Unique Gifts for this Holiday Season

Click the image to go to Agata’s Art Corner on Etsy

[And if you enter coupon code Special20, you will get 20% off anything in my shop, because you are all special to me!]

Have you guys ever heard of Etsy? It is on online store where everything being sold has to be either handmade or vintage. None of that big-box Made-in-China junk. You can find the most unique and beautiful things on there and even request custom designs from the artists. It is a great place to shop for the holidays to get that one of a kind gift for that special someone.

It is also a great way to support independent artists. Yes, I am one of those artists, but I am also a consumer. If you are shopping for me this holiday season, check out my Favorites.

Most shops are offering deals between now and Monday, so now is a great time to check it out if you haven’t already!  If you check out Alisa Steady Art’s page, she has a link to many shops that are offering great deals. Happy shopping, and TGIF! Am I right?!

All or Nothing

If you’ve never heard of Leonid Afremov then you need to do yourself a huge favor and google him asap! He is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He has a very unique style and it is unmistakable. Oh, and just amazingly beautiful. Seriously. Beyond words. Unlike most artists who have to die before they become famous, he is still alive! Bonus. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of his work and am constantly inspired by it. Here is an example, courtesy of Wikipeida.

Leonid Afremov and his painting of the Venice Canal

If you can’t beat them, join them, right?! Well that was my inspiration for this next painting. I figured he’s doing something right so I might as well learn from it. So I can’t take all the credit for this painting… a huge shout out goes to Mr. Afremov.

I started out with a very rough outline for the background. Basically just getting some colour on the canvas.
Slowly started building up the background, added trees and some more colour overall.
Next I added some lamp posts
Then some light!
Lastly, I added some more trees and a couple under an umbrella.
This painting looks great unframed because of the depth

18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas. Here it is relative to my bed, to give you an idea of the size.
Zoomed in on the couple under an umbrella
Zoomed in on some trees.
Zoomed in on the lamp posts


So I think this concludes my “rain” paintings, at least for now.

On a side note, I tend to have two extremes in life: all or nothing. I either love you completely, or you are totally indifferent to me. You get all of my time and attention, or none of it. I’ve noticed this coming out through my art as well. For starters, I went from painting almost never (maybe 2-3 paintings a year) to pretty much pumping out 2-3 a week! I just can’t get enough of it lately. It has been such a tremendous stress reliever and the amazing feedback from everyone has been very motivating as well. I woke up this morning at 5:30am (even though my alarm was set to 7:30am) and pretty much jumped out of bed and painted until 7:30am (which is when I completed the above painting).

I don’t know how long this enthusiasm will last, but for now I’m just going to go with it and paint. Since let’s face it, there are far worse things I could be spending a big chunk of my time doing.

Ironically, this same “all or nothing” approach to life has prevented me from painting in the past. The last couple years I’ve been super busy, taking 6-7 classes per semester (another example of my all-or-nothing approach to life) so even though I often felt like painting, I would always talk myself out of it justifying that a 1 hour break is not enough time to paint, and it’s not even worth starting if I can’t finish it. In retrospect, it probably would have been a great way to take my mind off school work.

So what changed now? With only 4 classes this semester (by default, since that’s all I have left 🙂 ) I found myself with more spare time than I am used to. I considered getting a part time job, but then had a light bulb moment and thought that I’ve always loved painting but never felt I had enough time to fully pursue it. What better time than now? And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I seam to have gone off on a tangent here. What I originally wanted to get to is that life is about balance. I constantly have to remind myself that. So bringing that back to painting, how about only 1 more “rain” painting this year? Sounds good to me!

Anyone else struggle with finding balance?

Don’t Want to Ruin My Shoes

Yup, another “Rain Painting”. Brace yourselves…

I like doing these because they allow me to just go to town with a palette knife. Don’t have to worry about staying in the lines, or being too exact, and after a long day at school, it is my favorite way to unwind. This one is similar to Rain, Rain, Go Away and Best Buds  but it is spanned across three 12×16″ canvases, making it three times as great!

As usual, I started off with a quick background.

Background using a palette knife on three 12×16″ canvases

Once that was dry, I drew some guidelines of the buildings in the background with some white chalk. Then proceeded to colour them in.

Finally, I added street lamps, a picture of a man holding a woman in his arms, who is holding an umbrella over them, and I added some highlights to the background. And voila!

To give you an idea of the size, I took a picture with my bed as a reference. It’s a double bed (or maybe a Queen…I’m not quite sure).

Close up of the left panel
Close up of the middle panel

Close up of the right panel. Do you recognize the buildings on the hill? Hint* in Ottawa, on a hill…
Zoomed in on the couple in the rain
View from the bottom. All the edges are painted so no frame is necessary.

So what inspired this painting, you ask? Well I bought a new dress this past weekend (okay, actually I bought 2…) and I have nowhere to wear it. It is pretty and red, just like the girl’s in the painting. Maybe if I wear it, a knight in shining armor will whisk me off my feet! In the rain, of course.

I’ve got three other paintings on the go right now (and only one of them has anything to do with rain) so hopefully I can finish those soon and share them with you here. School is getting a little busy right now since it is almost exam time, so I may be MIA for awhile.

I’m also working on 2 commissioned pieces, but won’t be able to share those with you until after the holidays, since the people who asked me to paint them would like to give them as a Christmas gift. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise since it might be for YOU!

Happy Wednesday folks 🙂 Anyone started Christmas shopping yet?

Missing My Bike

I started this painting with no idea what I wanted the finished product to look like. I only knew that I wanted it to incorporate a bike in some way. I think this stems from missing riding my bike everywhere. Some jerk stole the front wheel off my commuter bike a few weeks ago, and I have yet to buy a new one for it.

I started with a 36×24″ canvas, and painted a background using a palette knife and acrylic paint.
I added the bicycle and some details to the buildings.
A table and chair for children maybe?

At this point, I didn’t know what else to add, but I knew it needed something. I decided to add a little outdoor cafe patio. Then I realized that the table and chairs are teeny tiny compared to the bike right beside it! Oops!

I actually took my road bike and placed it beside my kitchen table before I redid this part in order to have a frame of reference as not to make the same mistake again.

Okay, that’s more like it.

Lastly, I just kept adding small details in such as a lamp post, a lady walking along the street, some flowers, and some wine and cheese on the table. Before I knew it, my initial painting of a bike turned into one of a french cafe.

The finished product. 36×24″ Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Zoomed in view of the cafe
I’ve always wanted a bike with a basket in the front.
Zoomed in on the (french) bookstore.

My favorite part about this painting is the contrast between the calm and quiet life of going to a cafe and reading a book, versus the fast paced life that many of us tend to lead. The busy and loud road is meant to represent that fast paced life, while the bicycle, the cafe, and the book store represent the other extreme.

On that note, I think I’m going to go read a book and have a glass of wine before I hit the books tonight. My manufacturing assignment can wait…

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