Thursday, July 1, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Olga Nikitina

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Olga's painting "Kauai" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Olga's DPW Gallery Page:

Hi, my name is Olga. I'm a professional artist. I live in Russia.

I've been drawing since I was a kid and I love it more than anything. Painting for me is a pleasure, it is a meditation, and painting is always an experiment. I like to work in different techniques, use different materials. I paint in watercolors, oils, and acrylics. In oil painting, I work with both smooth, almost transparent layers of paint, and impasto, a palette knife.

Most of all, I am inspired by nature. I like bright colors. This is how we saw the world as a child, and when I draw, I become a child again and look with admiration at this infinitely beautiful world! I like to draw this good fairy tale, such as in the pictures in children's books. Do you remember?

I am happy when my works find their new home and I hope they will bring joy to their new owners. Good mood!

What did you want to be growing up?

I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to become when I grew up. But I remember that I was always interested in nature, its beauty. I liked to look at flowers, butterflies, tree leaves, I really wanted to see how they look in a microscope. So I even thought that it would be interesting to work in some laboratory… But still, I was more interested in the aesthetic side of nature.

I also liked how people create beauty with their hands. Starting from embroidery and ending with hairdressing. Yes, at one time I wanted to become a hairdresser. And I'm doing it a little now, but it hasn't become my profession.

When did your artistic journey begin?

As soon as I learned to hold a brush and pencil in my hand. My dad was an amateur artist and painted oil paintings in his spare time. And since childhood, I have been leafing through his magazines with reproductions of paintings. I remember the first time my father gave me a canvas and paints, and I drew three tulips, and proudly showed my older brother, saying that I had drawn a painting. He chuckled. Of course, I felt that this was too loud, but... for me it was an achievement.

All my childhood I drew watercolors in albums, and when I turned 12, I went to art school, where I studied for 4 years. There, too, the main material was watercolor. That's probably why I think more like a watercolorist, although I also work in oil and acrylic.

Then there was an Art College, where I studied at the painting and pedagogical department for 5 years.

(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Olga's interview.

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

Yes, after studying at an Art College, real life began, where I had to earn money. Painting, unfortunately, gave me little income at that time, and I abandoned it, going to work in the production of outdoor advertising. Then there were many other jobs that had little to do with creativity.

In addition, I had a family, a son was born, and the desire to study painting again had to be postponed. It was an emotionally difficult period for me.

I began to return to painting seriously only in 2017, when everything in my life changed. I had a new family, a new home, and I allowed myself to quit my job. I told myself that I would stop trying to be something that I am not, that I am an artist, and only with a brush in my hands do I feel in my place. It's the only thing that makes me happy.

And I started selling my paintings on the Internet. It is a great success for us that it exists. It's amazing that people from all over the world can see and buy your paintings! In 2020, I came to Etsy, and this was a big breakthrough for me.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

Now it is easier for me to negotiate with watercolors and get a result that will satisfy me. I also paint in oil, but less often than I would like. This is partly due to the smells of paints and diluents. But I have a huge desire to paint in oil. I like different techniques of oil painting, I like impasto with a palette knife.

I am generally interested in a lot of things in painting. When you enter the creative path, you feel like a child in a huge toy store. There are so many things I want to try!

What don't I like? There is no such thing, probably, rather, I haven't practiced enough in some techniques and materials.

Genres? Of course, most of all I am inspired by nature, its vastness. Therefore, I mainly paint landscapes. The sun, the wind, a riot of colors… An impressionist lives in me.

Provence Lavender Fields
(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I think it's very early to talk about my style as something that has already been established, once and for all. It has always been interesting for me to convey exactly the sunny, cheerful state of nature, as the first Impressionists did. I have been developing in this direction. But now I feel a craving for more abstraction in the landscape, or for more decorativeness. These general trends of modernity also occupy me. Also, I still have a penchant for some illustrative graphics, reminiscent of illustrations in good old children's books. This can also be called part of my creative style, if you like.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

In my youth, I fell in love with the works of Claude Monet. I was particularly struck by the series with the Rouen Cathedral. And this first love is still alive in me. Then I saw a huge number of works by different authors, and I admire many of them. I can't count them all. Among the most famous to you are Erin Hanson and Howard Behrens. The crazy optimism of their canvases cannot but delight!

Palm Trees on the Beach
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Well, everything is banal here. Paint more, be bolder, believe in yourself, do not suffer from excessive perfectionism, experiment, play!

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

If we are talking directly about the creative process, three things help me now: an equipped workshop, where everything is at hand and just waiting for me; this is a mode in which several working days and specific hours are planned, dedicated specifically to painting; and this is the very need to work to pay the bills. Yes, the survival instinct will not allow you to procrastinate indefinitely!

If we are talking about mastering new things in creativity, about some steps to new levels, about large and complex tasks, then yes, I become very cautious and think for a long time about whether I should take this step at all. After all, it is so energy-consuming, and the result is unknown. Well, I try to take these steps deliberately and gradually.

Tuscany Sunflower Fields
(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

I always have uncertainty as a result of creativity. It is impossible to predict whether the work will succeed or not. I won't even be able to repeat exactly what I've already done, let alone a new one. And as for the various troubles that are knocked out of the saddle, then, of course, they happen. If I can, I "shoot back" from them. If I fail, then I save up my strength to get involved in the battle again.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

Further creative plans include the creation of watercolors of larger formats and the launch of the production of their own prints, as well as experiments with oil painting and acrylic. Perhaps there will be a series of figurative paintings, a series with animals, urban landscapes, abstract and decorative compositions. I want to do a lot of things.

From a personal point of view, I want to live in a house in a quiet and beautiful place, among greenery and flowers. I hope this dream will come true.

Green Mountains of Oahu, Hawaii
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

The realization of creative potential, first of all. If I can implement at least a tenth, at least a hundredth part of my ideas, I will feel happy!

Another success is satisfaction with the result. Then - a confession. Well, and financial viability, of course.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

Today, for example, I am proud that in the first year of working on Etsy, I sold more than a hundred works! And even more have been created! I am proud that I can finally earn a living by creativity. I am proud of how the level of my skill in watercolors has grown over this year. I am proud that my father is proud of me.

Tuscany Poppy Fields
(click to view)

Thanks, Olga!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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