Author: Irina Demyanchuk.
Translation from Russian into English: Alex Markovich.
Painting has always been a large part of my life. After daily classes I was often running to my art school, to immerse myself into a world of my own. I loved to draw from life, even tried my hand at creating portraits. But most of all I was fascinated with nature – painting landscapes was my favorite art form.
Whilst attending university, I married and had a child. Of course, the care of my child took precedence over everything else, but I didn’t quit drawing. One day at the playground, I met a lady (also a mom) who invited me to go to the plein air to paint. She was so excited while explaining to me about plein air painting gaining popularity in Russia; but I couldn’t quite grasp the concept.
As it turned out, plein air painting is an interesting and very special kind of art. Pictures are painted in natural settings, and, as a rule, very quickly. This gives the opportunity to discover all the colors of the world at any given moment. The task of an artist is to reveal the mystery by creating reflections on water, play of light and shade, convey the special gradations of the sky, to immerse the viewer into the whole atmosphere.
My friend’s enthusiasm intrigued me so much that I got very excited about this art form. I did my best to persuade my husband to let me go for a few days, and evenually he agreed. My friend gathered together other interested artists, and after much discussion, we decided to go to Prokhorovsky district of Belgorod region. That area is famous for its picturesque landscapes and special atmospheric conditions .
We bought food and water and stayed in the Prelestnoe village. To be closer to nature we set up tents. We had to work hard, inflating air mattresses to sleep on (we forgot to take the pump). However, this inconvenience did not spoil our elevated mood.
I love to contemplate nature in the evening – it is charming in its own special way. Any work that is done at the plein air is unique, full of life and realism.
I was always inspired by rain – I could totally immerse myself into melancholy. And I started to create on canvas, conveying not only what I saw but what I felt.
After a delicious barbecue and funny jokes from my new friends I really wanted to paint. I was wandering around the neighborhood and admiring the views. At first glance, I didn’t spot anything special, but the artist can see how branches of the trees are intricately entwined, and/or find an unusual leaf on a tree, and even sometimes “see” the air movement.
My attention was drawn to a destroyed building – it had half fallen. In the background there was a perennial tree with spread out branches – the tree was growing right above the building. I was transfering my emotions from what I was seeing and feeling onto the paper, fully enjoying the atmosphere of creativity. It seemed to me that I was in the process of creating a world masterpiece.
Everybody enjoyed my finished painting, so I was drawing and painting everything in the vicinity.
I deeply felt that it’s so great to get together with like-minded people, I realized – this summer plein air painting is just the beginning of many trips to the natural world.
On the way home we were planning where and when to arrange the next plein air in a few months. I love autumn, its bright colors, sharp change of scenery, so we decided to organize an autumn plein air.
I returned home happy and relaxed. It’s so great to have an opportunity to rest from city routine and do what you really love!
Plein Air Painting in Russia: