On Creative Procrastination, Venice Lagoon and Painting Process


Small oil sketch of the Venice Lagoon

While Organizing my studio storage (I am still working on creating an inventory system, one day I’ll get here, wish me luck!), I came across this little oil study for a painting my mom asked me to do some years ago. She traveled to Italy for the first time and fell in love with Venice. She sent me some of her photos from the trip and wanted me to make her a painting of the famous view of the Venice Lagoon resplendent with the shiny lacquered gondolas, turquoise water and San Marcos campanile in the background.

So, wanting to make sure I make a good solid picture of my Mom’s new favorite magical place, I dutifully set up a methodical approach to create a large oil painting. I studied her photos, mixed colors, experimented with the composition and made a quick study in oils to get a feel for all of it. Then, following the proper tried and true protocols of classical painting, I was going to make the real thing.

But it's a funny thing about me and preparatory studies: I can never make a painting if I make a study first. Seems like such a logical thing: do a small sketch, figure out the composition and the color palette and then transfer these ideas and discoveries to make a large solid painting based on all this information.

Sounds smart, but I guess I like to work harder than smarter.

The act of painting has always been about a process of discovery for me. Paintings I end up making are almost byproducts, evidence, artifacts that document the research, all the exploration and all the mistakes. It's an open-ended process. And if I answer all the questions in the sketch, then there is simply no reason to make a "real" painting.

I usually work very fast and deliver before the deadlines, but just could not bring myself to give my mom the large painting version because it lacked the spontaneity and aliveness that I am after. So, instead of feeling guilty for failing to produce a large painting of her beloved Venice Lagoon for my mom for years now, I will be shipping her this small oil on paper study. The gesture is vivid, the fun I had making it is evident.

I hope mom likes it

My Eyes are Full of Art: Venice Biennale, Museo del Prado, Thyssen and Casa Sorolla


I went to Europe and all I have to show for it are these two thousand photos of paintings on museum walls.

Where to begin?

I love travel. Most of us do.
And it’s been a few years since I traveled internationally.

My last trip to Europe was also an art trip to participate in the 5th Odessa Biennial of Contemporary art.
Two years later I finally got to see the granddaddy of them all, the Venice Biennale. I also managed to visit all the major museums in Madrid. It’s a lot of art to take in!

There was no way for me to post about everything I was seeing as I was trying to see and do so much on my short trip. So I am going to create a series of blog posts about all the renaissance and baroque masterpieces as well as the stunning line up of contemporary art from the Biennale.

Oh, and it’s strictly forbidden to photograph art at the Museo del Prado, but you won’t tell on me, will you?


Soviet School Children are Heading to South Korea

Soviet Matine.JPG

"Matinee" is selected for the 5th Geoje International Art Festival in South Korea.

I am delighted to announce that my work was selected for exhibition in 2019 5th Geoje International Art Festival this fall in South Korea.

The theme of the festival is “Freedom and Peace“. The festival is hosted by the Haegeumgang Theme Museum in Geoje.

It’s been a couple of years since I have participated in an international show and I hope I’ll be able to attend and visit a dear friend Hyunju Kim who has been residency hopping in China and South Korea.

I have never been any further east than my hometown in Ukraine and I am super excited to go on this art adventure!

(My well known kimchi obsession has nothing to do with the choice of location, I promise)


What's your favorite city?


When I was a kid my favorite city was Odessa.
It had a magical aura of adventure and freedom, a sea port dubbed "The Capital of Humor" in the Soviet Union for the wit of its citizens was legendary.
It never snowed there (I could hardly imagine a place like that!) and everyone wore jeans and cool imported leather jackets. Or so I imagined.

I did visit Odessa before leaving for the US in 1998. I was in love with a witty and stylish Odessite. We spent two languorous months sunning at the city beaches and baking clams on the hills overlooking  salt marshes and industrial suburbs.

And this summer I get to revisit this charming city of my childhood fantasy and youthful frolicking. My work was selected for the Odessa Biennial and this will be my first international show. Three of my paintings will be displayed at the month and a half long multidisciplinary exhibit in Odessa, Ukraine.

The theme of the biennial is turbulence. I couldn’t think of a more fitting theme, as my artwork is largely inspired by the turbulent post-soviet years and the lives of ordinary people faced with times of extreme uncertainty and momentous change.

If you are in that part of the world late summer, perhaps I can see you at the show!

Odessa Biennial