Friday, April 27, 2018


This year I turned 44! I am right where I am supposed to be and where I want to be. Life is a gift and over the years I have learned to appreciate the present. Sometimes the past creeps up with happy and sad memories, and sometimes I get anxious about the future. Sometimes I am down like everyone else, and sometimes I am happy. Mostly I try to be content.

The weather is nice this week - I am grateful for the sunshine. I feel so much at home in a warm (or even hot) climate, probably this is written deep down in my genes. I have been thinking about my ancestors, our traditions (regarding birthdays and obsessing about the death). I am slowly back on track - this whole year I would like to devote my practice to the rituals of my ancestors and how these connections shape the next generations.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring is here!

I am grateful for the sunshine! Today is the second day we have above zero temperatures (the entire day) and sunshine. I spent majority of my day yesterday and today on the terrace working on some ideas, and I went for long walks with my SO. The wind is picking up today, so I am not sure if the evening walk will happen, but I must say it is beautiful out there when it is sunny and all the snow is disappearing. I used to take sunshine for granted when I lived in the American Southwest for decades. Nevermore, nevermore!

I feel motivated to work on multiple paintings. Sunshine truly puts life into my veins. All I want to do is be outdoors all the time.

Monday, April 16, 2018


Today I am grateful for not having much stress in my life now. I know how it feels to be extremely stressed out and I do not miss that at all. I had to run a few errands today and saw stressed out and angry people at every single place I had to stop by. I had to remind myself that when people treat you badly, it is not you, it is them...

This pieces is "No worries" 11" round substrate, acrylic. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Always work to do

Today I am grateful that I always enjoyed working. I worked in jobs and on projects that were challenging, most of the time hard work, but satisfying.

Artist always has work to do! I caught up a bit on my class assignments with Ardith Goodwin's Push Past Ordinary class, watched some art related videos, and picked up more art books from the library to read. Education is ongoing - one can always learn more about art history, techniques, materials, or personal lives of the artists. Another thing that I have been pushing off is varnishing. I am not particularly fond of this task, and since I have not been able (in spite of my huge efforts) to find a place to show my art this year, I have not been proactive on the matter. Now I have a gazillion paintings to varnish, and I will try and tackle that task soon.

Yesterday I went to YEG gallery walk. I think going to galleries during a major event like this is educational too - there were so many people out there on a sunny day. It was nice to see that locals are into visiting galleries and checking out art.

In the mean time, I am even more interested in digging deeper into my art creation. Traveling throws me off course, and I am happy to get into my routine and finish some paintings that have been marinating in my head for a long time! I feel like I have to finish all these projects before I start yet another one. It is hard for me to stay focused on one project if I don't actually have a show and a deadline to finish up. That is when I am the most productive - the more I work the more my productivity goes up!

I am posting another older painting today - still trying to visualize Spring (we are getting two more days of snow apparently!). 12x24", acrylic

Monday, April 9, 2018

Above zero!

Finally we are above zero degrees Celsius! It is a reason to celebrate. I love seeing the snow melt on walkways and I am happy we can again walk on the sidewalks without slipping all the time. Hopefully it lasts! It has been a long winter and I am grateful today that we were able to escape a few weeks of it and travel in warmer places. Let's hope some flowers start blooming here soon!

Sunday, April 8, 2018


Living in Canada has made me appreciate winter a bit more - the long shadows, the delicate pinks and purples in the snow reflections and pastel oranges, mauves and turquoise tones in the sky at sunset. Some days the sunrises are incredibly bright and colorful. I am grateful for these beautiful views.

I painted this a few years back - this is a view from our balcony in the morning. I love to sit by the window and a fireplace and look at the everchanging colors and shapes in the sky in peace before everyone wakes up. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Working from home

Today I am grateful for being able to work at home. Earlier today we got a bit of fresh snow, and now sun is peaking though. Hopefully, sun will win and we can enjoy some warmer temperatures. Even for Canada, we are having an unusually cold April this year.

I took the day off from making art to do some spring cleaning and rearranging furniture. I keep finding storage spaces for my paintings that I did not know existed :). Living in Japan for 3 weeks reminded me that humans do not really need big homes to live comfortably and that space can be utilized to be more functional in a smaller area. Every once in a while I think about why we live in a condo and here are the main reasons:

1) It is so easy! No snow shovelling for us!
2) We spend way less on unnecessary purchases because we just cannot bring more stuff in our limited space.
3) The car is always warm and ready to start, even when it is -40 degrees outside.
4) We spend more quality time with kids, talking, cooking, etc.
5) We have more time for creative endeavours.
6) Commute to husband's work is short (within walking distance)
7) Our place is always warm, welcoming, and cozy.
8) Maintaining the place is a breeze
9) We are within 20 minutes (or less) drive from any place we want to be at
10) A few good neighbors.

Living in our space makes it easy to enjoy life. I find that living in a cold climate is more demanding on living and non living things - homes endure more damage, as well as a human body. Living simply is a key to being content in this climate. The most important for me is that simple living allows me to spend time with family. We welcome friends in our warm home often, as socializing and laughter is crucial in being able to thrive in long winters.

Here is another oldie. Yes, I am trying to visualize spring :). It is still going on and we are in for a longer stretch. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Mama bear, 24x24"

Today I am grateful for many artists who support me in real life and online in my quirky art endeavours and join me on my imaginative and creative journey. I appreciate every comment and like and criticism I receive, as they help me dig deeper and also help me see things from another perspective outside my own little bubble.

As an artist one has to develop thick skin. There are many ways that an artist can get discouraged - by rude customers, gallery representatives who are not respectful, to art critics, and in my humble opinion - the worst kind - by other artists. Once upon a time, I was watching a video of an artist I admire, who is world renowned and a famous artist in Canada. At some point during the show he proclaimed that the only way to paint nature is his way. I was surprised by his arrogance and dismissal of any other painting styles. I realize art is subjective, and I don't like a lot of art that is out there, but I always try and educate myself about where the artist is coming from.

The other day - another artist whose work I like, inquired in a sort of snobby way on FB why there are so many colourful, square bear paintings out there. I immediately thought of this painting I did about 5 years ago

Yep, it's colourful, square and with bears lol. I paint bears because bear represents strong medicine including the powers in the areas of wisdom, strength and healing. Bears have been in my life since I was a kid - images of Gypsies parading bears through our neighbourhood, or bears roaming freely in the countryside were not uncommon in Bosnia. It is important to find where artist's motivation is coming from. Even if they are painting in a certain style because right now it sells - does that give another artist a right to diminish their artistic efforts? What's it to them and why disparage other creatives efforts just because they do something the other does not want to or likes to do?

In any case, I am glad I pulled this painting out of the artistic memory files.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dreaming of Spring, 16x20" painting by Natasa Vretenar

Today I am grateful for living in a peaceful country, with no war on its soil. We can go about our daily lives with roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and pretty much having anything we ever need or want available to purchase.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Purple Poppies, 24x12" acrylic painting by Natasa Vretenar

Today I am grateful for all the art supplies I have available to do my work. On my (almost a decade long) quest to simplify every aspect of my life, I admit that I usually do not adhere to minimalistic approach when it comes to buying art supplies. That is why I decided to use what I have at home (substrates, paint, mediums, or found objects etc) and not go to the art store until I really need something else. I also organized my supplies and was surprised by just how much I have on hand to work with!

I am catching up on Ardith Goodwin's class. It has been such a wonderful class so far and it is helping me in so many ways. I also signed up for another one of her classes on distortion!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Getting back to my routine, Irises painting by Natasa Vretenar

Today I am grateful for another neighbour who sent me some information regarding venues where to sell art locally. I received another rejection today for a show I was hoping to get into. I wish I could just shrug it off, but when there is nothing positive happening regarding my art show applications, I feel a bit discouraged.

It takes a while to get over a jet lag so I try to stick to a work routine right away. I am hoping to get some new custom substrates soon from a local shop to start a new project. In the mean time, I still have a dozen or so more substrates waiting for me to get to them and work on some ideas that have been on a back burner while traveling.

I am also thinking about making a series of flower paintings - I have not painted any flowers in a long time!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Gratitude, Sunflower painting by Natasa Vretenar 12x12"

There are many things to be grateful for. It is so easy to focus on the negatives, so this month I will mention one thing I am grateful for every day. Yesterday, I was grateful for having neighbours who got us some tasty chickens for a fundraiser their kids do while we were traveling. Today, I am grateful for being able to go to the grocery store and fill up our fridge with food.

We came back to Edmonton and to a lot of snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing. I liked watching the frosty branches of trees on the way from Calgary to Edmonton while driving.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter

I am jet lagged today so not much is happening here except trying to get back into normalcy. 

The Messenger of Immortality 12x24"