Close to Nature

Stay close to nature has become natural for me since my early childhood, which I spent in the countryside. What I liked the most is to go fishing early in the morning when everything is just waking up. I would collect my fishing rods and go to the river. I still have in my memory those sounds and fragrances of the beginning of the day. When years go by, and due to the circumstances you change your lifestyle, these childhood recollections are becoming more distinct and more touching.

      That is why I use any opportunity to work outdoors, in the open air. Not only the relaxation for me is the painting in the open air, but the chance to perfect my skills and to find the source of inspiration. Each person has different relationships with nature. I have always been convinced that the personality of the same person transforms when the environment changes. For example, the person who is snowed under in their office is slightly different from the same person staying in the countryside. Evidently, the positive influence of natural environment plays a very important part.

     Therefore, the artist’s attitude towards the objects painted in their studio is also different from the perceptions of the objects in the open air. Working in the open air, the painter has a wider choice while expressing the influence of light and air on the objects in the painting; the colour range, in this case, yes, definitely more diverse. For me, like for other artists who live and work in St. Petersburg, who pay attention to outdoor painting, one of the places I like to visit is the third floor of the State Hermitage Museum where the paintings of the French Impressionists are exhibited. I am also a great admirer of the creative works of such Russian painters as Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin, Ilya Repin, whose small sketch «On the grass bench» has become for me the most illustrative example of high painting skills.

     For every artist, nature is the school of mastery, the ideal of beauty and the goal to be achieved. Only practicing in the outdoor painting can be helpful for the artist to improve their vision in terms of how precise and proportional are the lines and colours of the depicted objects. Since the time of the Imperial Academy of Arts, it has always been a great tradition to organize on a regular basis the exhibitions of the students’ artworks, which were painted during the summer. These exhibitions which lately have taken place at the Repin Art Institute have always met with public acclaim and considered as the most significant cultural events in our city. As for students, not only such an exhibition is regarded as the statement of their results on how they worked the whole year, but it is the great incentive to study more productively and to use their experience gained from the practical training, from creating their compositions indoors, in their studios. It’s essential to acquire necessary skills for painting a model outdoors, in the open air, that is why the regular practical training is organized, and our professors pay considerable attention to this activity, always being ready to share their experience with the students.

     First of all, how to learn and then pass the knowledge to others on how to depict nature, different objects, and people sunlit? It is extremely challenging, but compelling, at the same time. How to deal with such problems as the correct reproducing of the effects of light in the picture, not overusing the black colour in the shadows and keeping with the proportions of objects and human figures? To sum up, how doing it yourself and pass my knowledge to others? I am of the opinion that practical training in the open air can give you those skills which you can’t get even working in the studio for years. Sometimes, I can’t believe how I could have found those particular colours for my painting unless I had painted the sketch in the open air. Painting, painting a lot, setting different goals is that the painter can’t do without, and it is hardly possible to achieve mastership.