Finished My First Semester!

Last Wednesday was my official last day of classes! I’m so relieved that I have some time off to recuperate and enjoy the holidays, but I enjoyed myself immensely and can’t wait to see what semester #2 has in store for me!

These last few months have gone by fairly quickly, but I had a lot of work to push through in that time. I’ve got almost more material from my first semester than I had putting my art school portfolio together. Drawings, paintings, prints, writing papers… I’ve been very busy! The great thing about the subject matter at school is that it all ties together. I used an idea from a computer project in my final drawing project, and used illustration skills in a computer project, for example.

It would take forever to describe each and every piece I did, so I’ll post a few of my favorites over the next few weeks. I recently updated my deviantart page with some new art while applying for a scholarship, so here are a few from there:


Self-Portrait 2012
by ~soulexposed on deviantART


Gouache Color Study by ~soulexposed on deviantART


Linocut Sugar Skull by ~soulexposed on deviantART

I haven’t had a lot of time to collect outside material for this blog, and I’m just now catching up on my Google Reader, tumblr and pinterest. Between that and some upcoming personal projects, I’ll have plenty to do over the break! Anyway, I wanted to share this Jen Mann painting video I came across on tumblr yesterday.

Jen Mann- Speed Painting from Wolf & Sparrow on Vimeo.

She’s using my favorite colors, pink & blue, so naturally I’m in love with this piece! She paints with her work flat on the wall, using a photo reference, with oils. It’s very interesting to see how small she works right off the bat, rather than putting down blocks of colors and working over top of them. She blends each section of the face beautifully. Also worth noting is that she paints in a very planned-out way, from the top left corner to the bottom right. It was very educational and inspiring watching this painting come together.

I think that’s enough for now. Stay tuned, as I hope to update several times a week while I’m on break, and maybe even stockpile some posts for when I’m back in school in January.

Cheers! 😀

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Liudmila Kondakova

Alongside the dreamlike paintings of Felix Mas, while I was in Martin Lawrence Galleries, I was greeted by bright, stunning super-detailed landscape & city by paintings Liudmila Kondakova. Normally, landscapes don’t float my boat, but her paintings are quite extraordinary.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA,Cote d'Azur, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA,Cote d’Azur, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Miel aux Fleaurs de Lavande, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Miel aux Fleaurs de Lavande, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

Photos of her work are difficult to find in decent resolution online; fortunately the Martin Lawrence gallery website has a slideshow of her work with larger images. This is important since in the smaller versions, some of the meticulous details in her works are overlooked and lost. She paints every single detail, from the peeling away of the walls to each bloom on a rose bush. It’s truly astounding to see in person.

It’s one thing to paint a street-scape with shops and windows, but completely another endeavour to paint the shop’s details inside the windows! Her observation and attention to tiny detail leaves me speechless. These paintings are absolutely captivating for that reason. I especially like the signage on each building and the bouquets of flowers pouring out of the brightly-shuttered windows.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Full Moon in Cassis, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Full Moon in Cassis, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Paris Panorama of Ten Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Paris Panorama of Ten Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

She paints a lot of inner city landscapes but also does a few “greener” paintings as well, the detail in every one immaculate. Moreover, she does this with gouache and acrylic paint. With oils, since they stay wet for so long, they’re generally preferable for blending and small details. Achieving the same effect with acrylic is very impressive. Her canvases appear very smooth as well, something difficult to achieve with acrylics since they dry so fast. For example, the surface of the tables I painted a few months ago clearly showed the brush strokes I used.

It’s easy for hyper-realistic paintings to fall flat, especially if they over-reference photographs. I mean, why render something realistically when you could just take a picture? To be successful, you must add something to the image that a photograph can’t reproduce. While a photograph captures a moment in time, a realistic painting can reflect movement and change, making the painting feel alive. (Not to say that photography isn’t an art, rather, I’m referring to the point-and-shoot/cell phone method of capturing a photo.)

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Daybreak on the Seine, hand-pulled serigraphs on gesso board, 16 x 12 inches, edition size: 325.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Daybreak on the Seine,
hand-pulled serigraphs on gesso board, 16 x 12 inches, edition size: 325.

I’m trying to fathom how she painted the spokes on that bike! Did she paint with a magnifying glass and a needle? She then had to repeat those strokes in the shadow of the bike… not to mention the tower on the horizon.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Le Vieux Chalet, hand-pulled serigraph printed on Coventry smooth white paper or Ebony black paper,  paper size: 23 x 29 inches, image size: 18 x 24 inches.  Signed in pencil and numbered. Also available in deluxe format on canvas.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Le Vieux Chalet,
hand-pulled serigraph printed on Coventry smooth white paper or Ebony black paper,
paper size: 23 x 29 inches, image size: 18 x 24 inches.

I wanted to spend hours examining every single one of her paintings. She was able to bring out the character of every scene she painted and render it in detail like I’ve never seen before. I can’t help but wonder how she was able to paint lines so thin or blend so well with quick-drying paints! She may have used a retarder medium to slow the drying times down. Whichever methods she used, they’ve worked beautifully.

I absolutely recommend visiting a gallery with some of her works or prints to view everything close-up. It’s nearly impossible to reflect on this blog how awe-inspiring these paintings are! If you can’t manage that, a flash-animated brochure of her works (with slightly larger images) can be viewed here, and an HTML slideshow with the larger images is available here.