Monday, July 30, 2018

How do you appease stress levels?

There're days when you sit in front of a computer, trying to get things done quickly, before the kids are back, and all you get is a compounding headache.
You get so overwhelmed with the noise of it all, with the distractions of the outside world. In these moments I get an almost animal longing to head into the studio. My body knows that it needs to step away, to let my mind rest, to let that other part of the brain take over.
I feel like I'm fleeing this daily routine on wings, propelling me to pour all my frustrations onto canvas. On these days I know my time in the studio will be very special. It's when my inner voice will rejoice, take control, lead me places. I know that if I don't go this almost physical pain of withdrawal will make me even crazier. It will make me stir-crazy, irritable, impatient with everyone around me.
Even my dear husband knows at those moments that I am dying on the inside from that feeling of overwhelm, and he knows that he needs to let me be, to let me go.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Do you have too many loud conversations?

I watched a podcast by an artist not too long ago, Nicholas Wilton, where he spoke about the importance of value in each painting. There was one phrase in that talk that really struck a chord with me. It went something like this: "You can have multiple conversations within each painting. They just can't all be loud." This rang true to me on so many levels.
There should always be something in one's life that is of utmost importance, a main theme. You can have sub-themes, lots of them: your job, your daily routines, what have you. But there's always one thing that is overarching and no, it's not your family. It's you: your sanity, your balance. If I don't take care of me, then I'm no good to my family. I'm slowly realizing how important and difficult this feat is - to think of me first...kind of like when they tell you to put an oxygen mask on yourself first in an event of an emergency.
I wanted contrast in this work but I also thought that light was truly key - that was the main idea. It's about gates into the bright void, a hopeful future after the passing of winter. It wants to be bright and airy, abstract, full of possibility. Did it succeed?
I would love this clarity of value to translate to my book as well. Currently it's full of parent/child traumas, romance struggles, work issues. But it needs to be about art, about how it weaves through this life and helps solve all these dilemmas, large and small. All of these other conversations can be subdued, toned down. I'm almost done dumping all my ideas and am about to move into the first edit stage. I can't wait to start sharing it with the world!
If you'd like to be part of my inner circle and start getting more glimpses into the book, as well as 20% off your first piece, I invite you to join my insider's list at 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

How to be today's Van Gogh

This is my latest work in progress, a 40x60 inch canvas, which is just a few inches shorter than me. I am doing a one hour blitz on it. I know I don't have much time but I need to get it out - all my emotions piling up over the last few weeks. The energy is pouring out of me. It's a positive force fueled by my success and recognition, by confidence in where I'm heading, by all the support I've gotten.
In my numerous conversations with people who resonate with my work, I heard that it reminds them of Van Gogh. Whereas before I would shudder at the thought of resembling another artist, about being categorized as an Impressionist, about being labeled in general, now I'm ecstatic. Yes? If you think I'm Van Gogh, then why should I be afraid to experiment with the curvature of my line? Why can't I be bold with my color?
It will be a variation on Van Gogh, sure. But it'll be my variation. I'll be the contemporary version of him, be it kitsch, be it too sweet or too straight-forward. I'll just pick my four or five colors and I'll experiment the hell out of them! They'll dance in all kinds of combinations, playing off of each other, seeing their most favorite partner in crime peek at them from across the canvas, approaching them from an unexpected angle.
These canvases will have tumultuous personalities. They'll be happy one day, shining with the warmth of the sun. Another day it'll feel like a storm is approaching. They will be me, all the layers of me, all my complexities, naked in front of you. I won't hide behind the screen. I'll learn to love all these battling emotions, striving for a balance.
Just like in my daily life where I love my kids for their whole selves, I will attempt to be kind to myself on my good days and my bad days. They make up who I am, create my ying and yang. Are you kind to yourself on a bad day? It's so easy not to be, to beat yourself up, to be your worst critic...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Do we need to let it go in order to succeed?

I think this is a good ending point for the book. I'm done with about half of it by now and am thinking more and more about the main theme, and the sub-themes.
My drips are for emptiness. They’re an antidote to the busy world I try to populate in each new piece. They create the much needed reprieve from the craziness. They introduce abstraction, they move me from my regular status quo. 
They’re an answer to my traditional upbringing, to my fears of rejecting the mold, of letting go. If I completely give into them, they will be me letting go completely. 
But I can’t give up the line. Its piercing musicality is very important to me, its contrast is absolutely key. I don’t know if I figured out form yet, but the line is certainly there to stay. I still can’t tell which forms speak to me and which I’m able to forego. Is it a triangle shape or a semi-circle that is my favorite? A combo of various sized cubes? Do I absolutely need a horizon line? I’ve already gathered that less is more when it comes to color: maximum of two different juxtapositions plus an accent color. But I don’t want to stick to the same palette, do I? I know I need to break it down to get to complete abstraction, which would mean something to me. But how? And do I need to get to abstraction? Maybe this is a constant conversation - a chat between inner and outer reality, between abstract thoughts and practical sides of me?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The real secret behind my most popular series

 Want me to tell you a little secret? That first series of oils that everyone loves so much - there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. I've already told you that it was all created within one summer, after my return from studying abroad in Paris.
I was in an awful withdrawal state and Andrey Tamarchenko, my teacher, saved me by giving me this magic space, in which I could create. It was a tiny room on the last floor of an abandoned factory building, overlooking the Garden State parkway. A series of gated doors, freight elevators, and somewhat frightening corridors brought me to this little paradise where I could just play.
But that wasn't all. Over that summer I reacquainted myself with my very first crush. Apparently, he came over from Russia every summer and lived in South Jersey with his father's new family. A crazy romance sparked up between us and he would visit me in this little studio and watch me paint. We would slip onto the roof of this abandoned factory, which was just a hop over my window sill, and make love on the roof, with the highway sprawling underneath.
I think you can feel this euthoria in the paintings from this series. There's a hint of danger, secrecy, yet a dare to enter this innocent paradise. To this day, every time I paint, I think back on those days with a certain nostalgia that my whole body can feel. I'm taken back to my daring self, a soul completely open to the world and its possibilities.
My painting practice gives me hope there're a lot more opportunities in this world. It allows me to re-enter my childhood, my adolescence, my college years, and connect them to me today.
This groundbreaking series that was featured in Ithaca's Johnson Museum is housed right here: Archive
Take a look. Perhaps something in it will bring back nostalgic memories for you as well, and would be a nice treat for yourself for the New Year!
If you're in Massachusetts, I'm happy to come over and test out a few things on your walls, tying in my expertise as a long time art consultant. We can see what would work best with the rest of your decor and other art you have in your home. Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Why your inner voice matters most - article on

Long ago I was given the privilege of access to my inner voice through painting. I managed to survive high school and college by practicing this precious gift. Yet, when real life hit, I became afraid of losing myself in my dream world and let it go. I took a more practical route. I needed to make money and start a family, and be an overall reasonable person.
However, it hit me with time that a huge part of me was dying little by little. It felt like I was blindfolded while walking through the dilemmas of this world, and instead of developing my best self, I was selling my soul to the devil. That child within me had no way out. It was imprisoned, dying of thirst for a connection.
When things got really bad and I was crying nightly about a miscarriage, about lost opportunities in my career, about my life that was going nowhere, I took a three-day painting workshop and realized that I almost killed this little beautiful child inside me, my real me, my true self. I began devoting more and more time to painting and to re-connecting with this fragile voice.
I had noticed with time, as my practice got more and more constant, that this voice does not push. It guides gently. It assures me in my abilities. It builds out the inner strength that I never knew I had.
If I die today, I would be forever grateful to this voice of intuition that I was able to utilize. I so hope that more and more people find their true voice by doing something for their soul, be it meditation or yoga, dance or painting, making music or playing with yarn.
I inevitably come out of my painting sessions with an ‘aha’ moment, a solution to a real-life problem that has been nagging me for a long time. Somehow, whatever issues I resolve on canvas have their roots in the psychology of life. It’s quite remarkable that the little inner voice only comes out during painting but I’m so grateful that it does. I really wish for more of us to connect to their true selves, to find our humanity.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Murakami vs Rothko at the MFA in Boston - is art meant to make you smile or cry?

There're a few new shows at the MFA currently that are quite interesting to me in their contrast to each other. It's the very much talked about Takashi Murakami exhibit vs. the Mark Rothko exhibit, which virtually noone knows about.
I find Murakami to be so flat, impersonal and superficial. Yes, he found a symbol that is now our association with him, that of the flowers with a somewhat sickening grin. When you see it, or especially them in bunches you immediately recognize that they're his. But what does it do to you as a viewer except for this pleasure of recognition? It invokes nothing. It's just a pure Pop statement that just like Warhol before him, or Lichtenstein or Jess Koons - has no emotional connection to anything in anyone's psyche.
And then I step into the world of Mark Rothko and I begin to weep while on my second painting. I can't really explain what makes me weep. It could be the layers of his emotionally charged juxtapositions of color. It could be the simplicity or the perceived simplicity of his vast rectangles chosen for all his compositions. But I can feel his fingertips spreading the paint, touching it, making it visceral, psychological, incredibly emotional. I can feel him getting to the core of the message, to the core of my soul. I see this incredibly powerful effect of layers on my psyche as a viewer.
If one encloses simple relationships that are of utmost importance in a casing that does not distract from the message, that's when it starts to say what it's meant to say. Therefore, in a way these two exhibits are about the same elements. There's a symbol or idea that is key, and through its repetition, within the same casings you see it manifesting as a style.
This casing or composition should not distract from the main idea and that's where I think my problem lies. My landscapes are always seen as of utmost importance, and the play of colors as secondary. When in reality what I want is for the landscape to translate as a shadow of itself, and for the real quest of color harmonies to manifest as a primary goal.
But my main issue with the perception of these two exhibits still remains. Are we as people of today more attracted to the superficiality of Murakami than the depth of feeling of Rothko? Or do auction prices for the sales of Rothko pieces say otherwise? Or were there always two camps of viewers - those who want to look at art and smile, and those who are searching for something that would make them cry?