August 30, 2010

Birds flew away

This summer, my three birds flew away from Canada to other lands. Since they've been sold by Toronto galleries, I haven't had an opportunity to have a chat with the customers. I just know what countries they are from - Britain, Japan, and the US. It's amazing that my works could find their way to the hearts of the people from such different cultural traditions. That's what I love about art! You can use it to communicate with images instead of words.

August 25, 2010

La Sonnambula

Although I’m not exactly the most adept at singing, I loved this version of La Sonnambula so much that I can’t help constantly humming my favourite parts these days.

I never put anything on as background music while I’m painting. I take both these things too seriously to not devote them full attention. I always listen to complete operas, because I don’t want to lose the rhythm that was thought out by the composer as the basis for the work.

I can’t really picture pausing the singing Bartoli or Callas because the phone is ringing. It’s hard to imagine them, frozen in the moment with their mouth open wide.

Anyway, these days I can’t really listen to operas anyway. There is some construction going on in our apartment building. The most intense activity is taking place on the wall right outside my window. The suspended crate with two guys in it is constantly drifting up and down, scaring the cat, and forcing me to make sure I’m always ready to draw the curtains or hide. I already had a close call, when I was nearly caught in the midst of changing, and I wouldn’t want that to happen again.

These past two weeks were spent to the soundtrack of drilling and hammering. Around 8:30 am the lads are good and ready, cursing and swearing as they get ready for work. Only one of them (the most intimidating-looking one, actually) never swears – I’m guessing he’s trying to develop his charm and charisma. Just once I heard him say to his colleague, “You can be pretty nasty in the morning.” I agree with him completely.

I have to admit the construction workers appear to have some tender feelings just like the rest of us. One time, when the rain started coming down, I heard one of them say “My cats really hate storms. They must be hiding under the bed by now.”

My heart goes out to the frightened cats, who had no one around to comfort them.

Still, it’s pretty difficult working in this environment. I just can’t concentrate.

August 24, 2010

Gifts for an artist

An artist paints for an audience. Sometimes, it might be an unexpected audience. An audience that you don’t expect would be particularly interested, let alone would praise your work. On the last day of the spring exhibition this year, about half an hour before closing, there appeared two young men. They were about fifteen or sixteen, and they were the typical image of very fashionable, very young people. Complex, asymmetrical haircuts. Bangs that covered their eyes. Extremely tight pants, and elements of bohemian carelessness in the rest of their look.

I’m not sure what fortune brought them so close to the little houses I’ve painted. I can more or less see them at a minimalistic exhibition, with white walls and teeth of animals that died in fires scattered about. (I’ve just come up with that concept off the top of my head. I find it quite dramatic.)

The two guys spent quite some time examining my paintings. They even had a discussion about them! These are the kinds of phrases I’ve heard.
“See, over here, she takes a lot of yellow, and puts a purple line next to it, so it stands out.”
“The atmosphere – I like the atmosphere.”

I was worried about scaring those two art-loving butterflies away. I really regret that I didn’t end up speaking to them.

When they were leaving, one of them said, “You’re very cool”. The other one just nodded.

That exhibition was very successful for me. I’d sold several paintings. However, the most priceless aspect of that experience for me was finding the strongest motivation that an artist can have – knowing that I have an audience.

August 18, 2010

Birds in the Interior

From the time I first began working on my bird sculptures, I also started looking for bird themes in photos of interior designs. I became inspired by the images of the traditional wooden sculptures from Provence. They are the ones that fit quite naturally in the midst of any style or theme. Their serene demeanour creates a hint of calm and stability, in the world where the only constant is the endless change.

A good friend of mine was upset that she only brought one of those birds from France, and she just about made me create something similar. At that time, I hadn’t yet thought about making sculptures that much, and I certainly had no idea that the process would absorb me so greatly.

After some intense Internet surfing and library research, I found some photos that corresponded to my ideas about sculptures in the interior. However, I’d really like it if my birds didn’t just replicate these typical, cozy image; I’d prefer if they turned out more like my paintings – bright, full of life, energetic, and, at the same time, unpredictable.

August 11, 2010

Secrets revealed

Last Saturday was the opening of the seventh summer exhibition at the Arta Gallery. My paintings and sculptures have been shown at all seven exhibitions. I consider that a bit of a success.

Colleagues and art lovers often ask me about some of the techniques I use in my work. I have to say, using one technique or the other depends on the objectives I set for a particular painting.

Here are some of the things I do when I’m trying to achieve clear, vibrant colours.

August 2, 2010

Sculpting with color

A year ago, I started working with clay. I even took a few classes. However, I didn’t take it at all seriously. I just felt like sculpting something.

Sculpting with clay, I find, is highly absorbing. As soon as you realize that there are no limits to what your hands can create, you get sucked in. My paintings would be left alone, awaiting my return, while I would delight in working on three-dimensional creations. The things I’ve finished so far can be found at the Distillery District right now – the rest, including the doll, will be seen during the tour.

I know exactly where my yearning for sculpting comes from. As a child, I’d seen Degas’s “Little Dancer” in Moscow. Later on, they brought that piece to Toronto, along with his other sculptures. (Actually, some of them were molded from their wax forms after the artist’s death. Since he didn’t consent to it, did they really have the right to do that? That’s a bit of an ethical nuance.) Also, I couldn’t avoid admiring the sculptures of Anish Kapoor. That was love at first sight. His works are like breath – there are no bends or excesses. I’m especially mesmerized by his use of this primal red colour.