Finished this one! It’s the newest one out of the cycling series! You can see a process of painting starting from the blank canvas till a signature in the end below.
The piece depicts three champions of the Tour de France 2016 – Chris Froome, Peter Sagan (who also entered the Olympics 2016 as a mountain bike racer. Peter claimed it was his childhood dream and that it’s simply cool) and Nairo Quintana. The subject was inspired by the retired pro cyclists’ talks about eating pasta while competing. A carb filled diet was trending at a time. Also, the cyclists recalled having no team buses as they have now. In fact, they would usually cycle to their hotels right after finishing a stage. It would calm cyclists’ bodies down in addition to saving funds on transportation. Hotels must have been within couple miles radius. Unfortunately, it was rather dangerous as after a dreadful heat or extra tiring mountain climbs cyclists were often losing the focus and could get into an accident on their way to hotels.
This scene puts a race into a cityscape. It is New York and it storms heavily. And while the racers keep competing, in spite of a weather, the only spectators seem to be the people, spinning at the gym. Their room is warm and a heat turns into steam that blurs their view. However, no matter how intensely they spin the pedals, they are only going as far as their machine bike lets. It’s all about the choices and what gets our blood going. Isn’t it?
Today I realized how soon is Christmas: 8 days left. Till New Year’s Eve – 16 days. Being from Ukraine made me long for a number of other winter holidays: St Nicholas day (Dec 19) andOrthodox Christmas (that is celebrated on Jan 7). In addition to this, there is another amazing date: Winter Solstice (Dec 21). I always found it silly that people get all crazy over the gifts hunt and ‘made-in-china’ decorations. It amuses me that in America you start to see Christmas promotions in November. However, when I was on the evening walk a few days ago I realized something important, I think. I saw a holiday rush as a means to unite people, make them feel like they belong and are a part of something bigger. It is a natural sensation that makes a human being’s life worth it. In the essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man’s futile search for meaning, unity, and clarity in the face of a world devoid of God and eternal truths or values.
Finding magic in your life is a lot easier than you might think. A traditional ‘fight for the light’ is really not that necessary, while in pursue of magic, buying 25K worth of Christmas decorations to make your house the brightest in a community is an option but far not the only one.
“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.”
― C. JoyBell C.
10 secret steps to make magic happen
1. Start your day with a special kind of coffee
Recipe by Tove Jansson – novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author; she is best known as the author of the Moomin books for children.
ground coffee, milk, honey and cinnamon
How to make:
Combine 1/4 cup of milk with 2/4 cup of water. Add 1/2-1 tsp of honey; stir well.
Add 2 tsp of grind coffee beans (with a little extra tip). Top it with a pinch of cinnamon. One more pinch of cinnamon you add to the fire that cooks your coffee. Let the fire know what awaits it.
Stir while cooking. And when it is about to escape add a little more cinnamon to the coffee to make it calm down.
What’s the magic:
Life becomes better after you drink it. Things and dreams that avoided coming true would suddenly start to. Other little wonders will start to occur as well!
2. Buy/download and start reading The Little Prince by Antonie de Saint-Exupery while drinking that coffee (see step 1)
It’s very short (just 64 pages). The book is translated into more than 250 languages which makes it fourth most-translated book in the world. It was first published in 1943. The Little Prince is a novella by a French writer, poet and pioneering aviator Saint-Exupery. In this story he is thought to have drawn on the aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert.
The watercolour illustrations that were made by the author add a magic visuals to a poetic tale about a pilot, who is stranded in a desert and meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid.
It was written during the Second World War: France had fallen and Saint-Exupery fled to North America.
Don’t let the cute illustrations fool you, it is much more than a child’s book, although it’s styled as one. It is a voyage of an adult in search of a sincerity and simple childhood-like excitement.
Where to get it:
Buy a printed version at your local book shop. Be old school, books are very cool to hold in your hands and turn over the pages.
Buy an e-book on Amazon.
Download a free version (pdf, ePUB or Kindle) – no spam, no tricks, this link actually works: http://ebookbees.com/the-little-prince-free-ebook/
3. and 4. Music cures. Dancing too. Get your day moving with a next step. Now we are all different with unique tastes but here’s what I was writing this article to:
Music really can make magic happen. I love those chill electronics by Moderat (German based group). Even 10 minutes of getting lost in a dance in between day-to-day errands putts a newly polished smile on my face.
Feeling more rhythmic? This youtube charnel full of salsa tutorials that are actually very easy to follow fulfills the mood:
For a funk mix of electronics this is the way to go:
But seriously go to dancing classes. Literally sign up for tonight’s local class ‘try it out’!! 🙂 It cleans you inside out – body and soul. It took me ages to make this decision. You know how it goes: lack of time, no partner, too expensive, just keep forgetting. It’s all called procrastination – google it! Signing up to classes takes a simple action – just find a school close to you or the one that looks fun, ask a friend, go to yelp, attend evening open dance classes – don’t over think it.
That’s a good movie to get you inspired on the topic (so old – so good):
5. Seal your wish in an empty bottle of wine.
How to prepare:
Buy a bottle of wine (not too expensive, don’t make it too fency, or the wish will think that you are trying to buy it out). It has to be special: pick by nice label picture, or drink the one that a good person gave you, or buy one here – this wine store claims to expose wine to music, that should change its structure and make every cell of your body cheer.
Drink it. Preferably in a beautiful place to charge it with some good memories and share it with some good people, but I’ll tell you secretly – drinking it alone for this cause is fine too (maybe not the whole bottle…and don’t drink and drive, right?).
Make a wish, blow it inside the bottle and cork it right away (so that a wish can’t escape).
What’s the magic:
Your wish comes true! Really:) Just be humble and you’ll get 10 times worth of a wish.
To be continued…Saving some for the next magical day!!:)
It was in mid April 2013, that Kiev drowned in snow almost overnight. And that snow storm just wouldn’t stop. In spite of a perception of Eastern Europe as an eternal winter – it’s not rue. At least in Kiev [Ukraine] we normally wear jeans and t-shirts in mid April. But it started to snow. I remember my neighbors tying to dig out the front door to our apartment complex, as it was blocked by snow. (In fact in Russia during the USSR, it was common to build doors so that they open inside the room/building, for that particular reason. But we are not Russia, so we still have problems opening doors on the days like that.)
Cars got stuck in traffic on the highways that lead in and out of Kiev for two days. Many including myself happily used this opportunity to snowboard down the streets.
Later I stopped by my friend’s art studio. Slavik is a sculpture artist. He had been working on this project for three days now, and cycled to the studio in spring outfit (as three days ago it was spring), before he knew the snowstorm would break out. Slavik is from Odessa and these people are known to be arrogant, but also very hard-working. After locking himself up and eventually finishing the project, he realized he had to make his way home now (to the dorms, where he lived at the time). He got his bike ready. It was a nice Bianchi road bike.
Next day he told us how he cycled to the dorms all the way through the snow-covered streets and that, even though his bike was rather sliding than riding – he made it home quicker than all those cars stuck in snow and traffic, because bikes never get stuck.
I remember cycling to the presentation of my first big commissioned project with a laptop in my backpack through the rainstorm, that would challenge my eyes to even attempt open for a second (as pouring water would momentarily get in them). And then standing in front of the ‘white-collared’ customers, all covered in dirt, with that soaked laptop. But I really wouldn’t rather stay in traffic, because of some collision ahead.
And of course there are those days when you get a flat tire, during that ‘I’ll be right back’ trip. You realize you have nothing that could help you to fix it, and no people around that are willing to assist.
Just that group of mtb cyclists, who almost break your tube even more, by trying to use their air pump on your bike.
And then you walk in your cycling shoes for an hour and a half, with only Slavik on the other end of the phone to entertain you, because his stories are always unbelievably more intense and it somehow makes you feel lucky.
Painting above: ‘Froome Chasing Geese’ – acrylic on canvas. It was inspired by that stage of 2016 Tour De France, during which, after a massive uphill and nervous competition between Froome and Quitano (who was unsuccessfully trying to break away), a crash took place in the front rows of break away. It happen because of the misplaced finish line. It was high in the mountains and due to weather conditions the finish line was moved a bit down. That caused a tight crowd. A motorcycle, that was supposed to clear the way, ran into standing too close spectators and suddenly hit breaks blocking the cyclists. Froome got left without his bike as it was broken. Without further hesitation he started to run to a finish line, that was just around the corner. It reminded me that feeling of chasing geese when you are a kid and you are running for life. Also I was inspired by that book ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’, that I remembered from childhood.
Paintings above: series ‘Chasing The Pink’ – acrylic on canvas. They are dedicated to chasing the dreams (the allegory is a reference to the pink shirt of a champion of Giro d’Italia).
Read more about the creation of the painting above ‘Sky is the Limit’ in my previous post.
The new painting, I am currently working on, explores the absurdity of cycling situations. In this case it’s cycling through snow, no matter what. See the sketch below.
Follow my blog and Instagram to see the finished painting.
Sky Is The Limit – is the painting that was created at a very special part of my life. I am an artist and was painting for as long as I can remember myself. However after graduating from my art academy I was close to realization that I might be not that good at painting and maybe I will achieve more in promoting art (more of a PR/marketing sector of the industry). I also got involved in advertising and contemporary ballet. In fact, I even developed the whole ballet performance project (Sweet Expiration), that I took to NYC to try to raise funds for its production. Little did I know that was the trip that took me away from home country Ukraine for good.
Ballet performance never was produced. I ended up moving to Arizona. The day my plane landed on the US soil, the national revolution had started in Ukraine. I didn’t paint for two years. Then I started that “so west coast” common routine of doing yoga in the morning at a gym, followed by those super overpriced kale smoothies.
I discovered that my yoga group instructor at the Village gym was a massage therapist. My spine is far from perfect and running/snowboarding etc. really don’t help. So I set up an appointment. She was great. I felt like I could breathe again (that magic was the massage, she gave). That day we agreed for a barter: I paint her a painting and she gives me massage sessions worth of the painting cost. I got intrigued to fit her place and concept of it with the painting I will make for her. I came across the Bolivian salt flats pictures. Then, I read all those stories about the biggest one of them – Salar de Uyuni.
It is the world’s biggest salt flat desert. And just a few times a year, during a rainy season, it get’s covered by few inches of water. That is enough to make it the world’s biggest mirror. In fact, it’s so perfect, it is used to calibrate satellites. The beauty of it (how I imagine it) has curved into my consciousness for a while now. I read multiple blogs on how to travel there. It is definitely on my bucket list. Among the best ones seemed to be this:
Deserts like that, are often used for setting speed records (due absence of obstacles). I saw this bike. It all suddenly came together: the Bolivian salt flat desert and Tour of Italy (Giro d’Italia – pro-cycling bike race) that I was obsessing over recently (as it was the end of May, and I was watching this race live).
I made the first painting, that inspired me to proceed with the whole series. My yoga instructor loved it. I quit yoga classes and smoothies very soon, and never saw her again. But she appeared in my life in the perfect time to kickstart my painting process.
There is also a great song Sky Is The Limit by Notorious B.I.G. The actual painting was titled in its name. It still hangs in my bedroom – looking for the right buyer. But it is definitely one of the most special for me.
NEW SERIES is inspired by a process of detachment from the homeland. I left Ukraine two years ago now. And throughout this time I was observing the changes I was facing. These includes the personal attitude towards patriotism and the phenomenon of friendship in spite of distance. Immigration also influenced my overall view-point on the choice of being an artist and staying true to your statement. I also explored the trance-continental dialog one faces through a change of geographical location and the access to the social media that keeps you up to date with the lives that used to surround oneself. Mixed fillings caused the dream-like mixture of memories combined with current political and cultural events that troubled the world in 2015-16.