BY JULIYA ZHUKOVA
I have been a plein air artist for very a long time. I think we don’t have a better teacher than nature. I see many scenes for paintings everyday, everywhere – even in my kitchen. I paint with equal pleasure in the Far North in the conditions of the polar night and in sunny Montenegro on the Adriatic coast. For me these places are equally beautiful.
I feel inspired by everything I see. The absolutely empty space where there are only two trees and a low heavy pre-stormy sky gives expressive mood to a simple plot as in the painting, “Spring. First Thunderstorm.”
Sometimes I love such simple concise plots and compositions; from this you can make good art. My northern ships for example, in reality were just a pile of old iron. But I see in them a life and character. I wanted to do not just these ships as they appeared, but instead paint portrait of them as a living person.
I travel the world often and feel inspired everywhere. Recently, I have been working on a series of paintings in the Far North, the Arctic. The series has about 150 plein air paintings from small etudes to one and a half meter paintings. They are all painted from life.
I always paint in oil and love this material for its composition and density and color. My paints are of traditional colors, but there are preferences without which I can not do, such as, ocher and ultramarine. My paint brushes are made of bristles and they are pretty big. I almost do not use small sized brushes. Usually I paint in one session but if the painting is about a meter, I work on it several times or finish the painting in the studio. It is very important for me to start on nature, to take the main color, tone, convey air and find the composition.