17/09/2013 07:49 BST | Updated 16/11/2013 05:12 GMT

A Glimpse Into an Artist's Life

Ana's Thought: "Millions find fulfillment in Art."


Detail from Ana Tzarev's Early Sunrise.

Curious-hearted artists of this generation are really lucky. In the past, those who wished to receive guidance in their craft needed to travel to the great cities for art, in the hope that masters would deign to instruct them. Creative communities were built, but many aspiring artists had to abandon the lives they knew to 'come into the fold'. Those who worked independently were often dealt the hand of isolation as they toiled to attain excellence.

Today, artists may have their cake and eat it, too. Though the importance of community to fledgling creative souls must never be devalued, we are now afforded the ability to grow and strengthen our work through the support of an international network. When distance threatens to divide, technology stitches up the gaps between us.

As an artist, I have been delighted to see that many like-minded creators have turned to social media to ask for my opinion on their work. Even more have submitted questions, seeking clarity about my creative process. In my life, I do not have any secrets to keep - the knowledge and experience I possess should be shared, so that others may carry it with them.

In this blog, I will address three questions recently sent to me through my Facebook page. I hope that my followers, readers, and hopeful creators will enjoy this glimpse into an artist's unique life.


When you look at a blank canvas, what do you think to create?

My ideas are born within my imagination's studio long before I set them to canvas. When the vision in my mind appears, I work out its details before a single daub of paint falls. I then select the canvas onto which I will transcribe my dream. For example, when I am moved to depict the gorgeous cherry blossoms that gift us with their fragrance in spring, I focus on the texture of their bark, the lightness of their petals, until I can feel within me the movements that will bring them to life. I then imagine their scale and find the suitable canvas to house them. Within my studio, I keep no fewer than 100 canvases to meet any need I have.


Detail from Ana Tzarev's Sky of Rose Diamonds.

To translate my vision into images, I create a rough sketch of what I see with charcoal. Gradually, I build the shapes and textures in layers and layers of paint. I squeeze pigment straight from the tube, blend with my fingers, and shape with brushes. To reflect the picture in my mind, each piece needs its own special combination of techniques.

How long does it take for you to create a painting?

The gestation period of a creative concept - the time between the mind's conception and the birth of a completed piece - varies greatly. There are three primary factors that affect this process in my work: the size of the piece, the importance of it (to me or to others), and how strong the flow of inspiration is within me.

If I am creating works as part of a series, the process is swift - each canvas runs fluidly into the next as the piece is completed. With individual paintings, all of my focus is reserved for the canvas before me, and the process of creation takes longer.

The nature of this development differs from artist to artist. Some may feel the movement and energy igniting their idea and simply must see it through! Others may spend years letting the idea formulate within them before they move to make their work - and may take years of coming and going to bring it into being.


Detail from Ana Tzarev's Blue Diamond.

What brand of paint do you use?

There are three brands of paint that I prefer above all others. Rembrandt creates a fantastic line of materials, and the brand is nearly always my top choice. I also favor Windsor & Newton and Sennelier, which are equally high quality paints. What brand I choose for a piece depends on its unique nature - and each kind offers different qualities of texture and hue within the colour spectrum.