Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!!! Wishing everyone a great Holiday Season and all the best in the upcoming 2016!

"Holiday Season" (watercolor on paper; 5.5"x5.5")

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quartz rose

Have you heard that one of the colors of the year 2016 by Pantone is Quartz rose? Beautiful color, so tender and soft! Just like delicate garden rose flowers. Here is my new miniature watercolor painting of the soft pink roses:
"Quartz rose" watercolor on paper; 5"x5"

I will be experimenting more with the colors of the year 2016 and I will write more about it later.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Watecolor roses

I love garden roses! They bring joy, happiness, inspiration. Here is a new watercolor painting of garden roses:

"Rose buds" (watercolor on paper; 5"x5")

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bright bouquet

I really like painting flowers with watercolor loosely. Here is another painting of a bouquet I finished several days ago:

"In pink mood" (watercolor on paper; 5"x5"/12.5cm x 12.5cm)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Painting watercolor flowers

Recently I have been focused on painting flowers, mainly with acrylics and watercolors.
Here is one of my miniature watercolor paintings I finished about a week ago.

"Three plus two" (watercolor on paper; 5.5"x5.5")

I decided to make December a month of watercolor flowers (roses, tulips, peonies, etc.) to bring some beauty to the grey pre-snow period. Besides, flowers match the festive Holiday mood!

Monday, November 16, 2015

2016 Art Calendar and Art as a gift

Dear Friends,

The Holiday Season is approaching quickly! I already feel there is a sweet smell in the air! It's time to think about gifts for all of your friends and loved ones.

There are so many different gift guides published every year; but there is nothing better than a unique art gift like a painting that unveils emotions, touches soul, and brings joy! If there is a special someone in your life and you want to get them something one of a kind then please consider purchasing my art or if you would like to receive my paintings this holiday year then let all your friends and family know! Either way it's one less gift to cross off your holiday shopping list!

For a selection of unique art, please visit my website where you can choose and buy a great art gift at various prices!

I have also created a colorful Calendar for 2016 with my most recent paintings which can be a great inexpensive (only $40) gift as well! (Please note this is a standard US calendar, Sunday through Saturday).

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Happy Holidays!

6 weeks until 2016!

With 2016 just around the corner, I have created a long to-finish-by-the-new-year list which beside lots of household stuff, also includes my art business: an update and upgrade of my website, studio inventory and organization, etc.

This leaves me almost no time to paint but I feel like if I don't check all these off my list now it will grow as a snowball and it will painfully hit me later. Besides, now it's a great time as everyone is trying to complete all the resolutions they made for this year.

One more item from my to-do list is to try to show how my paintings would look like in a room environment. Buut this will be my ongoing task. Below you can see an example, my diptych "Along the Charles" in a modern set room; the painting brings feel of nature to the environment and light fresh breeze.

Here is the close-up of the painting:

"Along the Charles" (acrylic on canvas; 20"x16" each panel)

Another reason why I would like to finish a lot of organizational tasks now is that I might participate in a new Challenge "30 paintings in 30 days" in January 2016. But more updates about that later.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

"Floral Liaisons" painting

Finally! I completed my big floral painting! It took me a while to finish it due to a long absence from my studio during summer months and because of my participation in the "30 paintings in 30 days" Challenge in September when I put all of my focus on small works. My goal was to finish "Floral Liaisons" by end of October so I could exhibit it at the upcoming show in Boston (at Prudential Center, Huntington Arcade - Winter Garden, November 5-21, 2015, free and open to public) and I'm so happy I did it!

I painted each flower with every fine detail, most attention and I enjoyed the process very much. The goal was to keep the background simple and and have all the attention on the flowers.

In order to showcase the various stages of blooming; in the painting I had some flowers that were very fresh while others had already begun fading. Despite the fading flowers, the bouquet is still gorgeous and attractive. In addition, this painting is very personal to me because it represents my present state of mind. As many of you know, I became a mother a year ago and it altered many aspects of my life. They say after having a baby a woman flourishes, that's what I feel and that's what I wanted to show in my painting. I hope that you like it!

Monday, October 12, 2015

The "30 in 30" Challenge - lessons learned

The September "30 paintings in 30 days" Challenge is now complete. Due to my passion for details, I spent approximately two days on one work (technically, 4-5 hours) and I was able to complete 16 drawings and paintings. And I'm happy I reached my mini-goal. It was a great challenge for me and I learned so much from the entire experience! Here is what I learned:

1) Get materials (paints, pencils, brushes, canvases and/or paper, erasers) in advance in order to avoid multiple visits to an art supply store; which will then free up more time for painting.

2) Plan a theme and subjects to paint well in advance. I know that sometimes for me like many other artists it can take a while to decide on what to paint. Looking through reference materials for an hour to find the one that fits the mood of the day will be a waste of time during the Challenge. I chose floral theme and wanted to paint all the flowers that my husband gave to me (however, that would be at least 100 paintings). 

3) Plan in advance but save some space for spontaniety. I had to start my Challenge away from my studio with no paints, just paper and pencil. Drawing a rose is one thing, but drawing a bouquet would never transfer all the vibrancy of the flowers with just pencil. So I had to change the entire theme and I found a great source of inspiration in silver serving set which was perfect subject to draw.

4) Be consistent. After the seventh drawing I was tempted to change to acrylic and watercolor painting and for a brief moment I did end up changing subjects but in the end I came back to drawing in order to complete the ititial theme I chose. 
5) Stay strong. To be honest there were moment when I felt rushed and I didn't feel comfortable with the pace the Challenge was going. I'm very hard on myself and I consider myself to be a result oriented artist. I fully realized that from the Challenge and now I know what to work on and I'm confident that this entire expericenve will improve future painting processes.

Overall, the Challenge was one of the most interesting art events I have ever taken part in. Maybe I was not completely ready for it but I enjoyed the Challenge and took a lot of positive feedback from it and things to improve on in the future. This past September was the most productive month this year. I'm looking forward to tackling this Challenge next time because I now know what to expect and hopefully will be better prepared to complete the maxi-goal.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Work on the big floral

Since the completion of the Challenge I have resumed work on the large (30"x30") floral painting which I hope to finish by end of October (fingers crossed). Here is detail:

I would like to complete at least two floral paintings of the same size (30"x30") to make a pair unless the first painting finds a new home before I start work on the second one. Other floral paintings will be smaller in size. I would really like to paint all the flowers that my husband has given me. That will be a great series of paintings!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

16 paintings of September

A small collage of the 16 works:

And an interactive gallery:
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Photo Gallery by

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 30

On final day of the Challenge I decided to rework two of the acrylic paintings I started several days ago. So now I have three paintings with ceramic still life.
 "Terracotta and Yellow" (acrylic on canvas panel; 8"x6")
"Terracotta and White" (acrylic on canvas panel; 8"x6")
 "Terracotta and Blue" (acrylic on canvas panel; 8"x6")

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 29

Today I finished my 11th drawing (16th art piece) during the Challenge. Here it is:
"Time for tea" (graphite on paper; 6"x6")

Monday, September 28, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 27 & 28

Yesterday and today I was working on the two recent drawings. I finished one of them.
"Tea with honey" (graphite on paper; 6"x6")

Saturday, September 26, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 26

I started working on two drawings of a ceramic pot and a tea pot. Here is today's progress (I had only 1 hour):

Friday, September 25, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 25

I finished the watercolor painting of a waterfall. I added an observation deck with tourists looking at the Falls and taking pictures of this beautiful site. 

"On the Falls" (watercolor on paper; 6"x9")

Thursday, September 24, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 24

I was able to finish the second drawing with the ceramic pots that I have found at my parents' house. 
I will paint them in acrylic as well. But here is the graphite version:
"Pots of luck II" (graphite on paper; 6"x6")

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 23

Today I finished one of the drawings with the clay pots that I found at my parents' house.
"Pots of luck" (graphite on paper; 6"x6")

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 22

Today I was working on a watercolor during art lesson which I give on Tuesdays. My student wanted to paint a waterfall she saw in China. Here's my work in progress:

P.S. I'm also working on still life drawings which I hope to finish shortly.

Monday, September 21, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Days 20 & 21

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with my family walking outside. It was a great chance to refresh my mind after 19 days of rushing drawing/painting. 2/3 of the path is over but I managed to complete only 7 drawings and 4 paintings... I decided to come back to drawing and finish the still life series in black and white. Here are the two drawings I'm working on now.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 19

Today I was able to start and finish one painting. Here's one more still life with clay mug and vase.
Untitled yet (acrylic on canvas panel; 8"x6")

Friday, September 18, 2015

DAILY PAINTWORKS News: DPW Spotlight Interview: Anna Starkova

DAILY PAINTWORKS News: DPW Spotlight Interview: Anna Starkova:

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Anna's painting, "Dreams of Rose" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Anna's DPW Gallery Page:

There is no bigger passion in life for me than art. The greatest satisfaction for me is taking an image click to read more)
from my head and making it come to life. I'm constantly observing the things around me and when something sticks in my head; I want to go home and drop everything and paint. I love working in various techniques like oils, acrylics, watercolors, graphite and switching between them gives my brain extra exercise. I do not limit myself when it comes to different subject matters and mediums. (

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

It all started when I was a child. I liked painting with watercolors and gouache. I would paint landscapes and floral still life. My sister and I were both obsessed with horses; which also became one of my favorite subjects to paint. We had a book about horses with beautiful pictures of them which I tried to recreate in watercolors.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career? 

Oh yes. After high school, when I was on a crossroad between choosing a university and degree program; I was advised by my parents to go for a degree in business management. I wanted to become an artist but in Russia where I'm from, it's extremely hard to become a successful artist. So I pursued business education and rarely painted.

Several years after I finished business school and work for a big advertising company, I decided to continue my business education. I pursued a Master Degree in Project Management in Boston, MA. My experience of relocating from Moscow to Boston was revolutionary for my brain and soul; because of it I started painting again as a stress relief. The more I painted the more I felt my passion for art. So I decided to be a part-time artist painting in my leisure time which changed when my husband and I had a baby and now I'm a stay-home mother who has a couple of hours a day for herself which I devote to painting.

Dreams of Rose
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Anna's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? 

Watercolors and gouache were my first. In Boston I started painting with oils and acrylics as well as graphite drawing.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? 

I still paint with watercolors occasionally. I really like working with oil and acrylic paints. After having a baby, I had to shift to acrylic painting and graphite drawing because of the smell that oil paints have. Hopefully, one day I will have a studio with a good ventilation system and I will be able to do oil painting again.

Melting Light
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

I'm really focused on acrylic painting at the present moment and I want to explore the full potential of the paints. I have a lot of ideas in my head that I want to paint with acrylics, from realistic landscapes and still lives to abstract expressionism.

Who or what inspires you most? 

My biggest inspiration comes from nature. I can watch beautiful views infinitely trying to capture details, lighting, and mood.

Shades of Rose
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you? 

With the baby I became more organized and whenever I have free time I do not waste it and go directly to painting; but sometimes it still happens that I submit an application for a show last minute.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art? 

Getting more organized and doing housework quicker. I only have time when my son is sleeping, so I paint during his naps and do everything else another time.

Spring is in the Air
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings? 

Ideas usually come when I'm outside observing, or sorting my old or friends' photographs. As for abstract painting, I choose colors and start playing with brush until something strikes in my head and I "see" the painting.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging? 

I have so many subjects that I want to paint and explore and switching the various themes around keeps me engaged with the process and keeps works looking vibrant. Though, sometimes I feel like I'm hopping from one subject to another instead of painting in a series; but I feel like I'm far away from burnout yet.

Tea Rose II
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist? 

As a self-taught artist, my art career is a continuous learning process. At this moment I feel that composition has become a focus of my learning. I have been exploring with my mother's silver serving set by creating many different compositions for the September "30 paintings in 30 days" Challenge that I have signed up for. I took about a hundred pictures and now I'm looking back at them and I see how some of them work really well and some don't.

What makes you happiest about your art? 

The best thing about my art is that through my art I can transfer my emotions about the subject and I can show a piece of me and open a door to my world. I feel so happy when the spectator can feel the emotion and mood on the canvas coming from my work. I choose subjects that have had an impact and connection with me; when an outside observer shares that same connection with my work as I do; there is no greater compliment and that is when I'm most happy!

Thanks, Anna!

© 2015 Sophie Catalina Marine

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 18

It was a very busy day but I found some time to add buttercup flowers on the new painting. But I cannot figure out how to name the painting. If you have ideas, let me know in comments!
Untitled yet (acrylic on canvas panel; 8"x6")

Thursday, September 17, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 17

Started a new acrylic painting (#10 during the Challenge). Tomorrow I will add some field flowers like cornflower to finish it - what do you think? Love the new theme I have chosen!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

30 painting in 30 days - Day 16

I was able to finish the two paintings I started yesterday! Here they are. I missed the color :)

"Terracotta and Blue" (acrylic on canvas panel; 8"x6")

"Siesta" (watercolor on paper; 8"x6")

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

30 paintings is 30 days - Day 15

Day 15 of the "30 paintings in 30 days" Challenge: I have started two different paintings (#8 and #9) - one is a watercolor study of a cat laying on his back; second is an acrylic painting of a clay jar. Both in progress.

Monday, September 14, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 14

Finished my seventh drawing! Here is a "Tea rose III" (graphite on paper; 7"x7")

I think I will continue the Challenge with painting in color with acrylics. I love drawing but I really miss colorful palette!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 13

A third drawing of a silver tea cup with a saucer and a rose (a seventh drawing during the Challenge) is in progress:

I think this will be my final graphite drawing during Challenge and I'll continue it with painting with acrylics. I have in mind several compositions with clay jars and vases. And of course field flowers! Drawing is fun but I really want some colors at the moment. I hope you enjoy my drawing - please share your thoughts in comments!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 12

Completed my sixth drawing on the Challenge - a second one with a silver tea cup and a tender rose. A third drawing with a tea cup is in progress. Each drawing is great but together they will become a wonderful triptych! What do you think?

"Tea rose II" (graphite on paper; 7"x7")

Friday, September 11, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 11

I loved drawing a silver tea cup a lot! So I decided to draw additional two compositions with the same tea cup and a rose. Here is a new drawing in progress:

I hope that you like my drawings too! Please let me know what you think - comments are welcomed!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 10

Finished my fifth drawing during the Challenge! This silver tea cup I found at my parents' house and I couldn't resist drawing it. I love the light reflections on it's silver sides and I will try to paint it with acrylics later.

"Tea Rose" (graphite on paper; 7"x7")

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 9

Today is the Ninth day of the Challenge, but I have only started my fifth drawing. Here is work in progress - a silver tea cup with saucer and a rose.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 8

Finished the drawing that I started yesterday - "Two shot of rose" (graphite on paper; 7"x7").
I really enjoy drawing silver serving items as well as roses. I hope I will be able to finish several more of such drawings this week and will move on to drawing clay jars and vases next week.

Monday, September 7, 2015

30 paintings in 30 days - Day 7

Today is the seventh day of the challenge, I was able to start the forth drawing. Here is work in progress: