**click illustration to enlarge**
(watercolor on paper, 7X19, 2013)
"New England town (circa 1880s)"
Just as Norman Rockwell I've always felt more like an illustrator as opposed to an artist. Like a spy, I've spent my childhood secretly examining and memorizing everything that was going on around me in order to transfer my observations onto paper later on. I turned my mind into a library of facial expressions, fabric patterns and ephemeral gestures that I drew upon when painting my genre scenes.
I always liked painting scenes that featured a lot of people. I came up with stories about every character I created and for the most part I still do. Drawing and painting were always the sources of entertainment for me and the more elaborate the scene I was working on was - the more entertainment it provided.
When I was growing up I used to spend my summers at a house we owned in a little village cut of from the rest of the Universe. The whole village was about 70 houses strong; most made out of clay with straw roofs. No phone, no TV. Whenever I had to call somebody I had to go to a post office in the next village.
I know that life in a remote place like that sounds boring, but in actuality it was wonderful. Once in a few weeks my dad would go to my grandmother's house (about 40 km away) and bring me books to read. He'll grab a shelf full and that's how I managed to read a shelf (about 20 books) every 2 to 3 weeks for most of my summers. The rest of the time I worked in the garden, or fished with my dad. Thinking back, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. I can credit my fondness for literature, my love of nature, and my humanity to that God-forsaken place.
Once I was back in the city my mind was usually overflowing with all the amazing stories I've read over the summer. I'd also (finally!) have access to my paints and that would prompt me to paint non-stop for months and in my head comprise my own stories about what I was painting. It wasn't an escape from reality. It WAS my reality; my reality where I could control what happened in my world and I could ensure that nothing bad ever did.
"I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to."
"Can't repeat the past?…Why of course you can!"
"There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness."