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What it is all about…

I have always felt special attraction to the North and northern nature and indigenous culture. I travelled a lot in the northern parts of Russia and Nordic counties – it was initially  hiking and kayaking trips, but for me more important that sport achievements has always been the possibility to see and feel wild nature -  and I always wanted to express my excitement  on paper.

Since 2006 my travels turned into extended plain air sessions – I made quick sketches in watercolour in Norway, Sweden, Finland, in Kola peninsula, Arkhangelsk region and Karelia, and later on  I produced landscapes basing on these sketches.

I always strive to grasp special atmosphere of the place – not only physical features but the spirit of it – and for me it is very important to make plain air sketches – and often I  manage to produce completed picture on the spot.  Watercolour is a perfect medium for this task.

Recently I started to work on two projects on illustration – to Sami legends and to legends about Aurora Borealis. I find Sami legends enchanting and deeply connected with the character of the landscape. And legends of different ethnic   groups about Aurora Borealis are dealing with the most beautiful and mysterious natural phenomenon – which makes the task of illustration so much more challenging and absorbing.

Besides, I work on the series “Rock carvings of Fennoscandia”  - images inspired by rock carvings of Kanozero (Murmansk region), Alta, Onega lake and White Sea (Zalavruga). I interpret the images of rock carvings in my own way, incorporating it in the actual surrounding landscape  that has hopefully not changed much since the carvings were performed – and the landscape helps us  to feel a kind of connection with prehistoric times.  It is important to actually visit the place, of course – and this autumn I travelled by boat to have a look on Kanozero rock carvings (on the island in Kanozero lake – not an easily accessible place). These works (10 pictures) were exhibited in the museum of Rock Carvings of Kanozero  in Umba  in June – August 2013.

I believe that real-life experience of these places, people and phenomena is a key to successful art work, that is why I travel every year over Karelia and Kola peninsula both in summer and in winter.

I participate in the work of Kola Biodiversity Conservation Center as a volunteer: my watercolours and graphic works are used in books published by the Centre, and I participate in art exhibition “In support of Khibiny National Park”, which is annually organized by the centre,  together with the artist Irina Sitdikova. 

Currently Kola Biodiversity Conservation Center is working on a big project – «Khibiny guide” – a book about nature and history of Khibiny (mountain range in the centre of Kola peninsula).  This publishing project is a part of a bigger  project  – the Centre is working towards acquiring the area a status of a National Park,  to protect the mountains from  mining companies etc.  My watercolour and graphic landscape pictures will be used as illustrations.

Also I am a member of the art group “Nature of Russia” that combines expeditions over Northern part of Russia with drawing, painting and photographing – we organize exhibitions in Saint-Petersburg and different cities of Karelia and Murmansk region.