artist struggles

Putting power into the magic wand of an artist! Teaching color

Working with color for most artists is the foundation of our work. Color dictates the tone, mood and message of your concepts and ideas. It is one of the first elements in a piece that can capture the viewer even before one starts to think about what they are seeing. It can transform separate pieces into one, it can create light, dimension, emotion, language and memories. For artists particularly ones in the beginning stages of their career this can be the making or breaking of your work.

As a teaching artist it is my absolute favorite thing to teach. I feel as though I am giving my students the powers to their magic wand! I teach color mixing and theory to students of all ages and stages in their work. I truly feel it is beneficial to all artists to take a step back and work just on color.
My younger students are engaged and excited as the lesson progresses. They find it fun and challenging to create an endless color palette from their primary colors. While my adult students sometimes forget what they may already know and may have slipped back in their mind, often from deeply concentrating on concepts and ideas during their struggles to perfect their images. I have several techniques and practices I teach; how to mix paint, making a variety of colors without breaking the bank, basic colors vs. intermediate/sophisticated colors and paint, choosing color palettes, and practicing, cataloging and creating a color journal for reference. For the more advanced student I go further in-depth with advanced color palettes and tubes and tools one should have in their toolbox, as well as mediums, paint types, brands and surfaces. My love for art, art materials and teaching are a perfect combination for a winning lesson in color!


Private lessons in my studio or your home are available.
Contact me if you are interested. Lessons are with acrylic paint.
Price is based on individual students. (place, materials to be covered, length of lessons etc)

New work… The Artist process.. Lots of Abstract Painting


I’ve taken some time off this summer from teaching to focus on myself. I have been going off into new directions with my work, and I’m enjoying working with different mediums and allowing for a freedom with my artistic expression. I struggle with staying focused and with feeling this dire need to have a cohesive body of finished work. I have noticed although I am straying a bit in several directions, when I view my artwork together, it is actually making for a more interesting body of work. There is definitely a style of sorts and I actually haven’t strayed too much from my usual concepts. I have maybe added to them and combined some ideas. At times I feel I have been a bit all over the place, but I am working on new forms and processes of drawing, painting and mark making. Although I do not feel I have reached the level I would like to with this recent work I am happy with where it is at the moment. The biggest challenge is to not get unmotivated, discouraged or bored with the work in order to keep it moving forward.


See my work in Philly!

Green Line Café is delighted to present “ Delicate Abstractions ” a solo exhibition by NYC artist Maria Alekseev a printmaker, painter and teaching artist.

Delicate Abstractions: From The Abstract, Form Emerges” is an ongoing exploration of nature and form, as well as a constant love affair with materials and process.

“The form and the process must always be connected to the psychological” Louise Bourgeois

 Maria’s artwork is focused and inspired by nature, biological forms and patterns, the anatomy of the human body and our emotions; combined with color, line, and materials. Thoughts such as the apprehension of the unknown, undiscovered and the unfamiliar and things we struggle to grasp that the earth gives us… our skin, its vulnerability. The vulnerability and decay of nature and within our bodies. Everything she does relates to nature.

“I am intrigued by the concept of hybridization; the fusing of biological forms that at first glance appear to be unrelated. I enjoy contrast something we know as beautiful and combining elements that may be off-putting or less expected. I am also totally in love with the materials I use, and the processes in which I use them.

As an abstract artist I sees things very conceptually. Beauty in a way of images being broken down and reassembled. Taking an area within view or imagined and recreating it as a new and enlightened image. Recreating and recombining nature’s patterns, making them even more beautiful and unique. Making them appear in ways that maybe nature intended them to be or not. Without nature there wouldn’t be art. I feel my work shows us nature’s beauty as well as it’s vulnerability and ugliness; it’s complexities and its similarities while intersecting the ideas of the familiar and the unknown.”

In this show you will see a variety of materials. “This work began with my studying printmaking at Pratt Institute and has evolved since. Some included are etching, latex, handmade papers, watercolor, inks and unprimed canvas, which I adore. The rawness of paper and unprimed canvas really sets the tone for me every time. Most recently I have begun to add visuals and ideas about the circus! This is where I am headed now and can be seen in my most recent painting titled “Reaching Out to New Horizons.”


Green Line Café
Powelton Village location
3649 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia

 Maria Alekseev

Delicate Abstractions is on view May/June 2015

Artist on Overload, It’s all business

Image Maria Alekseev 2015 Series: My Words. My Gifts.. Original Painting is without added text.

So previously I expressed some of my thoughts having to do with feeling creatively overloaded. There is another whole topic of being overwhelmed, and it is the business side of being an artist. As an artist we have to be a graphic designer, a web designer, a marketing genius, a social media guru, photographer, writer, editor, critic, secretary, framer and the list goes on. I’m often struggling with promoting my work and myself. I actually feel like my work is quite decent and not many artists can say that out loud! For me a lot of my downfall is my lack of networking and marketing. I am also extremely not social and do not enjoy chitchat and trekking to the city to talk to strangers. Don’t get me wrong I am professional, friendly, knowledgeable in the contemporary art realm and can carry a conversation and job quite well, but this burden artists have to be a social and networking butterfly is one I just do not like to engage in.
I have made a lot of recent progress starting with a new logo design, business card, website redesign (still in progress), separate artist Instagram account and Facebook page. Yet every day I find myself adding more and more to a “To do” list already a mile long. Keeping up with social media as a way of promotion is rough. The constant need to engage and interact with comments and posts with my current audience, as well as create content for new fans can be a full time job in itself. I am not the type of artist that does these paintings a day or drawing a day gigs that I see some have created for themselves. Why? Well honestly making work does not come that easy to me. Every doodle and mark I make is excruciatingly painful. I often have ideas but still don’t find enough motivation to run into the studio and do them. And too often I start work and do not finish it. This is another post in itself.
So there is this constant need to involve my audience which although currently feels rather small or like I am talking to myself, doesn’t really matter because I have to work hard be it 10 fans or 10,000.
My website still needs a lot of work, sections updated and features added. I honestly wish I could just use all my energy to make work, yet I cant help feeling like if no one cares about the work I already made then well why make more? And the answer which keeps me going and creating is, I know I can still top myself and until I do my best I will not give up! And I am pretty damn proud of my current work and have seen vast improvement. I also think it is unique, distinctive and has a beautiful feminine quality which makes me feel peace, and well feminine.
Check out the About section of my site to read my Artist Statement. (ha! Another thing that needs updating!)

Artist on overload

image: 2015 Series: My words, My Gifts..
image: Maria Alekseev 2015 Series: My words, My Gifts…

As an artist I tend to often feel overwhelmed, astounded, overloaded yet passionate, free and joy. When you can find an immeasurable interest, curiosity and beauty in so many things, your daily life feels like a constant research project!

Learning, analyzing, dissecting, questioning, looking, absorbing, it never ends! It is everywhere you go and impossible to turn off. Imagine going to a college class 24 hours a day, that is the simplest way I can define it.


Then we have a trip to a museum! Oh boy! The joyous and dreaded museum visit! Although museums of course are one of my favorite places to visit, I have to be very ready for such a day. Artists don’t simply go to the museum and go look at some paintings. It is all of the earning, analyzing, dissecting, questioning, looking, absorbing I just describe plus a whole lot more. This is where the responsive and emotional facet comes in, paired with the wrenching soul searching, self-doubt and self worth. The rethinking, relearning, re-dissecting everything you thought you already thought out! Then comes the rush and flood of ideas for your work. It is a roller coaster of emotions that is quite unreal and tends to chew you up and spit you out! It usually turns into a rather passionate and super intense day.


The internet can also have this effect at times. It is like living the biggest library and museum in your home, office or even on the go with cell phones! I often find myself reading up about artists or researching topics I may be thinking about for my work. I don’t get to museums as often as I like so I do view some shows online when possible.

I would really love to hear how some other artists deal with the overwhelming amount of interests and things they find beautiful. Head over to and let me know! Either write a post of feel free to send me a direct private message!