Monday, August 4, 2008

Pico Encounters Russian Impressionism

Sorry, I've been happily distracted this weekend by a delightful pair of visitors. Both painters, my dear friend from infancy, Betsy, and her long-time friend Melissa, stopped over in Phoenix en route to a date with the brushes up on the Rim.

Betsy, who doesn't have a website but ought to, and Melissa, who does, are here to paint. Though here for varying lengths of time, they're HQ'd in digs in Showlow, where Melissa has advertised for cowgirl models to help diversify the painting subjects. She said she had 15 applicants. The one who got hired said she's not sure what "fit" means but doesn't have a waist and does have worn boots, worn jeans, and a dirty hat. Sounds good to me!

Pico has the honor of being a possible subject, too. Melissa took many photos of his lovely self in many poses. She seemed enchanted despite his staunch refusal to cuddle. We look forward to seeing his likeness, possibly in the arms of said cowgirl, and hope that Melissa isn't given to spite.

If you don't know the difference between Russian Impressionism and European Impressionism (I didn't), Melissa is the person to ask. I did, and one bottom line, as I understand it, is that the Russians place a lot more store than the Europeans on the capacity to draw well as a condition for painting well. It shows. The Europeans were more interested in the play of light in the world and in the physics of varied brush strokes. Each school, of course, considered all aspects of painting--drawing, composition, color, light, brushwork, and so on. The distinction, as I understand it, lies in the degree of importance the two schools assigned to these elements.

But nothing will serve you better than exploring Russian Impressionism yourself. I think that you'll enjoy taking a tour of Melissa's site and that of her Chechnian (now naturalized American) husband, Daud Akhriev, to feast your eyes on the work of a highly accomplished couple. Be sure to read their bios, and when you click ARTWORK, be sure to explore each category. Lots of superb work there.

Betsy, get a website so I can crow about your work, too. You know I'm a huge fan.