Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Summary of 2019: "Nothing is constant but change" Heraclitus

"Nothing is constant but change" Heraclitus

Science is making progress every day, and I read about the wanderlust gene recently. I am pretty sure that I and my SO have this gene. This year we pushed our boundaries a bit and traveled to places known to us and new to us, and we also moved to a new city! Our offspring have no choice but to join us on our adventures (they do not mind). 

This year I said bye to New Mexico and we made our (most likely) final visit to my special place. So lucky to catch the "Visions of the Hispanic World" exhibit while in Albuquerque.

Spending three months in Ireland has been amazing. It is a beautiful country and Irish are welcoming and friendly. We were fortunate to explore a lot of the country. My favorite was to catch up on my literature reading and to get acquainted with Irish mythology. I made a point to visit a few pubs where great minds of the past used to hang out as well (hoping some of that energy would rub off on me lol, and to taste some local brews of course). And the art! There was art everywhere!

When we came back from Ireland, we packed up and moved to Calgary! After six months here I am loving the city and friends we have already made so far. 

This year I had my final exhibit at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton. I am so grateful for their support over the years - I had six solo exhibits in 3 of their galleries they offer to local artists to show their work. So happy to be able to share my work and bring color and happiness to those recovering from traumatic injuries and chronic conditions. Thanks GRH! Here is a photo of my solo exhibit "Mother" at the Blue Curve Gallery.

I also showed some of my work in "The New Wave" exhibit with CARFAC in Edmonton. Many thanks to Sharon and Carfac for their support of my art throughout the years as well!

Locally, I displayed my art at the Okotoks Art Gallery in their Spirit of Christmas art show in December. Stay tuned for more exciting art happenings in 2020! I am excited about the future :).

Hope your year was a productive one, and wishing you a very happy 2020!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Living in Calgary and Okotoks Art Gallery

I am so happy to live in Calgary now. We have been here for 4 months, met so many wonderful people, and had a lot of fun exploring the city even though we have been super busy. Everyone has adjusted well to their new schools and work. Moving is hard in many ways, but we are all excited to be here. What I like the most are friendly people and being able to escape to the mountains in less than an hour! We are fortunate to live near such natural beauty. I always feel humbled and in awe when I visit the mountains, no matter how many times I see the lakes and the peaks!

Last week I dropped off a few of my paintings and ornaments at the Okotoks Art Gallery. It is a lovely town, and the gallery had a great exhibit going on. Their Spirit of Christmas show will run from the next week for 6 weeks and there will be lots of goodies, ornaments and smaller paintings for sale. I will be at the gallery on the 15th during the tree lighting ceremony in Okotoks.

To follow my day to day art adventures please check out

Friday, October 4, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 4 Freeze by Natasa Vretenar

For this quick sketch I used Tombow dual brush pens and my favorite Molotow marker for the snow and the ground. I also used a bit of Golden white ink for the background, but i am afraid it may have gotten a bit old and it was too watery.

Thankfully, most of the now has melted by now and Calgary is nice and sunny and enjoyable!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 3 "Bait" by Natasa Vretenar

I am getting used to these brush markers (Tombow). They are quite colorful too and fun to use. I am pretty sure they will be going with me on my next travel out of town. The prompt for the third day is "Bait". 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 2 "Mindless" by Natasa Vretenar

I am doing the drawing first thing in the morning. I am only concerned about getting the idea down on the paper and testing the new markers, not trying to make a finished painting. This inktober is a rare time when I let others peek into my sketchbook, usually I guard it closely :).

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Inktober 2019 Day 1 "Ring" by Natasa Vretenar

I got Tombow dual brush markers in and am playing with them for the #inktober this year. My kids convinced me to do it with them this year (they created some amazing art last time!), and even though ink is not my media it is fun to try new things and do fun drawings. I am really liking these markers.

I also like to participate in a project that has prompts - it forces me to think outside my regular thinking paths and sometimes some good ideas come out of that. Let's see where this #inktober2019 takes me!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Ready for #inktober2019

Amazon.ca sometimes does come through! I think they have made some improvements in the past year or so, because now I can actually order things and receive at a decent price and in short time. I got my Tombow dual brush markers in the next day and now I am ready to do some drawings every day for the entire month of October! Looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

New Wave show at CARFAC is over too

I picked up my paintings from CARFAC Alberta as well - they were in a group show called "New Wave". I did 150 paintings to celebrate Canada and five of these paintings were on the display in this show. The picture below is from the Whitemud Library show where I had 50 paintings on display last year. It was such a fun project to do! I did a painting each day for 5 months - mostly depicting Canadian wildlife and flora, as well as a few scenes from everyday life. In the process of making these paintings I talked to many people about what being Canadian means to them and I learned a lot. I also read about Canada's history and read its constitution. It is amazing how a constitution of a country can shape and influence daily lives of its citizens.

the link to all the paintings is

Friday, September 27, 2019

Glenrose Rehab Hospital Blue Curve Gallery Show is now over

Yesterday I picked up my paintings from GRH - this was my last solo show in Edmonton. I am grateful to have been able to show my art at the Glenrose Rehab Hospital in their Mezzanine, Blue Curve and Inspire galleries over the years. I am happy to share my art and bring some color and joy to patients going through recovery process.

Thanks GRH for the support and for providing space to show art to local artists!

Thursday, July 11, 2019


This year has been filled with amazing experiences. I call Calgary my home now! We have been here for about 10 days and it is a beautiful city. It takes a while to settle in a new home, and we are still finding places for all our things. Needless to say, I am not getting any work done yet. I am pleased to say that I do have lots of space to create in here, and am excited to see what happens in the future.

Stampede is going on right now and we hope to visit this weekend - lot of events going on, beautiful nature right here in the city, and friendly people. I think I am in love :).

Friday, May 31, 2019

Sunflower painting by Natasa Vretenar

It is not as smokey here today but it is still moderate risk advisory. I am working on my new paintings today, listening to music and am grateful to be able to do what I love.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Apocalyptic skies

The air outside is filled with smoke from the big fire burning North of us. It is the first day the smoke reached us and it looks like the apocalypse is here. Thankfully, AC is working and filtering some of that smoke so we can breath inside.

I always try and stay positive, so sharing this blue poppy painting from many years ago! I enjoy painting flowers, but one can only paint so many canvases with flowers.

Monday, May 27, 2019

New body of work

There are some subjects I return to after diverging into unknown, and one that has been close to my heart from the beginning of my art career is Equus! Yes, the horse. I have been working on some new paintings, combining realism and abstract and just kind of exploring the duality of what is inside and what we see on the outside.
This painting is one of my early works done in pastel. I really like working in pastel but over the years I moved to working entirely in acrylics - i find it to be the most user friendly and easy to work with when raising little kids.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Varnishing time!

Working hard here, and varnishing 25 paintings to get them ready for the June show. Putting the hanging wire in the back as well. I made these paintings on 3/4 thick boards and they do not need framing. It is coming along nicely, and I cannot wait to show this series at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. I have been showing my art there for the past 5 years and am glad to be able to bring a smile or two with my art to people recovering there.

Friday, May 10, 2019


Being able to travel is an amazing privilege. These three months we spent in Ireland have been wonderful (truly full of wonder!). It is a beautiful country and Irish people we met are kind, friendly and welcoming. I am certain we will be back in Ireland in the future.

There are things to be done here that have kept me from working on my art this last week. It takes about a week to get over the jet lag too, but we are almost entirely caught up. I am making a lovely beef stew today and taking a big breath in before jumping into creating a new series of paintings.

This is Giant's Causeway  - one of the amazing places we visited in Ireland.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

It's complicated with those two

Going strong... My husband and I have been together for 19 years and it is our wedding (17th) anniversary today. We met in Albuquerque, NM in March 2000, and have been pretty much inseparable since. We survived multiple moves (to different countries even!), long working hours, and a few tragic losses. We continue to love and support each other and our "quirky" projects and endeavors. Happy to be living this crazy life together!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Artem Mater Physicus

"Can a woman have it all?" This is a modern, professional, educated woman's dilemma. Can one woman be a mother, work full time, have a functioning marriage, raise decent human beings, make home beautiful and clean, cook, be a good friend - all at the same time? I think this is impossible if one does not have financial independence or a support system that helps her achieve some of these goals. However, achieving one or two of her goals at some time in life is doable.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Cob 2, horse painting by Natasa Vretenar

I love painting Gypsy Vanner horses. It is wonderful to see them in the Irish green pastures.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Foal 2, horse painting by Natasa Vretenar

Here is another little foal painting. I am having too much fun here in Ireland to do any serious work, but I still try to sketch and paint something every day. It does not happen all the time, but this whole trip is an amazing experience and an artist's dream trip!  Hopefully, in the remaining few weeks we will be able to explore more rural Ireland and I am really looking forward to that!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Offspring, by Natasa Vretenar

Spring is in the air here in Ireland. The sheep and cows and horses are all having babies. It is a lot of fun to watch them in the green pastures.
My two babies are 10 and 14 today. It is hard to believe that they are that "old". I love spending time with my children - they are growing up to be quite interesting human beings.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Paint anywhere

I try and create art almost every day, but when traveling this is not always possible. However, I can set up a small work area almost anywhere - a few cardboard cereal boxes for surface protection, a few palette knives and brushes, some paint, yogurt container and water.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met. (Yeats)

"Ireland is a beautiful country" - said my youngest son the other day while we were coming back on a train from one of our daily adventures. I share the feeling with him - it is a beautiful country, and people are warm, friendly and welcoming. I love to socialize and it has been wonderful to be here. Irish chat with others on the street, at the bus stops, in the pubs, workplaces, art galleries.
There were times when we planned on visiting a place for only an hour or so, and we end up staying for hours and come back to re-visit because of interactions with people.

We have wonderful weather here too! It was sunny most days, and occasionally we had a rainy day or two. It is amazingly beautiful.

"There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met." Yeats

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Foal 1, horse painting by Natasa Vretenar

When I started painting full time I painted horses. I think they are challenging and beautiful subject to paint. I continue to sketch them and paint them but I am feeling like doing a series of larger horse paintings when I go back to Canada. In the meantime I will try and squeeze a few more foal paintings!

Monday, April 1, 2019

TJ The Old Mill Protector, cat painting by Natasa Vretenar

TJ is a handsome guy who is guarding the old mill that was restored to modern standards and now serves as a airbnb property. He is one lucky lad to be able to live in such a beautiful place.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Black Socks, horse painting by Natasa Vretenar

While traveling through the countryside in Ireland, we saw many beautiful Irish Cob horses. My kids kept thinking they were cows because of the markings. Those kids really need to get more into the country haha.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Skerries Beach View, Irish beach painting by Natasa Vretenar

There are so many beautiful beaches in Dublin area. We are trying to visit a beach whenever the weather is nice. This is a painting of a view from Skerries beach, looking out to the island with Martello tower.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Cizme skitaljke su imale svoje cizme skitaljke, Wandering Boots by Natasa Vretenar

I am so grateful we are in Ireland during the warm spell in February while the month has been the coldest in 40 years in Edmonton! That kind of extreme cold weather is not something I like.

There are so many wonderful places to see and visit in Dublin. We are exploring every day and where there is sunshine we make sure we plan an outdoor activity. There are many green spaces and parks in Dublin, from St. Stephen's Green to Merrion Square, to local neighborhood parks.  The playgrounds for little kids are really lovely too.

Yesterday we visited the National Gallery of Ireland, and I was delighted to see works by Caravaggio and El Greco and many others. They have an amazing collection of art there, and we will have to go back to check out a few more exhibits we did not get to.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Ireland travel

I have been in Ireland for two weeks now and it has been an amazing experience so far. Today is the first day I am allowing myself to soak it all in and think about the things and places we have seen so far. There is so much to do here. It is a beautiful country with friendly people, and many amazing sites to visit.

I managed to sneak in some work while traveling, and I hope to figure out a routine where I can work a bit every day.
We are also very lucky with the weather so far - lots of sunny days and very little rain! I hope it stays that way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Learning to Eat by Natasa Vretenar

I remember seeing a young foal once long ago trying to figure out how to eat - his legs were pushed forward and head tucked in between them while he tried to eat the grass. It was a funny thing to observe, and I did not fully appreciate it until I had my own kiddos.

This painting reminds me that the kids learn to do things on their own but the learning process is sometimes hard and awkward.

Monday, February 25, 2019

On the Beach by Natasa Vretenar

My favorite thing to do is to spend time on the beach. I don't care if it is cold as long as I hear waves crashing on the shore and smell the ocean or sea. I was able to escape to the beach a couple of times so far - collected some shells, walked around and enjoyed every second tremendously!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

On a High Horse by Natasa Vretenar

I have hoped to see a lot of horses while visiting Ireland and so far my wish has come true! There are horse carriages all around Dublin pulled by the strong draft horses. We were also fortunate to see some wild ponies in the little village south of Dublin - they are sturdy and muscular looking, and a bit shorter than Irish cobs.

I am working on a series of sketches (work I do on the road tends to be small and I look at it as jotting down ideas that pop into my head). Usually these sketches turn into a series later down the line.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


I dream a lot, and in color. When I was younger I was a sleepwalker too. Maybe I still am but everyone in my family sleeps soundly and have not reported any incidents, except a few very engaged talking episodes. The moon cycle affects me tremendously.
The dreams were the most intense during my pregnancies. I wrote about them in my diaries, but I never have time to go back and look over my writings - life is so interesting, and challenging, and wonderful, and sometimes sad, and it is going by fast.

The Messenger of Immortality 12x24"