My (Alexandra Cook aka Linandara) daily art activity

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Eve

Here is a mixed media artwork of mine I did (and sold) a couple of years ago filling opposed to commercialization and secularization of Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Latest sales

Two recently sold artworks:

St Michael church in Breaston, Derbyshire in pastel (gone to Switzerland)


and Approaching Storm in acrylic.



Thursday, 11 December 2008

Star Wars ACEO


Four more images are ready for my ACEO commission.
About the drawing on the bottom right - "It is impossible!" was the first phrase I ever learned in English.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

White Horse

This painting (size A4) is on the way to Germany now.

I'm working on a Martian landscape in acrylic and multiple ACEO commission at the moment. The work is progressing slowly as I'm more interested in few writing projects. I seems to oscillate between various creative activities and hardly can make myself do something which my heart doesn't want at the moment. I am often angry at myself for that but haven't find the cure yet.

Non-creative activities like cleaning & washing are always at the bottom of my list. I am a horrible housewife!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Newtown Hills

And a new addition to the Ebay shop:


The September certainly was a very productive this year - thanks to the good weather.

I did this from my garden, but moved some of my neighbours' houses and turned the hills into the mountains.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280289498708

"Dawn" in pen & ink and pencil


The latest addition to my Etsy shop. I've got a friend who does stunts for movies in Russia and she kindly sent me a reference photo for this artwork some time ago.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17845046

By the way Etsy does looks so much nicer for an artist than Ebay, but there is a small problem: nothing seems to sell so far...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Zazzle

I've spent some time in Zazzle - don't know if this going work at all but I'm willing to try.




http://www.zazzle.com/utl/getpanel?tl=My+Zazzle+Panel&at=238747805719622924&cn=238747805719622924&st=date_created" FlashVars="feedId=0&path=http://www.zazzle.com/assets/swf/zp/skins" width="450" height="300" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash">
http://www.zazzle.com/">make custom gifts at http://www.zazzle.com/">Zazzle>

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Friday, 21 November 2008

Farewell to two more pictures

That's it, time to pack them as they have been sold. Both are fantasy works in acrylic. The first one is Observation Point, the second is the Shinning World. It is always a bit sad to say farewell to artwork, but then I haven't got enough space to hung all my paintings anyway plus it would be really great if somebody else could enjoy them too. And I hope to buy a second hand violin for Christmas for my daughter with the money. I had a real barter recently when somebody from an organic shop bought a sketch of mine. So I exchanged it for a packet of tofu. Marvelous!


The idea for the first picture came from a photo of my friends and colleagues overlooking a submarine port in the Crimea. The second one was inspired by a photo of my great auntie (a ballet dancer) as a girl.






Thursday, 20 November 2008

Wolf charmer or "Mike with Wolves"




Two more drawings. First one (my favorite) has been sold, the second one I've just put on sale on Ebay.
Two attempts to illustrate the first scene from my book "The Return" in Russian. I am working on this series of illustrations first creating 3D models of my characters, props and landscape, then drawing everything "traditional" way, by hand.


Two still life photos with a story

I've found a couple of photos from few years ago. There were some trouble in Russia and I felt very upset, particularly because the media here in UK, instead of being just a little bit compassionate, was using this for anti-Russian political propaganda. And then a kind elderly lady next door just brought me the carnation flowers. She died soon after that. (Just mapping my life)



Think, girl!

A fragment from a sketch I did a couple of years ago

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=280287379969&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=018

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Sketching

I've managed to do a bit of sketching today (apart from shopping, bread- and yogurt-making and other cooking, taking kids to school and back). I was trying to capture what's left of golden leaves on silver birches, oaks and hazelnut trees.



Also I'm packing and sending away an acrylic painting I've sold recently. It features Thai houses and was based on a photo I took from a taxi window on Phuket Island many years ago.
(Sometime if I don't write down what I actually did today, I feel like time slipped through my fingers).

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Current project (commision)

ACEO cards with movie themes. 4 done or almost done, nine to go.

Zazzle

I've found a new outlet for my art:
http://www.zazzle.com/linandara/gifts

Its a bit like Lulu but more fun: you can order a lots of items with custom pictures on them. Unfortunately I think they only ship in the USA.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2008 in Wolverhampton

I've seen this exhibition recently
http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh_gfx_en/ART56726.html
http://www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk/wolves/exhibitions/003715.html
http://www.npg.org.uk/live/bp2008index.asp

Lots of good art - painterly, skill full and thought-full portraits. For example, Lliana by Krasimir Kolev, Amanda Smith at Vincent Avenue by Simon Davis, Kristy, 3rd Attempt by Geert Schless, Natalie by Jason Walker, Her Name Is Rio by Lucie Cookson, Blue Pool (Datuk Vinod Sekhar Family) by Paul Benney (kids favorite - swimming pool), Melanie by Jackie Anderson (my favorite - a lady in fog).

But two tendencies a bit upset me. First, quite a number of works looked just like good resolution professional photos blown up on canvas. (E.g. Untitled by Peiyuan Jiang - Young Artist Award; Metamorphosis by José Luis Corella Garcia (I actually like the picture), Meralby Joanna Yates). Whats a point of painting then? The eye sees differently to the camera lens anyway. The only case (in my opinion) when photorealistic style really works its when there is no way that you can actually take picture of the subject (if its from the past or from fantasy)

Secondly, there is that hint of admiration of ugliness, illness and injury in some works (like in Sunny Jim by Sue Burns, Hannah O'Brien by Robert O'Brien). I don't mean at all that only classically beautiful people should be painted. But I always thought that the good portrait artist should try to find inner beauty and kindness in any subject. Unless the artist wants to offend or humiliate somebody (including themselves).

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Meeting

I've stumbled upon an interesting photo from 2 or 3 years ago in my archive. Its from a medieval Robin Hood Pageant in Nottingham where different times and cultures meet. Not at all that I am advocating for this but I think people often forget that there was a tradition in Europe for women to cover their heads with scarfs and hats.

Friday, 14 November 2008

It was a nice day. I've sold a picture I did in my garden September (moving few hills and houses around). And yesterday I had a call from a repair shop saying my broken PDA has been fixed!
So, another trip to the city is imminent. Last week when we went here I was astonished how city life is strange to me now. And I spent most of my life in cities. Crowds, bad air, rubbish & graffiti... But the choice of things in shops is so much better. Just as well we can't carry much without a car! Anyway, I'm happy I can see so much sky and green hills from my porch now.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Autumn in Newtown

Here's another picture from my Newtown, Powys, Wales. I did it sitting by the river Hafren (Severn), in this September. The colours of fall are more muted in Britain than in Virginia, Vladivostok or Moscow, but it is still the most beautiful time of the year - in my opinion. The combination of golden brown leaves and emerald green grass is stunning.

The painting is available from Etsy:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17268017

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Reference photos

All my photos in this blog, my Russian blog, Picasa or Flikr are OK to use as an artist reference (for paintings, sketches, drawings). I'm not greedy (well not too greedy, I hope). I would love to see what you do with them but of course it's not mandatory. I normally take only low resolution pictures because they are good enough as reference for my artwork and I can take really a lot of them.

There is a good reference library at
http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/
but you have to be a member (its free) to save images.

I can't remember where I took this. Must be in a castle in England.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Goblet / Chalice fantasy art work

Here's one of my first oil pastels - few years old by now. I haven't got a place for it at home, so selling for a symbolical price at Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17136882

I even thought of destroying it, but I just can't. I still like the picture even though I moved forward a lot since that. I did it dreaming of a light pastel & silver colored dining room in something like Cloud City's from Star Wars style. I don't know if we ever will have a room like this...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Recent art & lots of trouble

I made yet another beach sketch in Mundesley, Norfolk (I love the place!) when we were on holidays. But that's about it. I haven't had a chance to work much on my commissions or in fact any other serious job partly because of school holidays, partly because a strip of bad luck. First, my smartphone broke down and I lost quite a lot of data (look here if you want to avoid my mistake in Windows Outlook: http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/en-us/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.outlook.contacts&mid=b4b0cc4a-e9ca-437c-a816-55e8a036f5f9 ). Second, my son got ill with a cold or something else. Third we had a pipe leak in the middle of kitchen celling. Plus a gloomy weather & economic situation. Plus my husband radio interview got cancelled. There probably was something else, I can't remember right now.


Anyway, we had some fun on Firework night:

Monday, 3 November 2008

More Newtown ACEOs

http://picasaweb.google.com/Linandara/NewtownLandscape#

Some of my Newtown, Powys plein air ACEO card/miniatures.

Textile art with the TV.

Here is one of the examples:
I watch TV just 1 -1.5 hours a day, in the evening. Even so, I feel its a waste of time if I don't do anything else in parallel. So I'm recycling fabric and make something (usually improvising). Most toys end up in kids rooms but few go for sale. This one is called Cheburaha and is available from Etsy.

There was just a few minutes of sunlight today to take the picture. The afternoon was incredibly gloomy...

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16873264

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Shy artist dream...

I wish somebody could give me spy sunglasses with a camera. There are so many interesting faces and expressions around me - I wish to paint them so much. But the people wouldn't like me to play paparazzi... Pda is too obvious. I just have to wait for technology to catch up with the dream...

Thanks goodness, people haven't copywrited their faces yet...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Recent art


Here are two more samples of my recent oil pastels. Both A4, resulted from random encounters on the Web. The landscape "Warm Lake" has been sold on Ebay for about 10 quid. The nude is still available from Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16271026).

Random Images 1

Sometimes I'm lucky to see real beauty right from my window. That's how the American winter landscape on the left has been made.

I do take hundreds of photos every time I go out in hope that one day I can use them for my artwork. They constantly appear in random order on my desktop.

My wild imagination and dreams often bring me vivid pictures worth painting.

I like using 3D modelling for creating landscapes and/or people to paint later.

I also feel its fine to be inspired by random photos in books, newspapers, on the web, in movies. After all, I'm not copying them photorealistically, merely interpreting. Artist Pablo Picasso said "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." And, of course, all artists & photographers steal from God a bit... Poor Van Gogh copied his favorite artists when couldn't afford live models.

Last, I sometimes do copies of historic art from all over the World to learn about old masters approach.

Random Images

I love finding inexpected inspirations for paintings all around me. If I have a chance, I'm going wandering with my sketch kit outside. Here are two examples out of a series of ACEO miniatures I did during this spring in Newtown, Powys.

Three Things you should Never do to an Artist...

From my own experience & what other artists told me:

- Never say "you have talent". For many artists it translates into "you don't work hard - just use your talent every time".

- Your painting is very good: it looks almost like a photograph... (then whats a point of doing a painting???)

- Never give to an artist an artwork of another artist as a gift unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure he or she will like it. Just ask! We lot have normally very strong preferences in art!

PS. Personally I found patronizing words like "clever girl" be real killers...

2009 Calendars from the Distant Lands...

There still is time to order calendars with my artwork at Lulu.com. I think they will make an unusual present - not many of them around anyway. Full previews available. I maybe even manage to make a couple more till New Year - Britain & People.


Distant Lands by A.Cook by Alexandra Cook
Welcome to the Distant Lands! Fifteen of my artworks (mostly seasonal landscapes) are included in this 2009 14-month calendar. It has British & Christian holidays (could be changed - just send me a message). I hope you'll enjoy it!(26 pages ) Paperback: £9.97

Fantasy Lands by A.Cook
by Alexandra Cook
This it 14 months 2009 calendar illustrated with my fantasy artwork. It contain British holidays (this could be changed - just send me a message). I hope you will enjoy it. (26 pages ) Paperback: £9.97

My Russia by A.Cook My Russia by A.Cook
Print: £12.49 (with postage in the UK)
This is 14-month calendar for 2009 illustrated with my own paintings and drawings dedicated to landscapes, people and buildings of my native Russia. Contains British and some Orthodox holidays. If you would like other / custom holidays please let me know before buying and I'll create additional version for you. I hope you'll enjoy my calendar!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Any artists from Newtown, Powys? Lets start a group!

I moved to Newtown about a year ago but haven't met any local artists yet.
I used to belong to the Nottingham Society of Artists (http://www.nottinghamartists.org.uk/) and a local Art Club (http://www.ledac.org.uk/index.htm) in my old place. Couldn't find anything here (maybe there is a group?). We don't drive (eco-friendly) so I can't really go to nearby towns to join their groups.
Ideally I would love to be a member of an open-minded & friendly all-media & style art group (club, society, association) with an aim to actively help each other improve they work, exibit it and, of course, sell it. Also get painting outside together. Let me know if anybody else interested.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

An Art Gallery

Just wanted to write down few thoughts about a local art gallery (Oriel Davies)
http://www.orieldavies.org/

Small quiet town, not really much arty folk around... Exhibitions in the gallery are mostly very -very - very weird (strange). I love experiment and feeling of strangeness - as just one side of creativity. But why poor people have to think that only this is ART? Where are simply local artists? There was an "open" exhibition with entrance fee I couldn't afford... Where anyway are works which somebody could have in ordinary comfortable home and simply enjoy them? I know there is good art created right now - look in International Artist Magazine (http://www.international-artist.com/iam/overview.aspx), for example. Who profits from promotion of weird and disgusting in art? Why feeling of peace and happiness in art is ignored?

My novell

I've sold the first copy of my Russian novel few days ago.
http://www.lulu.com/content/741519
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/THE-RETURN-Science-Fiction-E-Novell-in-Russian-A-Cook


I'm thinking of translating it to English, widening the story at the same time, but have to find somebody to review it first...

Recent art





Marshland and Kids with Pond. As you can see, at the moment I'm very much into painting in oil pastels and influenced by Vincent van Gogh (have been reading about him half of the summer). The image on the right inspired by a scene in my garden (Pond, hills&kids:Original Oil Pastel Painting by A.Cook). The one on the left is very loosely based on a picture from a Baltic wild nature book (Marshland in early spring - Original oil pastel painting). Both are still available.