When did you first start painting?
I was born and grew up in Ukraine and at the age of 7 I was placed in an institution for disabled children due to a misdiagnosis. To escape the harsh realities I found comfort in painting and drawing and after 5 years of living in an extremely sterile environment, one of the teachers noticed my abilities and encouraged my parents to enrol me in to Art School.
When working from life, I’m painting the effect of light on my subject. Light moves fast and I must be quick to capture it. Most times I get it in one sitting; occasionally I’ll have to finish back in the studio. How do I prepare for this? After setting up my easel I always take a photo of the subject. This is a record of the light effect and a handy reference for later.
Before I was a professional artist, I was an elite athlete in the sport of long track speed skating. My greatest obstacle (other than finding pants to fit my legs and rear end) was overcoming the struggle mentally, technically and physically to get better over the long term. As an athlete, you spend countless hours training and preparing for one or two big competitions. Sometimes things don’t quite come together on the big day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should quit. The ability to see the big picture for what it is, is paramount.
I love painting the fresh, bright greens of early springtime. With the first sniff of warmth in the air and a hint of green on the trees, I pack up my oils and favourite brushes from Rosemary’s Ivory Range and head to the woods to paint the bluebells. A couple of long filberts and a no.4 rigger are all I need for working on location.
My first visit to Cornwall was in 1966 whilst courting my now wife Eileen. I remember the excitement of such an adventure, the impact to my artistic eye of this stunning county never has left me. The clean beaches, the aqua coloured sea with bright light bouncing and glittering on the waves, the unique luminescence of the light, the warmth of each day.
It became a desire of ours to live and paint this wonderful part of the country, but life at that time in the commercial art world dictated I stay north. Many, many trips and many hundreds of paintings of the area later we finally made the move.