Wednesday, July 27, 2016

GRH Inspire Gallery show is up at the Glenrose Rehab Hospital in Edmonton

My show "Tranquility" is up at the GRH in Edmonton. These are the paintings on display in the area where patients get physical therapy. I am happy to contribute to their healing - my art really brightened up the place and made it a happier space. The show is up until September 28, 2016.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Two shows coming up

Today I am varnishing some large paintings. It takes a while to varnish the big ones - 3x5 ft each, but I am done with the first layer. I usually varnish with Liquitex gloss medium and varnish and do at least 2 layers. For large paintings like these ones, I am using large synthetic brush for varnishing.

There is a lot going on in the next month with my art. I have two shows - one at the new Inspire Gallery at GRH from July 27th to mid September "Tranquility", and another at the Mezzanine Gallery at GRH called "Wilderness"

Inspire gallery show is a mix of my old and new work, mainly landscapes. This space is a healing space for patients at Glenrose RH and I am happy to have the opportunity to show there and hopefully contribute to someone's recovery process.

Mezzanine gallery will feature my wild animal paintings - this gallery is located just off the main floor entrance at Glenrose RH.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


This year we have had the most wonderful Spring - the weather is perfect. We have been spending a lot of time outdoors, hiking and exploring our beautiful ravine in Edmonton. There are so many trails and many stairs to climb. There is no better place to get in shape :). I have collected a lot of reference materials for my ongoing ravine series. Here is one painting that started that series.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Working on my website

I decided to link all the pictures on the main website to prices. It is an ongoing process, but necessary as I pulled all my art from galleries and am focusing on more art production this year and ultimately working on my goals of being completely self-represented in the future.

Yesterday, we took a nice drive to Lacombe to pick up my paintings at the Gallery on Main. Laverne is a wonderful lady who runs the gallery and she is going to be moving down the road in a ground floor gallery space in the next month. She represents many wonderful Alberta artists and if you have a chance to go you should definitely visit her gallery!

I like to have some flowers in our living area so I hung these two in my reading/coffee drinking nook. Each is 36x18" on gallery wrapped canvas (painted black on the sides).

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Shipping blues

I sold my 5x2 ft painting and was having a hard time finding a shipper to send it Arizona. The package is about 64" tall, 8 " depth and 30" wide. Its length + girth exceeds the dimensions that Canada Post and other shippers will ship internationally. Even Greyhound could not take a package this size. This was quite a surprise to me. I also called all the crating companies I can find in Edmonton and in 10 days I have still now heard back from any of them. This time I lucked out since my husband is traveling to AZ and will be able to bring the package with him. However, this has made me rethink my sizing and what I need to do in the future to avoid headaches for myself and for my customers. Thankfully, my collector in Arizona was understanding and is able to wait longer to receive her purchase. Phew!

So, for the future painting supports I am leaning towards choosing 24x36" size as my largest painting size. This size painting will be the largest size (packaged) that I can safely ship via regular shipping companies or Canada Post, and the cost will be less than $100 to ship to US. Since a large majority of purchases are from USA for my art, I am already familiar with the cost, delivery times and tracking of packages, but I have not shipped any paintings this large before from Canada! I made a mistake of simply scaling the cost to a larger painting (which does work, but up to a 24x36" size paintings).

I am including a description of shipping method for my paintings. I have modified it a bit to protect the edges even better (I used a batting all around the corners on the 2x5' painting) since I wrote about this particular shipment in the pictures below.

I found really awesome instructions to ship internationally (or in general) on the website above. Below you will find my version of packing recommended by Laura.

The first part was to wrap the painting in something waterproof - in the picture I used black garbage bags and then packing tape around it. Nowadays I use 4 mil bags I regularly store my paintings in.

Afterwards, I cut the one inch thick insulation styrofoam (bought at Home Depot) to size and again used the packing tape. I repeated the process for both paintings (one was 12"X12" and other was 12"X48"). For larger paintings I use thicker insulation foam (2 in).

I put both paintings on top of each other with the smaller one in the middle of the bigger one. I then cut the cardboard to size and wrapped the cardboard around them both. I filled the air gaps on both sides of the small painting with cheap pillows for extra cushion. 
This is a finished package with two paintings in it. It arrived safely to its destination in US. I used Canadian Post to ship. The cost to ship the package was $67, not including the packing materials. This package was about 10"x50"x14".

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Where the home is...

I was recently asked "Do you ever go back home?" in reference to former Yugoslavia, specifically Sarajevo, Bosnia (where I was born and raised). I have not been there physically in many years, but visit it in my mind quite often. The answer to the question "Where is home?" is actually quite simple for me. Home is where I live, where my family is, and home happens to be in Edmonton, Canada now. This city is a recent home for our family, and moving here has been a wonderful adventure so far.

My previous homes have shaped who I am today. Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado are all a big part of me, and influences of all these places show in my work.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Burst of colour

Sunrises can be truly spectacular in the winter. I love to sip my morning coffee while looking at this view. 

Thinking about what to paint next :)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Work in progress

January is almost over, and I cannot believe it! This month has been very busy. I wanted to paint corvids for the whole month but life interfered. I still managed to squeeze in a few small paintings and 2 huge ones. I am not used to the cold weather yet - even though this is our 4th winter here in Canada. I am so grateful for the sun these days, and whenever we have a nice sunny day I try to get our family outside to catch a few rays.

I completely redesigned my website and here are a few links to my flora, fauna and landscapes pages.

I have committed to only one show so far this year. This year will be mainly a production year, since I will concentrate on creating a body of work that is centred on a theme or two. I want to see where my imagination takes me from where I am now. For this I need solitude, and I have set certain hours every day to work undisturbed.

Thankfully, my studio has provided me with much needed private space to create. I have a good feeling about this year and making art. So many ideas, so little time!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

North Saskatchewan River Walk I and II, Natasa Vretenar

Took this in my studio today with a phone camera. Each painting is 5 ft tall and 3 ft long. I have been building a lot of texture on this one and used quite a few different acrylic mediums. I will take better pictures soon to show the details and textures in these two pieces. It was really fun to paint a landscape on this scale and of my favourite season - Fall!

Edmonton is a beautiful place to live in. I am working on an ongoing series of paintings inspired by Edmonton's nature, people etc.

I consider these two paintings to be an equivalent of 30 small paintings (one sq foot or smaller) so technically my 30 in 30 days challenge is satisfied :). I will continue working on the smaller canvases until the end of the month, and hopefully be able to stick to corvids. Sometimes creativity flows in unexpected direction and one just has to take that direction and forget the initial plan for a while.

My studio

I finally took a few pictures of my work space. I have a lot of storage in my studio, and still a lot of space to work on large canvases. 
Here is my large easel - these two canvases are 5 ft tall by 3 feet wide each. The easel can easily accommodate even taller canvases but I am limiting myself to this size because of the transportation issues (and storage issues). I like that I have about 12 feet to walk back to look at the paintings in progress from a distance to see the "big picture". 

Storage of blank canvases, completed works and works in progress is always an issue. Moving into my new work space forced me to organize my inventory. Things are a bit more manageable now. Costco came to my rescue regarding the storage issue. I bought three shelves on wheels. If I ever need to move it will be a breeze to wheel these out. They fit perfectly onto one wall and I arranged the shelves so they can hold my 2x3 ft canvases as well as a lot of supplies and packaging things for shipping. I think that I have enough storage space for at least a year or two at my productivity rate. 
Here is my horizontal working surface table - 6 ft long. I use it a lot - to do varnishing and play with pouring media. It also holds my paints and brushes and palette knives when I am working on the big easel. 


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