Maria Nemchuk’s artistic inspirations come from the world that surrounds her. She paints a wide variety of subjects - landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Maria will have an exhibition of her work in the Hills Gallery Tuesday, 10/17 - Sunday 10/29. Reception Saturday 10/21 7-9p.m.
Born in the beautiful city of Saint Petersburg, from early on in her life, Maria was exposed to works of the great Russian artists - Levitan, Shishkin, Aivazovsky, Repin, Serov, Brullov. She spent countless hours in museums enchanted by worlds created in paintings. She wanted to experience what artists were seeing: to be in a sunlit pine forest, to walk that road in a field of rye, to feel powerful waves, to learn personal stories of people pictured in portraits.
Maria’s early works show her initial attempts to capture her world - real and imaginative. She began with colorful doodles and squiggles as a two year old, moving on to princesses, castles, and portrait drawings of family members, as well as academic still lifes in pencil, and eventually, landscapes in watercolor in her teens. As she got older, the right side of the brain took a hold of her, and she went to college to pursue a science degree. The subsequent marriage and move to the US proved to be a turning point. The introduction to works of American artists such as Sargent, Benson, Paxton, Tarbell, and Homer renewed her desire to paint, and she became determined more than ever to learn how to work in oils, so she could translate what she sees and feels with greater accuracy on canvas.
She loves painting au plein air and does it year round. “When you paint outside, you are surrounded by smells, sounds, and ever changing light. You are challenged - everything is calling for your attention. You are not painting a pretty scene, you are distilling and trying to convey the feeling of the wind, the sun, clouds racing across the sky, the juxtaposition of darks and lights, and the challenge of constantly shifting shapes of shadows. It’s a meditative and deep experience! Of course sometimes it’s too windy or too buggy and you have to accept that your painting will have a little “extra texture” such as bugs or sand.”
Maria’s still lifes are carefully composed of objects that tell a story, sometimes an unexpected one, like a mouse rescuing a cat trapped inside a gumball machine. A clementine, a stack of collected rocks, or a rose from her garden are all examples of how she loves to use objects that have a personal meaning to her.
Maria always found that there is so much beauty in human faces and figures, so it came as no surprise that portraits and figurative works quickly became her main obsession. She currently paints from a live model at least once a week. Her latest work is bridging the worlds of fantasy and the reality, by combining images painted from a live model with elements created from imagination.
She credits Don Karr with first lessons in oil, Mark Hayden, C.M. with pushing her to try portraiture and being her mentor and a friend, Tom Ouellette for giving the amazing classical training and making her work harder.