As a teenager, I used to go to the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg and get lost in the maze of art. Trying to find some early Flemish paintings necessary to complete the school assignments, I would often end up on the wrong floor and be glued to Monet’s masterpieces, so appealing to the romantic girls in their teens.
I remember that next to Monet there were those other paintings, strong and unsettling. I could hardly see any beauty in them as they differed too much from the way I saw the world. You guessed it right, it was Matisse, Vlaminck and the rest of the “Fauves” gang. Their colour combinations were so bold that my sensitivity - used to the constant greys and pastel colours of the Nothern Venice - was being seriously scorched.
Today, I no longer have problems navigating the Hermitage thanks to my working as a tour guide in my early 20's. However, those “Fauves”, I reckon, have shaped the way I see things.
Here is my recent still life "Orange joy" in which I could not help but paint the white tablecloth in purple. Why? Because it felt more authentic that way.
I felt uplifted and joyful the day I created this piece and hope that that energy transfers to whoever looks at it.