I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, until in 1993, when I moved to Colorado, USA.
My first artistic recollection takes me back, when I was 5 years old – I attended the school for children, whose parents were mostly professional artists. I remember we were asked to draw something about New Year, and while I was struggling with triangle shapes of a fur-tree, the boy sitting next to me was finishing the real painting: Farther Frost sitting next to his grand-daughter Snegurochka in a sledge next to three horses, a bag full of beautiful gifts for the kids. The gifts were done with lots of detail, they were bright and beautiful and there were at least 10 kids in different poses and all dressed up differently. I looked at his picture with awe, and after comparing it to mine I decided not even ever trying to become an artist. I still remember that boy’s drawing.
I was always encouraged to appreciate arts. I attended music school for 6 years, often went to theatres, Moscow Conservatory, my parents showed me the best museums and historic places of Moscow, St. Petersburg, old Russian cities, etc.
My parents were both scientists and to keep up with the family traditions after graduating from high school I decided to study chemistry at the Institute of Fine Chemical Technology. Upon completing my master’s degree I worked as a research scientist for 12 years at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. But the lab did not make me happy and I switched to the field of translation, got a B.A. in Linguistics from the Maurice Torez Linguistic University and started doing scientific and technical translation since then.
After moving to Colorado I worked as a freelance translator/interpreter. It happened once, that I took a pencil and just started drawing. I felt it was the only thing I ever wanted to do! I decided I needed to get some skills and knowledge and was very lucky to make the best start one can ever dream of, by taking a painting workshop with David Leffel. From the very first lesson and under the guidance of this great teacher and artist I made oil my medium of choice. I love the very process of mixing colors, moving brush, the very smell of paints, and the magic transformations on the canvas… In my excitement I used every spare minute to learn about art, artists and art history. I went to exhibitions and art museums in the US and in Europe, spent hours watching different techniques on DVDs. I took David Leffel’s workshops every year for five years. In between them, I also took classes at Art Student League of Denver and Fechin’s Art Institute and attended weekly life-drawing sessions. The more I learn about art and painting, the more there is to learn, and after years of painting, I feel that I am just starting.