St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg was as anticipated, very inspirational. After being in Moscow I had an idea of what to expect.
However the White Nights I was not prepared for. It made for a longer painting day but cut way back on any nocturnes.
It never truly got dark but by midnight it was as dark as it was going to be and then by 2:45 am it was already turning light again. Made for some restless nights for sure.
The idea of a longer twilight did not quite materialize as I had hoped, it actually just made more time for the mosquitos to be out. : )
But the longer days were much needed and very appreciated.
We painted hard but also spent time studying some wonderful and very inspirational Russian art.
Thanks to our wonderful host and his beautiful collection of art I got to enjoy these two pieces every morning before heading out. Great way to start the day!
The Venice of Russia
They say that St. Petersburg is the Venice of Russia. Charming as it was and as true as that may be by Russian standards it is really hard to compare any place with Venice. Maybe had I traveled to Russia first then Venice, maybe then my memory may have bought into that but after just being back with Venice still fresh in my mind that was hard to buy into.
But no worries, St. Petersburg is rich with history and amazing architecture and the canals are a nice touch.
Many thanks to our wonderful host Nikita and his family as well as Irina for this wonderful opportunity!
Nikita is an architect and definitely knows the history of St. Petersburg. So each day that we went to a new location he was sure to give us all of the history behind it. We could not have asked for a better more informative guide for our stay.
This shot was taken by our translator on the first day.
The Americans that were invited are from left to right,
Michel Doucet, yours truly, Stapleton Kearns, Rachel Personett, and TM Nicholas. Missing is Stephen Wood.
Like I mentioned the history of this area is really worth reading into. Peterhof was amazing!
They say that the subways in St. Petersburg go even deeper under ground than those of Moscow, due to the canals, which is hard to believe but true.
We were staying right down the road from Putin's summer residence. They were busy cleaning and preparing for his arrival which took place about halfway through our trip. I tried to take a stroll by his place one morning but I was not allowed to walk on that side of the street. I had to take this photo from the opposite side of the street.
We also visited the Russian Museum and the Hermitage to see some works by Serov, Levitan, and a host of other incredible Russian artists.
Breathtaking nocturnes by Levitan
Some really beautiful portraits by Serov
Love being able to get up close and see how loose some of these passages actually were.
And what can one say about the control of those wonderful grayed Russian colors?!
As I mentioned the inspiration was definitely a good shot in the arm.
Painting in St. Petersburg
We began each day with numerous cups of coffee and a great breakfast. Seeing that it was light at 3 am we would get out and paint in the neighborhood before heading into town for the day.
The biggest challenge we faced was fitting everyone into the vehicle as well as our gear and then returning back with really wet paintings, usually two per day, by the close of each day.
We managed but not sure how. Learned a trick or two about transporting large wet paintings.
We were fortunate enough to paint at a variety of wonderful locations.
Just outside of the Hermitage.
Our fellow comrade, Stephen Wood, finally showed up even though his luggage didn't. Very frustrating.
He made the best of it and managed to get a few pieces finished before the opening.
We were on Russian One National TV News as well as some other local stations.
Nikita and Irina giving some introductory speeches at the opening reception.
It truly is an honor to be involved in representing our country at this cultural exchange between Russia and America!
Before the close of the exhibition they lead us all outside to this wall were they proceeded to hang a digital image of our work as a mural for all to see and enjoy for the ages.
This was truly a nice ending to our trip and it felt good to know that we left a bit of our work on the walls of St. Petersburg Russia.
Packed up and going home.
Well almost, everybody's a critic, no translation needed. : )
Hard to believe how quickly time passes even with 20 plus light hours a day. : )
Already been invited back so we'll see what the future holds. But until next time here are some pieces from the trip.
Paintings from the trip
As always there are a few still unfinished hanging around the studio.
"Peaceful Morning" 16" x 20" Oil on Linen
"The Hermitage" 20" x 16" Oil on Linen
"Quiet Morning" 16" x 20" Oil on Linen
"Leisure Time" 9" x 12" Oil on Linen Panel
"Spring" 18" x 24" Oil on Linen
"The Theater" 18" x 24" Oil on Linen - SOLD
"The Train Station" 16" x 20" Oil on Linen
"The American Bridges" 12" x 16" Oil on Linen Panel
"The Old Garden Shed" 12" x 16" Oil on Linen Panel
"The Colors of an Early Morning" 9" x 12" Oil on Linen Panel
"A Day at the Park" 12" x 16" Oil on Linen Panel
New Paintings from the Inspiration of the trip
Here are some new studio pieces from scenes that I witnessed and took notice of. Lots of great things to delve into when winter returns.
"Morning Worship" 24" x 36" Oil on Linen
"Let Light Shine Out the Darkness" 24" x 18" Oil on Linen
New Paintings from Maine
Back from Russia and summer is here! Some recent new pieces from around the hood.
"Pristine Day in the Harbor" 12" x 16" Oil on Panel
"Late Spring Day in the Harbor" 12" x 16" Oil on Panel
"Preseason Riff Raff" 12" x 16" Oil on Linen Panel
"Preseason" 8" x 10" Oil on Linen Panel
"Peaceful Meditation" 12" x 12" Oil on Linen Panel
Thank you kindly for your time!