Hometown: Odessa, Ukraine
My thoughts on watercolor as a medium:
I currently experiment a lot. I work with watercolor and create many different effects and textures, applying all possible additional means. Watercolor has been my favorite technique for many years, but it still feels new to me—an unpredictable, unlearned, unlimited field for new discoveries and experiments. My favorite genres are composition and landscape.
My painting process:
Usually I start the composition with pencil sketches; I then consider the palette. Sometimes it’s necessary to make about 30 sketches for one painting. Often there is not enough material for a complicated design and so I use live models and take photos for additional aspects.
For landscapes I sometimes use nature studies created en plein air, or during my travels.
As time goes my favorite color palette is changing. In youth I used a lot of ultramarine, umber and other earthtones and my paintings used to be in cold shades. Now the warm colors are my favorites. Yellow, gold and “mars” in my view combine nicely with a small amount of noble but modest indigo. Perhaps many visits to museums and viewing old masters’ paintings shifted my vision toward the warm gamma.
On average I spend a week on a painting; I’m satisfied if everything comes out in three to four days. Lord and Button did not come out easy. In the first version there was only one dog (the black Lord) and it was stretched vertically. But when I finish a work I like to let it rest and then come back to it after a couple of days. After a break from Lord and Button and with more calm and calculation, I changed the composition and perspective—the painting became square, and I fixed the errors made originally. It took another three days. I felt a tide of joy and confidence. Time passed quickly. The composition came out, in my opinion, exactly as needed.
Why I paint:
Sometimes I’m so nervous when I start a new painting, as I am a beginner, but I feel a real euphoria when I see that the work comes out well.
Once, a long time ago, around I first time tried to sell my paintings (in about 1993), a passerby stopped to look at my works. He looked like a drug addict. He stayed long time and looked at the paintings, and I could see that he really did not feel well. Then he turned to me and said, “Thank you. Now, I want to live again.” For some reason, this story still comes to my mind once in a while.
Art as a career:
I’m happy that I’m a painter and make my living by my art, nothing else. I’m doing what I love and I get paid for it. My dreams came true. I wouldn’t want to think about any other fortune.
Edited by Cherie Haas, associate editor of The Artist’s Magazine