Thursday, February 22, 2018

Poppycock, rooster painting by Natasa Vretenar

Organizing photos on my comp and came across this oldie. As a non native speaker of English, I am always delighted to learn a new word. What do I do then - paint a painting of course!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Legend, white raven painting by Natasa Vretenar


From the Spirit Animals series.

Being in nature, outdoors, is my favorite thing to do. I was fortunate to live in a few beautiful places - AZ, NM and CO where the climate is mild and you can spend a lot of time outdoors throughout the year. Since we moved to Alberta (another beautiful but cold place!) we are not able to spend as much time in nature, although we try to get out at least for an hour or so if the temperature is not below -20 Celsius. Colder than that it is difficult.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bubu Lulu (Don't be just a chess piece), 60x36" horse painting by Natasa Vretenar

It is very hard to take a good photo of this painting right now because it is cold outside and I have to take the pictures indoors. This painting is too big to take a picture of it in my usual spot where the light is good coming from the balcony doors.  This is the best for now until the snow melts and I can take the painting outside on an overcast day to take a nice picture of it.

Another issue with photographing this painting is that I use several different brands of acrylic paint and they all have different reflection properties - some are more matte and some are more glossy, so the pictures really do not give an accurate representation of what the painting really looks like in real life. I will keep trying until I get a better photo.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Gypsy, horse painting by Natasa Vretenar

I am calling it done (for now!). Of course nothing is safe in my studio from further changes. "Gypsy" is 3x5 feet large and is really hard to photograph with bad light conditions we have today. Also, I used some copper paint - metallics are notoriously hard to photograph too, but they look amazing in real life - the painting changes as light changes throughout the day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Work in progress

The struggle is real. After painting a lot of small paintings, I really missed large format painting and my palette knives. I am back to work on a few large paintings and it is a real challenge. I am also going through my paint like there is no tomorrow. I paint totally different in small and in large format - each size awakens different parts of my creative process.

The light today is low and it is raining outside - one day above the zero and we get freezing rain! We will not have any snow any time soon, so it's skating rink out there for a while!

Here is a bad picture of my work so far. I tend to make the painting too busy. Gypsy was getting too fabulous (had too much hair everywhere!). So, I trim a lot of things down. I am sure the colors will change a few more times until I am satisfied.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Larger paintings

My true love is working on large paintings. I like working on the small ones also because they are easier and faster to paint, and to put down ideas - composition, story, technique, which can then be used for a larger painting. When I work on a 30 in 30 days project, I have no time to do anything else - the project with a time constraint like that is intense!
This month I am working on a several large paintings that have been waiting patiently for a long time for me to get to work :).

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Slideshow of my "Mother" series paintings

I finally got some time to put together a little slide show of my Mother themed paintings from January! This was a project that is dear to my heart - so many memories flooded my mind while working on this - both of my mom and of being a mom to my kids.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


This painting is one of the first large paintings I did - and I did it in oils. I really enjoy painting in oils but with little kids this was not possible - acrylic is much easier to work with. I like how acrylic dries fast and makes me work faster too. I put a lot of thought into a painting before I even start painting.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Elk Island, landscape painting by Natasa Vretenar

This is a large landscape painting. I painted it from reference photos and memory of a late summer visit to the Elk Island National Park close to Edmonton. It is a beautiful place to visit and hike - all the trails are pretty much flat so it is a family friendly area. We go there quite often and in every season.

36x72" on a gallery wrapped canvas.

Sunday, February 4, 2018


The hardest thing is to be honest with one's self. I am devoting this entire year to being more honest with myself in regards to what it is I am trying to do with my art. Ardith Goodwin's class is providing a great guidance on this quest. I am grateful for being a part of the class with so many supportive and creative souls! It has been helping me to focus on things that matter the most to me in my creative process.

One of the exercises we had to do is to pick a favorite color. I said that purple was it, but another artists pointed out that there is not much purple in my work! So I went back last 10 years and realized that I really do not use much purple in my work. And there it was - glaring at me - red! I apparently love using red in my work - a whole range of red. There is also a lot of blue - a whole range too - from teals to cobalts. I remember a few years back I did realize that I never bought any green paint, so I went and bought some for a small series I did. I forced myself to use the color I was not comfortable with for some reason at the time. By pushing my limits with color I was able to paint subjects I did not dare touch before - like a large painting of a mountain meadow, full of grass and wild flowers.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Work year

Writing grants for art is not easy for me, and I put a lot of thought and time into putting together these applications.  This year is going to be my most productive one yet - I have gazillion ideas in my head that must get out and be put on canvas!

Who says you cannot do art while traveling? I "drew" this face in the white sand - I have been thinking about doing some portraits for a while and it may just be a thing to do in 2018. We visited many beautiful places and stopped by the White Sands National Monument - what a magical place. We stayed to see the sunset after playing all day in the sand.I am going to look at many reference photos I took on my travels last year - I am really craving working with palette knives again and making a few landscape paintings.

The Messenger of Immortality 12x24"