Monthly Archives: January 2017

For my most recent project I've been drawing on Dura-Lar. It was suggested by another artist who has had excellent results with the stuff.

sneak peekI'm using the .005 matte film. Like with the vellum I used for previous projects, I drew my lines on one side and am building up values on the other. I like doing this because I can preserve my lines while adding values, and then obliterate the lines if and when I choose. It gives me more freedom to experiment with values.

various pencils, eraser, blending stump, paper towel, lead pointerThis particular piece has a foggy setting so I've been doing a lot of smearing and blending.

First I sprinkled the graphite dust from the Staedtler lead pointer (#1) onto the surface. (I figure the dust is there from sharpening my leads so why not use it for something fun).
Then I smeared it around with a paper towel (#2). This brand of towel has some texture so the smearing gave me interesting stripes and streaks. Totally a "happy accident". I also have been using the blending stump (#4) to move the graphite around.

#3 in the image is a B 2mm lead in a lead holder. I used that and an HB 2mm lead to do the line work.

#5 is an HB graphite stick. I hadn't been using it because on the paper I draw on this graphite stick leaves a light mark and I feel like I have to fight with it to build up values. For some reason I decided to give it a shot on the film and was pleasantly surprised by the lovely mid-value tone it left. I've sanded this one down to a chisel tip which is now rounded out from use.

#6 is a Creatacolor Nero etrasoft pencil. I'm using it for the deep accents of dark.

#7 is a General's Layout Extra Black No. 555. I'm using it for enhancing some of the darker values.

I've also tried the Derwent Drawing Ivory Black pencil. It leaves a lovely rich black on the Dura-Lar but the mark looks matte. The other tools leave shiny marks. I'll decide if I like that or not later. It not, I'll need to figure out how to make it look matte.

#8 is my well used nubbin of a kneaded eraser. I've also been using vinyl erasers. The other quality I'm liking about the Dura-Lar is that I can erase repeatedly and I haven't damaged the surface or creased the sheet.

Because of it's durability, I suspect if I create a real dud of a picture, I'm betting I could wipe it down and use it as a starting point for a new picture. That would be an interesting experiment.

I'm not saying this polyester film is the best thing ever. There are a lot of characteristics I'm liking such as that lovely surface that feels like I'm drawing on satin, and there are some things I'm not sure about because I don't have enough information (the environmental aspects of polyester vs. paper). You can make up your own mind. Here's a link to the Dura-Lar product page I purchased my pad from Wet Paint over in St. Paul.

Happy creating

sticky notes with ideas written on them arranged on a large white boardI run a color theory class at The Atelier. I've been wanting to create a Color 2 class for a while so I created some lessons and took myself though them to see if the takeaway for each one met my expectations of if I needed to make adjustments. Now I've been working on merging the Color 2 with the Color 1 lessons so both classes could be taught during the same time frame (hopefully they'll be separated next fall/winter).

But how the heck was I going to untangle all the ideas? I wanted the lessons to align thematically, one lesson to build on the other, and to utilize the class time in such a way that no one is left twiddling their thumbs.

Sticky notes to the rescue!

Each note has a lesson or theme written on it. We have 15 weeks to play with. Color 1 has 15 topics. Color 2 has about 7 or 8 but many of them have 2 parts. I think I have it sorted out. I'll let it sit for a bit and come back to it in a day or two to see if it still makes sense.

It's going to be a fun and interesting class. If you're curious about the class, feel free to email me:

Looking for an art class for fun? Art class for continuing your studies? Yes to both?

Art classes will start up again soon. Over in St. Paul, classes at The Art Acacemy, LLC start up the week of January 16. Over in Minneapolis, classes at The Atelier start up the week of January 23.

East of the River: at The Art Academy, LLC

The Art Academy is a lovely art school abuzz with all sorts of art classes for many ages. It is  located at 652 Snelling Ave. South, St. Paul, MN 55116, in a row of shops across from Arby's and next to the Mathnasium. Free off-street parking is available around back.

I'm very excited about how we've recreated this class! Check it out.

Imaginative Art Inspiration Space
Our Stress-Free Adult Creativity Class

digital painting of blue and purple water elemental with female head and torso and fish serpent tail playing a shell lyre with orange and red flames coming out of it by christine mitzuk
Water Elemental

Let’s face it; you probably became an artist because you have visual ideas bursting inside you:  Why wait to share them with the world?  What you really need most is a nurturing mentor with a track record of realized, enchanting images, who creates a safe, judgment-free workspace where you can loosen up, have fun and play.  Award-winning artist and illustrator Christine Mitzuk builds such a positive, relaxed environment whenever she teaches a class.  Her warm spirit will help you bring your most precious and inspired thoughts to artistic fruition.

Explore your creativity by developing an imaginative picture based upon an existing story that you select, or an idea that you originate. Work at your own pace to learn the time-honored steps of the creative, visual process – from idea generation, through preparatory work, to completed project. Emphasis will be placed on storytelling through composition and character development, as well as how color theory enhances visual communication. Students choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oils.

Starting WEDNESDAY Jan., 18,  8-9:30 PM, 8 weeks
To register for class at The Art Academy, LLC, visit the registration page.

West of the River:
at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art

My classes at The Atelier run for 15 weeks, with some time off for the Spring holiday.

The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art is a friendly little traditional art school located in Northeast Minneapolis, MN (a bit on the outskirts of Dinky Town). The school is on the second floor of a red brick warehouse on the corner of Stinson Blvd. and East Hennepin Ave. Free off-street parking is available.

Costumed Figure Drawing and Painting is Back!
(only offered during the winter-spring term)

digital painting of the astrological sign Leo by christine mitzuk to be used in Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar

This class offers the opportunity for hands-on learning in dealing with a costumed figure. Emphasis will be placed on the visible form, gesture, underlying structure, differing characteristics of fabric, and selecting from nature to create a visually pleasing picture. Using the sight-size method, students will develop a minimum of 3 costumed figure studies. This 15-week class will be broken into 3 five-week poses. Each pose will feature different costuming. Depending on skill level, students are welcome to work in pencil, charcoal, or oil paint.

Starting TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 4:15 - 6:45 PM
$250, 15 weeks.  Scroll down for registration information.

Portrait and Interior

portrait class at the atelier in minnesota

Students draw in charcoal and may progress to oil or pastels. The portrait model will be set within an interior. Advanced students can take advantage of the entire composition. Capturing the likeness is emphasized. Color and techniques in oil and pastel are covered.

Starting TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
OR THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
$250, 15 weeks. Instructors: Christine Mitzuk (Tues.) & Laura Tundel (Thurs.)
Scroll down for registration information.


Exploring Color: Color Theory and Color Mixing

Color Mixing Class - Paxton Palette ValuesExperience color hands-on through creating color boards, wheels, and value scales. Using the colors of The Atelier’s Paxton Palette, we will explore the attributes of color: hue, value, and chroma. Projects will be paced by order of completion and students will work at their own pace.

We’ll discuss the color wheel as it relates to painting with the Paxton Palette. Topics will also include mixing “mud”, Munsell and Gamblin color space, direct vs. indirect painting, color temperature, color harmony, color psychology, and a bit of color history. Plus we’ll demystify the information on paint labels.

Please contact me ( for what to bring to the first class. Supply list given after you are registered.

Starting THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 4:15 - 6:45 PM
(NOTE: the brochure lists the start date at Thursday, January 28.
We apologize for the confusion. The start date is Thursday, January 26).
$230, 15 weeks. Scroll down for registration information.


digital painting of earth elemental man with antlers surrounded by green flame playing the drum by christine mitzuk
Earth Elemental

Stretch your imagination! During this class, students will develop imaginative pieces based upon a story or individual ideas. We will move from idea generation to preparatory work and on to final art. Emphasis will be placed on composition, and storytelling. Students may choose to work in the medium with which they are comfortable. Christine has experience to support watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, or oil paint.

Starting THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 7:00 - 9:30 PM
15 weeks, $230
Scroll down for registration information.

Where's the Gesture Class?

The Costumed Figure Drawing and Painting is in the Gesture Class time slot. Fear not! The Gesture Class will be offered again during the summer session which starts about the middle of May.

Register for classes at The Atelier one of three ways:

Option 1: Call The Atelier at 612-362-8421. Main hours are 9am - 4pm Central Time or during evening classes. Please leave a message if you don't get a live person.
Option 2: Print out the registration form from the course catalog PDF.
Option 3: Contact me and I'll help you out,