 
My grandma from the father side, Zinaida, was working as a cook and she still loves cooking. She is the one who taught me how to make her famous pastries with poppy seeds and be creative. The stories she told to my brother and me when we were little are amazing and she still remembers them better that me. My grandma from my mom side, Valentina, was teaching in the primary school, and teaching my mom, and teaching me and my brother how to be good and proper... well, she still teaches us and everyone else how to do things right. She has this very strong need for justice which I inherited from her. Her husband, my grandfather Petr, was a judge, so it was in the family. Valentina is still fighting with some local social program representatives to make their neighborhood nicer. 
My respect and great love goes to both of them. Well, I guess now is a good time to call! See you later!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

     I am not in a very good mood today which always brings me a lot of philosophical thoughts. I read my instructor's comment on my essay from an anthropology class that I take online that my sentences sound very awkward. I frustrated me of course. I have been living in the US for 4 years now and I still cannot write as a normal American. But what also annoyed me a little is that it sounds hypocritical for my instructor who is aware that I am a Russian immigrant to comment on my essay that way when she is trying to teach us cultural relativism, understanding of other cultures, tolerance, etc. Sometimes the way I write the sentence is a translation of how I would say it in Russian. I am learning the way I am supposed to write in English, but my Russian is just my first native language and it comes through a lot. 

     This situation also reminded me of how my speech instructor was teaching us last year. She seemed a very open-minded and creative person and encouraged us to be creative too. I was shocked and absolutely terrified when I found out that each of the speeches we present have, HAVE to have exactly the same structure in order for us to get a good grade. It was so ridiculous when we were listening to others speak and could clearly identify what a person will say next. And it was the same for informative, persuasive, narrative speeches... how is that possible!? Normal people don't talk like that, and if they did it would be a robot talk. 

     As an artist I feel confused. Why in visual art everybody does what they want, how they "feel", yet in writing and speaking it's so much more controlled? There are so many wonderful and unusual ways to express yourself using words whether they are written or spoken.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today I spent a day with my husband's volleyball team in the John Marshall High school. It's his first year coaching as a head coach and he is so dedicated. We are trying to make a plan of mental training for the girls so it wouldn't stop them from playing during the games. Attitude is so important for them and so much depends on it.
Also, of the news, I got my painting and a drawing back from a student gallery at LAVC after their displaying it last and the beginning of this semester. I also got a note from my professor C. Bishop that somebody wants me to paint their portrait. I am so excited that I start getting orders for portraits. My husband and I have a business drawing caricatures and portraits ( but so far we have only got the orders for custom caricatures or a party caricature artist who comes and draws guests at our clients' party. Portraits weren't so popular so far until I started using paint instead of pastels. Now I really feel I am comfortable with this medium and ready to paint!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yesterday you, Professor Oberman, said you teach art in school as well. It's interesting for me to find out what art appreciation ideas you have.
I mean, I have met people who say that it's great to make art as long as you are happy, like the art therapy, it doesn't mean that your art will be good, but just do it just to improve your creativity. I can see how this ideology applied in LAVC in some art classes. I met people who create the artwork that seems done without effort, talent and skills. I don't understand why they would go to school and be encouraged to do that same art professionally and not try to change it pretty much.
There are few people like me, though, who, I guess, are traditionalists. We believe that it's not good to call a bad artwork good. I don't mean by the bad artwork the one I don't like. I mean the one that doesn't have good composition, color pallet, concept, and most of all, done without effort. It's cheating to me. I am supposed to look at it and admire or try to find "something" about it when the artist themselves didn't even put this idea in their art. What am I supposed to find there then? So people like me try to grasp the art knowledge, they apply traditional art techniques, get usually good at it first, and only then start experimenting and creating something unique. I think it's more honest and valuable to create art with effort and skill and not just with emotions because everybody has emotions but only people with skills and talent can interpret and express them beautifully.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a new day, it's a new life!!!

Good morning, new week! I really hope you will be gentle and nice to me because I am planning to start building my design collection finally!
Last summer I started learning about silk screen printing which turned out very interesting. First of all, I love to do art with my hands, and this kind of printing really let's use your hands a lot! Second, I still can create amazing designs on my computer and learn this kind of art which I didn't get interest in until now. Third, it's a great feeling to wear the clothes with the designs you created. I have already made one shirt for myself with a super exclusive flamingo design.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

So my friend approved my sketch and now I can start painting! I only took one painting class so far, it was intro to painting with acrylic paints last semester. I enjoyed it immensely and improved so much that I feel pretty confident painting in acrylics now. The Art department in LAVC where I take classes is amazing. I respect out art instructors and learn from them so much. This semester, unfortunately, I only take a Watercolor painting class but I hope it is enough to keep me "alive" until spring when I am planning to take mostly art classes.
I got into art very late although I was always in love with it. When I was a child I wanted to become a poet. Then I took seven years of musical education. Then I was planning to become an actress and a theatrical critic. And while I had these dreams I was studying computer science in economics and a professional translation in a Russian university - the South Ural State University. Then the unexpected event happened - I went to the US for a summer student program and fell in love with an American guy. In a year and a half we made me a fiance visa and moved to Orlando, FL. Unfortunately, I didn't finish my Russian education, so I didn't know what to do on a new land. And I started drawing. I was drawing while spending time in the park where my husband worked as a caricature artist. His boss noticed my fast improvement and invited me to work as an artist as well. I agreed. That's how it all started.
Now I feel that I made a right choice by changing my major and doing what I really love. I have unlimited  possibilities while I am drawing, I can feel it! I know I have a lot of difficulties ahead of me but I am sure that I can overcome them just because what I do is right and good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I did this sketch for the portrait yesterday. I apologize for the quality. I'm pretty happy with the likeness, just need to get it approved by my friend as well as the composition of the picture.
I love drawing and painting people. I started drawing about three and a half years ago as a caricature and portrait artist in CityWalk Orlando, FL and never stopped drawing since. A man is my favorite subject because through people I can express emotions, mood and concept in the best way. Person in the picture attracts attention right away, it's proven in psychological studies. That's why most of my art contains people in it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I created this blog to share with you my artwork, my current thoughts about art, emotions and feelings about what is going on in the art world. I hope it will be interesting for you to see how I develop my talents and skills with every post.
Currently I am working on a very special project. I will be painting a family portrait for my friend Danielle. It's going to be a childhood picture with her, her sister and their beloved dog Faith who has just passed away. The emotions about this picture are very strong both from my "client" and myself. I will be posting the progress of work when I get my first sketches done.