I have been thinking about what an artist said in a workshop for quite some time now. He said something about don't paint another pretty picture, that's not art. Then a year later, a friend said how her husband is a serious art collector and will not let her buy this "pretty" piece of art because it is not art. It is not making a statement, it is not dark, it is not saying anything profound. She told me that what if she wants to have it because it makes her happy when she looks at it. Isn't that a feeling? Why does art have to only evoke dark emotions? I agreed with her and told her about the statement this artist made to our class. One day I posted a painting of butterflies and the words just came out as maybe I want to be a butterfly and fly away with them. I thought what does that mean, why did I say that? When I paint giant flowers and photograph flowers at odd angles I have literally thought what if I was so tiny that this flower was taller than me like Alice in Wonderland. I have literally laid on the ground to take photos of flowers from a viewpoint in the garden of only 3" above the ground to see what it feels like. That is called escapism. What if artists paint "pretty" paintings to escape. What are they escaping from? That can be very dark. What if an artist is moved to paint something "pretty"? Isn't that an appreciation of nature's beauty. Even a city scene crowded with people and the shadows on the ground. For me that is capturing people as one - all busy - hurrying together or the patio scenes I like to paint - I always want to be in my patio scenes under an umbrella, enjoying the luxury of time, time with friends, the gorgeous weather in a group setting with others doing the same. These are emotions and feelings that I like to experience and that is why I paint "pretty" paintings. Anytime I stop to take a photo of a flower, an aspen tree, shadows, I am saying to the busyness of the world, "Excuse me, I just noticed some beauty that I must document because it moves me."
Happy Spring to you! Almost. My work with butterflies has evolved into something I never imagined. About 5 -7 years ago I had imagined a watercolor of a multitude of butterflies flying all around with me in the center. I could never get it on paper. I have posted about this before. Trying to get the idea of a kaleidoscope (that is what a group of butterflies is called) of butterflies in flight. I started with butterflies on flowers, then went to butterflies in flight, then a single realistic butterfly, then single "watercolory" butterfly to now a kaleidoscope of butterflies in flight. Trying to capture the fluttering wings on video let alone paper is hard! I have been blessed now with noticing butterflies wherever I go. Sometimes they stay in my presence for so long, it is too much to video. My son and I had the pleasure of watching and video taping a beautiful butterfly in our garden feasting on the pollen in the flowers for over 20 minutes. He (the butterfly) was so happy with our garden. I think I wrote on my facebook page about what kind of flowers were in our garden that the butterflies like. I am pleased with what my art has evolved into at the moment. I thought it was interesting how it came about. I have posted some samples of the journey here with most recent first. Some have already sold from when I posted on instagram or facebook or at Cerulean Gallery. The others, plus new ones that have yet to be created will be at Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum April 28-30. Be sure to go because I, too, am like a butterfly, I never know where my wings will take me. I did not do Artscape last year because I was preparing for a gallery show. So come this year!!!!!
I was lucky or shall I say blessed or it was fate to be invited to join a group of people (artists) doing a study of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Yesterday I took the liberty to be decadent and treat myself to doing what I like best - laying out by the pool in the sun with a variety of books. I chose to read The Artist's Way. This month we are on Chapter 3. The first task was to write about and even draw your childhood room. Would you believe I have tears in my eyes right now. My room was beautiful. My mom always encouraged us to make beautiful things - gluing seashells on drift wood, covering glass bottles in tissue paper and melting crayons over it, decorating Christmas cookies to allowing us to rearrange the furniture. I was always rearranging the furniture in my room. With some left over paint that was the wrong color for the kitchen, I painted the walls of my bedroom while my parents were at work. I had to finish before they got home. Boy, that was the wrong color for the kitchen - it was the brightest bubble gum pink. In watercolor terms it was close to what Opera Rose looks like on the packaging of the tube. I wasn't quite finished when my mom came home and found me and my siblings in my room hard at work painting. She was alarmed, but didn't get mad. So I continued on those summer days while my mom was at work to paint my room. I painted the base board and a faux crown molding in a gorgeous satin blue as in a baby blue satin ribbon, an elegant silver baby blue. I always wanted French doors so I turned my closet door into a French door by painting the panes of the door (a french blue) and beside it on the wall was the mate - opened out to my gorgeous garden. First time to draw in perspective without even knowing the word perspective. I painted a large grey stone patio with an iron table and two chairs and flowers that bordered the patio (later in life long after this was forgotten, I would have a large stone patio made of beautiful Pennsylvania blue stone, which was the same color of grey as in my mural). A large green lawn and so many trees as if I lived on the edge of a forest. Before the edge of the trees was a stream with a white swan peacefully and elegantly floating in the water. A large raised terrace with a French balustrade was on the other side of the creek. Of course, I painted a small wood bridge to cross over to the terrace's grand staircase where large parties with dancing under the stars took place. If you were to see my yard now, it is covered with so many trees it is impossible to have grass grow. I don't have a stream with a swan, but, there is a pool with a fountain and many bright colored floats. And the flowers, the flowers! The pool is surrounded by perennials spilling over into the pool, the patio and pool deck are bordered with yellow lantana, blue salvia, pink salvia, pink and orange zinnias, dainty little white creeping zinnia, yellow mexican zinnia, purple and white heather and my favorite, Russian sage. Six pots around the pool with Knock out rose topiaries and lavender and white verbena and scaviola spilling over the pots. Red roses climb up the house with beautiful scented star jasmine. Rosemary, mint and basil have a spot, too. When I take a moment, I see the ladybugs, catepillars, butterflies, red cardinals and yesterday I saw a dragonfly sitting on a dying rose branch. I did not run in to get my camera. I chose to just stay and watch the dragon fly who did not seem to be doing anything but sitting on the branch. Then I noticed my dog standing at one of the pots looking at me and telling me to look up. In the topiary, a nest of 3 baby cardinals!!!!
The mural I painted as a child is a reality now. It somehow came out over time through my subconscious. Had I not read Chapter 3 of The Artist's Way, I would have never remembered that mural. How did I get the idea for that mural? A white swan? One closet door turned into a French door, my current house has 10 sets of French doors. This makes me so emotional. I never intentionally intended on having French doors. It seems as though this all just came about... or did it. Is it that artist stuffed way down in there trying to come out? It for sure makes me feel small and not in control. It humbles me. So I never got to the point of letting the artist in you come out. I have more to tell you... next time. But, for now, this explains why I paint the butterflies and flowers. The next time will be about my obsession with color. For the meantime, whether you are an artist or not, do Task #1 of Chapter 3 in The Artist's Way: Remember your childhood bedroom, write about what it looked like, even draw a picture.
Today I am prompted by a conversation I had with a photographer and also a fashion designer's post. I met the photographer at a reception for my art show. She asked me many questions about my art, each piece, about color, subject and in particular, composition. As we discussed the different pieces, I thought, "this is a process that I want my viewers to know about." Then I saw a post by fashion designer, Dahn Ta, mentioning that everybody wants to be part of the end result but is unaware of the process and doesn't want to be included in the process. This post was regarding him staying up late to sew his pieces together in time for a show. Often, in my blog, I have mentioned how I stopped the car, stopped my walk, stopped skiing (even with a group of people) to take a photo (which turns into several) of something that inspires me. For some reason, I always want to be completely surrounded by the "thing" whatever the thing is - red roses, white tulips, butterflies, aspen trees, busy street scenes. I want this "thing" to be all around me including in my peripheral vision. (Any psychologists out there, I would love to hear what this desire is all about). The first memory I have of this desire is when I was a senior in high school in my drafting class. Our assignment was to design a pool and deck. I designed a large round pool with a steps in an angular area outside of the circle, basically in the shape of the Shell Oil seashell. Mr. Llamas, my teacher, asked why did I do this. I replied, "I want to be in the middle of the pool with water all around me, lots and lots of aqual water."
Years later this idea continued in my head subconsciously, until recently. As I told the photographer, when I pull over to take a picture of the tulips, the photo doesn't look how I see it. I pulled over because I saw a bunch of white tulips, so many white tulips, but in the photos they look like a puny garden. This is not entirely because of my photography skills, I have the photos here to show you. With the photos below, I decided to make my composition what I thought I saw or what I wanted to see.
From the road, it looks like a lot of tulips, but,
It has been a busy 9 months. As you know, I have been designing silk scarves using my art work. For summer, I decided to to these fabulous large wraps. The hottest new trend found in all of the fancy stores. Shown here are is my favorite seashell painting that I love too much to sell as well as my Bali painting on wraps. They can be tied around your waist to use as a swimsuit cover up or on wrap on your shoulders for cool nights dining al fresco. The fabric is sooooooo soft you can double it up around your neck, too, or fold it up so tiny it can fit in your purse! I love these wraps for their functionality and the fact that it makes it so easy to share my art with my peeps! I am so appreciative for all of my fabulous supporters who love my scarves!!!!
Have your very own Liana Yarckin scarf: Order here
Artists, you can have your beautiful paintings on scarves too! I offer this option on my website.
To see all of the latest pics and other projects I have been working on visit me on my facebook page:
Detail of mosaic, Ring of Gratitude and Bell Tower
Presentation to Founding Member of Thanksgiving Square
Thanksgiving Square Chapel designed by Philip Johnson
Stained glass ceiling "Glory Window" designed by Gabriel Loire
Ring of Gratitude and Bell Tower in the foreground
with the Wall of Praise
Things do come full circle. This is a project I worked on in the fall, but, had to keep a secret until it was presented. The piece above was commissioned to give to Peter Stewart, one of the founding members of Thanksgiving Square. I worked with the members of the Board to create a piece of Thanksgiving Square.
I had first visited Thanksgiving Square while attending Texas A&M University. I cannot remember if it was on the Career Horizons program or later on a college field trip. When I was looking through the eye of the camera to take this aerial, I remembered my professor's voice telling me to make sure to emphasize the light on the top of the spiral. The field trip came back to me like it was yesterday. I remember being in awe of the beautiful spiral ceiling with the light shining through all of the colors of the stained glass. Whether it was in 1985 or 1987, here I was in 2015, with the great honor of being able to work on this very special project.
After touring the site and listening to what the Board members desired, I wanted to create a piece that encompassed the experience of walking through the site. Important elements were: "Give joyful thanks at all times to God," the Ring of Gratitude, the Bell Tower, a mosaic based on Norman Rockwall's "The Golden Rule," the chapel itself which is so iconic, the stained glass and the etching of the dove.
The background is textured to represent the stained glass. I put the emphasis on the quote that is important to Mr. Stuart by placing it across the page. I loved the design of the building and in previous studies I had beautiful watercolorings showing the curve of the building and the spiral, but, while going through the process of the design, the elevation of the building came about as a pure and stable icon with no other detail necessary. Since the idea of Thanksgiving Square has been something that man (man everywhere all over the world, no matter what race) have strived for through out time, I wanted the images of the Bell Tower, the mosaic and the person walking through the Ring of Gratitude to look like memories or images from a dream. These are recordings of experiences that have happened over time and more of these "memory slides" of people walking through the Ring of Gratitude towards the chapel can happen, it can be any of us in that "memory slide" walking to what Thanksgiving Square stands for. In the upper corner I represented the etching, by Gabriel Loire, which is in the chapel, to remind us of peace and love.
The presentation was so touching. I met an amazing group of people. I was touched, inspired and honored to be part of this project. I was lucky to get to go to the National Day of Prayer luncheon, a Thanksgiving Square annual event. There is so much more I can write. But, I encourage you to learn more about this amazing place, Thanksgiving Square, by visiting their website and getting involved. If you are lucky enough to be in Dallas, go and visit. There are restaurants close by and I think soon, they will have tables in the garden. Take your kids, it is a beautiful experience of peace and innocence. There is something for all of the senses. My favorite part is watching the little kids reading the Wall of Praise and playing around the Ring of Gratitude. We were all born with sweetness and innocence....
"Those who worked on what is now known as Thanks-Giving Square, emphasizing “giving and living thanks,” helped make Dallas one of the few cities to witness the unification of races without violence." from the website.
This spring I will be teaching two classes at the Dallas arboretum. One is a one day class focusing on roses. The other is a first time and highly requested 3-day workshop painting plein air in the absolutely gorgeous setting of the Dallas Arboretum! Don't wait for next time, sign up now.
Rose Class - May 7
Plein Air workshop - May 23-25
The class sizes are small enough so that everyone at all levels gets individual attention.
Comments from former students: "Liana is not just a talented artist, but a gifted teacher with the ability to explain her technique so that even the novice student can learn. I enjoyed her class so much and improved my watercolor skills tremendously." - MG “ If you are looking to enhance your watercolor painting skills, I would suggest you consider Liana Yarkin. Liana has developed an identity of using bright, light filled, soft colors in her ensemble of plein air paintings. If you need someone to encourage you to the next step in your skill set, your help will come from a lovely lady with a smile behind every comment. Her instruction and demonstrations will include thought provoking ways to bring out the best in one’s ability regardless of prior water color experience. If things are not going right, encouragement is not far behind. I have witnessed her to help someone whose initial attempt was absolutely awful, ( no kidding), where soon a lemon was transformed into lemonade. ”
New designs for note cards plus the favorite State Fair Series
I have been busy completing commissions for Christmas deadlines and birthdays! It is so hard for me to not post the photos of the completed work, but, I will be able to do so after December.
Anyone can order a scarf via my website www.lianayarckin.com if you need one for a Christmas gift. Locals, I will have an Open Studio in my Home Gallery this Friday 1-3, Saturday, 10-2. You can pick up a scarf, note cards, prints and more! Get that hard to buy for checked off your list!!!!