Michael Britton

Portrait Drawing Lessons - Learn to draw portraits

Portrait Drawing Lessons - Blog

November 2013

Tatjana Mirkov-Pokovicki | Resilience & Focus

When teaching studio art there are joys and frustrations like any occupation.

I have always believed that it is my responsibility to pass on the traditional knowledge and skills that I was so fortunate to receive during my years in art school, from many fine teachers, and that I have acquired from a lifetime of studio practice.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, Portrait Study, Watercolor

These principles and practices have been passed down through the centuries and are time-tested methods of learning how to draw and paint realistically; but are rarely taught at today’s modern art schools.

Previously I taught in the classroom limited in time and students, but now thanks the advances in technology, I am able to teach students in all reaches of the globe and share this information through this newsletter and through our instant download workshops.

One of the great joys of teaching adult-education, is when you are fortunate to come across those truly dedicated students who are committed and serious about their art no matter what their age; students who are passionate about learning their craft and understand the sacrifice and time it takes to develop their skills and are willing to make the effort required to achieve their goals.

These students usually recognize something in the teacher’s work that resonates with what they wish to create themselves, and they are willing to try what you ask of them, rather than protest with reasons and excuses for why it won't. They are a sheer pleasure to teach and they quietly work away until they see results. They have the qualities of resilience and focus.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki was just such a student of mine.

Despite her success as a professional award-winning artist, Tatjana still keeps in touch through the Drawing Ezine and lets us know what she is up to. We are sure you will enjoy sharing in her journey and success and be encouraged and inspired to continue in your own.

In her own words

I discovered and fell in love with Canadian Pacific North West in 1994, when I immigrated to Canada and made my home in Vancouver area, in BC.

My childhood in a small charming mid-European town overlooking river Danube was filled with reading and drawing. The years of growing up, however, took a direction of science, ending up with a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering.

Immigration to Canada and a career in technology took a significant part of my life. After many years of my internal artist being bottled up, it was the high time for the "real me" to get unleashed. I took intensive art training in the Vancouver Art Academy from 1998 to 2002, which opened up the magical door of art to me.

I joined the Federation of Canadian Artists in 2002 and became actively involved in the art community. After several years of serving on the FCA Board of Directors, I have been elected the President in 2008. I am a senior member of the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists since 2005 and a senior member of the FCA since 2009. My work has been exhibited and collected since 2002.

In my art, I explore the past and present worlds and connections between them.

While painting a landscape, my goal is to record, overstate and interpret what I find especially beautiful, in my own way. I like to use a variety of tools to express my ideas: emphasized brushwork, color dissonance and harmony, directive linear elements, variations in the texture of the paint. This variety relates to the abundance of varieties found in the nature. Landscape is a strong and humbling subject; it often resists being captured on a piece of canvas and it plays many tricks with the artist. We can never win, but only take what the landscape agrees to give, and supplement the rest with our own imagination.

In my portraits, I explore the world of timeless values, beauty of the human body, landscape of the face. I take a long time to create these images, savoring their emergence from hundreds of thin layers of graphite, crayon or watercolor. Only natural materials are used - earthy pigments, rug paper, crayon made from clay, charcoal and graphite. Thanks to my beautiful models, these paintings carry messages sent from the ancient times to the today’s world. The messages hidden in shapes and gestures of the body, symbolic meanings of colors, reminders of stories passed on from our ancestors.

The road of art is long , and the journey is full of delights. For all this happiness I thank my best friend, my supporter, my mentor, my model, my great love forever, my husband Sinisa.

My paintings are an invitation to you to share the joy of art.

Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, Head Dress, Watercolor

Tatjana has achieved a very high level of skill in both painting and drawing the figure and portrait and in developing her own personal style. For those of you who have watched my Painting the Figure in Watercolour Workshop you will be privy to the multiple layered techniques that Tatjana has used here to create her realist, award winning watercolours.

Watercolour is often thought to be a very difficult medium to control but only if you paint using an out-of-control method such as wet on wet which is more difficult to tame than say the wet on dry glazing approach used here. It will also be more difficult to control until you gain a certain mastery of materials and colour theory as with all painting mediums.

Needless to say a successful watercolor, or any painting for that matter, depends fully on your having strong drawing skills. And every teacher worth their salt says this: You have to learn how to draw before you can paint.

Some final words from Tatjana

Over the three years in which I attended Michael Britton's art classes, a whole new world of art has been presented and opened to me. Michael has developed an excellent structure of classes teaching essential skills and developing a meaningful, rich artistic context in the work of his students.

Equally, if not more valuable was Michael's utmost attention to the context of our art - it's place in the overall world of art, considering works created centuries ago till the modern days. Students have been encouraged to learn their craft, research the world of art, and finally find their own voice.

Michael's emphasis on the long, but rewarding process of turning student's potentials into skills is unique, and it proved invaluable for me. Michael doesn't allow for shortcuts and shortfalls - he demands his students to follow the process and always reach for their best, just the way he does - teaching by his own example.

Tatjana Mirkov Popovicki

Vancouver, BC Canada

If you would like to see more of Tatjana's impressive range of art work visit her website.

Share this article with your friends & fellow artists

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