Yelena Klairmont

Fearless; Conquer Darkness With Kindness (oil, 40×60)
by Yelena Klairmont was a finalist in the Landscape category of the 23rd Annual Art Competition.

Start in art: "I’ve been creating art most of my life, but I’m also a professional musician. My first college degree is in music performance and history. I majored in organ performance and was a church organist and a choir director for many years. About 15 years ago I resumed painting, specializing in painting large-scale murals in restaurants and office buildings. About that time I decided to go back to school to broaden my understanding of the traditional fundamentals of art. I was admitted to the “old” American Academy of Art in Chicago, which at that time had a unique program of life drawing, anatomy, and art fundamental studies. While there, I was inspired and instructed by a renowned art teacher, Dr. John Trapp, who stressed the European tradition of drawing and painting."

Media and genres: "At first I concentrated on portraiture, but gradually, being fascinated by the beauty of our local ravines, I switched to landscapes. One day, after flying over the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, Canada, I was inspired by the aerial views of our earth and started a whole new series of imaginary aerial landscapes. In my aerial paintings I incorporate elements that have an affect on our environment. Power plants, smoke stacks, tall pipes, urban developments, all contribute to the rise of ocean temperatures and a change of climate, which in turn create destructive tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons."

Working process:"I paint in oil on canvas, in layers. I begin by picking out a design from my own aerial photos. After deciding on the specific scene, I decide on my palette, chroma, and what kind of angle I’m trying to stress in each work—pollution, urbanization or climate change. Sometimes, to my surprise, a design that looks good on the small scale doesn’t always work on the larger canvas. I then sketch, and adjust my final design directly on canvas until I’m satisfied with it. I love nature, yet I also like designer colors. I try to have different color combinations in each painting, which helps me set the mood of each work."

Inspiration for this painting: "Fearless; Conquer Darkness with Kindness was inspired by a sunset I observed while driving one night. I decided to incorporate it into an aerial night scene, with city lights gleaming and a vast sky that dwarfs the city no matter how big. It reminds me of the anticipation one feels when landing and waiting to get back to the comfort of home."

To see more of Klairmont’s art visit

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