Interview with Artist Sophia Rodionov

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How did you first get into art, and what was the first medium you used?

My first “meeting” with an art was in a childhood when I drew and painted as every kid does. But I was lucky, and my parents entered me to the Art School for kids at the age of three, because they saw how much I loved to paint. First art materials which are used in an Art School are pencil, of course, watercolor, and gouache. 

unspecified-5Since then, I have come a long way to the point I’m now in: I worked in all kinds of media: acrylic, oil, pastels; I worked with black and white traditional film photography, and I was a glass artist for many years, including fused glass, painted glass, and stained glass. Then, I went back to painting about four years ago and felt in love with watercolor.

You work primarily with watercolors. What drew you to this medium, or what about the way watercolors work appeals to you?

As many things in our live happens by accident, the same was about my start of working with watercolor. When my daughter was born, I’ve realized that I couldn’t continue working with glass as it was before, because a lot of dangerous glass parts are spread from studio out, and also because it takes a lot of time to prepare things, to get started, and the process itself. But it was clear for me that I wanted to create things and I couldn’t live without, so I found my old box with watercolor paints and started to sketch with it.

unspecified-2Watercolor painting can be very fast; there is no need to do much preparation before; you can just take piece of paper and start working on. It was the best and most comfortable media for a mom with baby on her hands. But as time passes, I realized that I’m falling in love with this outstanding flowing media, which can provide numerous amounts of ways to be applied. And as the main subject in my art was always the “moment,” something that disappears and flows one to another, watercolor became the best media for me to capture the “moments” I paint. When I want to work in more realistic ways, on more clear subjects, I switch to soft pastels (my second love in art media).

Where do you find inspiration for your paintings?

That is the easiest thing: all around me, I see moments I want to capture everyday. This could be the light spot on a tree near my house, it could be the shadow from the open window, interesting texture of a rusted door, flowers, some color combination I saw, my cat, nature, art I see, art books and books I read, new art stuff always inspire me to use it and to paint more, and so on.

What subjects or themes do you like to paint?

unspecified-4My favorite subject is always nature. I love to paint trees, forests, flowers, leaves. I also find a lot of interest in bird themes. Another subject I love is cats: I love their personality, poses and movements. And because, as I said, my main subject is “moment,” I find a lot of interest in painting movements and poses, therefore I started to paint dancers in general and ballet dancers. I know that at some point artists have to concentrate in one or two subjects, as this common to do, but I’m not at this point yet and I don’t know when it will happen.

What subjects or themes do you find it difficult to paint?

For me the most difficult subject is human portrait, especially from photography. When I work on human portrait I have to “love” the model and to feel the model. For me, this is the hardest part: to love and to feel somebody I’m not familiar with. Because of that I paint live portraits or models I know in a real life mostly.

How do you overcome difficulties or challenges in your art?

unspecified-3We all have difficulties sometime: it could be the thought of “I’m not an artist at all,” or failed attempts to paint something exactly as you see it in a mind, or it could be just a tiredness.

In every single situation I use different techniques to over that difficulties. But the best thing is to take a break, it could be even break for an hour, but during this hour I have to stop painting even in a mind. I usually go to the walk and just look around, and if I can go to a new place, this works the best. 

What artists inspire you?

Oh, there are a lot of artists who inspire me, the list is really long, but now I use to look at works of Thomas W. Schaller, Victoria Prischedko, Endre Penovác, Sergei Kurbatov,Jean Haines when I’m looking for inspiration.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

To paint daily, even when you don’t feel you could paint something, even when you don’t want to paint, just paint every day. The result will come. It always comes. 

You can find more of Sophia’s work in her Etsy shop.

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