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Meeting with an artist: Liza Volgina

In its portraits, Sennelier honors some of its favorite artists. Artists from all over the world and with singular universes. In this new Artist Portrait, discover the Russian watercolorist Liza Volgina through her story, her universe and her precious advice.

Can you tell us about your artistic background? 

From early childhood, I loved to draw and fantasize with my twin sister. At the age of 14, we went to an art school. We really wanted to learn the basics of drawing. Then we decided to enter the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg at the Faculty of Architecture. I was able to pass the exam only on the third attempt. It was so difficult, but I firmly decided that I want to study only in this wonderful place. The Academy of Arts provided unique knowledge. The curriculum preserved from the time of the Imperial Academy of Arts. The place itself looked like a school of wizardry. Great attention was paid to the creative component of the architectural profession. Therefore, the use of watercolor technique was especially important. Also at the academy they studied the classical school of drawing in pencil and tempera. After graduation, I worked in various architectural workshops for 5 years. It was difficult to work in an office. I didn’t want to give up drawing, as I loved this occupation too much. Ultimately chose the path of an artist. Now I am a member of the Association of Botanical Artists of Russia and England.

What do you like the most about watercolour? 

The watercolor technique for me is always initially work on wet paper. Wet paper makes it possible to create exactly the lightness of the image that I love very much. In watercolor technique, it is important not to lose the freshness of the paint. Therefore, I create layers only when I see that it is necessary. Then I work on dry paper with thin brushes to create details and maybe add some volume somewhere.

In your opinion, what is the most important art material for an artist and why? 

The most important material for an artist can be completely different. It is very important to find the instrument that matches the music of your soul. Therefore, it is very good when there is an opportunity to experiment and try different materials. Three materials are important to me: watercolor paints, watercolor paper and brushes. Because without them I won't be able to create my botanical drawings. Sometimes the material helps the artist to do something special, and sometimes he doesn't allow it. So the material has a certain power over the artist. Therefore, it is so important to make friends with the instrument.

Do you have a favourite colour or art material? 

I really like the combination of warm and cold shades in color. Probably the human brain is arranged in such a way that this combination evokes certain pleasant feelings. Since I work in watercolor, I also pay attention to the purity and lightness of the color. I especially like when colors flow into each other or a subtle gradient is created in a single color. From materials I love watercolor. This is of course a very complex technique, but only it is capable of being so light and so transparent. I also like the surprise effect she sometimes rewards.

How do you set up your palette of colours?

This is very individual and it is important for each artist to independently find some kind of order and harmony in setting the color palette. For me, as a botanical artist, green is important, so I have a special palette specifically for shades of green. As for the rest of the shades, before each new color work, I clean my palette of other colors so as not to create dirty shades. I work in several compartments, choosing their size based on the predominance of one color over the other, from largest to smallest. So for each job I customize my palette. Previously, I mixed colors exclusively on paper palettes, this is convenient, since it allows you to see the color on the paper. But in recent years I have been using separate waterproof palettes, his saves material and allows you to preserve shades for the next day, and is also convenient and economical for liquid watercolors. So each method has its own pros and cons. The main thing is convenience.

Tell us more about your style and your influences.

Since I have been drawing for a long time and during this time I have worked in different genres, it is probably better to stop at the last direction I chose. This is a botanical illustration. Initially, when I started drawing plants, I was based on my childhood memories of the summer and vacations that I spent outside the city. When I paint my pictures, I try to feel again that atmosphere of northern nature. Especially at the end of summer, when the plants began to wilt and it became cold, then many shades could be seen. I liked to watch how the color of plants changed and became very diverse in anticipation of autumn. And in the forest there were many mushrooms, and the insects became so immobile and it was easy to catch them. I really love to look for imperfections in nature. And I think these little imperfections are very beautiful and vibrant. I like to draw plants and insects together. Their tiny world is so delightful. If you take and lift some kind of stone from the ground, then under it you can find the whole universe, a world that was created by insects and nature. Everything around is so alive, but we do not notice it in the rush of days. I would like to capture such moments, show them to people. So that for a moment to feel the harmony that is here and now and is given to absolutely everyone.

What’s the best thing about being an artist today? And the most challenging one?

For me, probably the best is just the opportunity to do what you love, to be noticed. For example, the Internet is a wonderful thing for an artist. And I'm glad that I live in this era, when it's easier for me to share with the whole world what I create, what is very important to me. It’s probably challenging one to try to start making money with your art, to fight this barrier in yourself that art is not for sale. It's hard to look at your paintings objectively it's hard not to compare yourself to others. It's hard enough to deal with censorship it’s good that I'm a botanical artist and I'm not afraid of it. It's hard to understand yourself your desires and be honest in order to express your true self through art. It is also difficult to live in the world of adults. I haven't learned yet.

Do you have an advice to share with beginners? 

Dear beginner artist! General advice is not to be afraid. Throw yourself into difficulties and believe in the dream. Be sure to dream a lot, but constantly take steps towards your dream. Be diligent and try to understand what you want. It is difficult to arrive at a result without a goal. It is important to criticize your paintings so that they become better. But also note for yourself when something succeeds. Because self-flagellation will not improve the outcome. Please always believe in the best! Be optimistic, because I know that it is difficult for you, because you are sensitive and vulnerable. Learn to accept criticism, but always trust only your own intuition. I believe in you! 

Can you tell us about your actualities, your future projects?

I just recently finished a very interesting project of developing and creating a corporate identity for a wonderful flower shop. It's great when you manage to reveal your creativity from different sides. Also now, wallpapers that I created for the Italian brand are launched on sale. A lot of effort has been invested in this project. At the moment I am working on my own painting, and in parallel I want to start finally sharing my knowledge. Therefore, I create mini tutorials on botanical illustration, which I will gradually share. In general, there are a large number of plans, but I try to do everything gradually and thoughtfully. Thank you very much for such interesting questions, for your interest in my work and for the opportunity. 

Follow Liza on :

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/botanicolors/