05/08/14 By Janessa Osle
Skilled multimedia artist Varvara Harmon has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. "I was one of those kids who drew on everything and anything: walls, furniture, whatever I could find!" Art has always been a huge part of her life wherever she has lived and worked. Varvara is also the author of Painting in Acrylic.
Many artists have inspired Varvara, but the most influential have been Russian artists, including Ivan Shishkin, Ivan Aivazovsky, Fedor Alekseev, Vasily Vereshchagin, Arkhip Kuindzhi Serov, and Vasili Polenov, among others. She has also found many talented contemporary artists who are also good sources of inspiration.
In addition to acrylic, Varvara also paints in oil and watercolor and enjoys drawing. "Each media has its own beauty: oil gives you control over the process; watercolor is always surprising, especially when painting wet-on-wet; and acrylic dries very quickly, which is great if I am painting plein air," says Varvara.
There is no shortage of subjects that Varvara enjoys drawing and painting. She loves painting seascapes, landscapes, sill lifes, and florals, and also enjoys drawing portraits. "Working in different media and on a variety of subject matter makes the process of creating art fun!"
Acknowledging that composition is essential to rendering a successful painting or drawing, Varvara usually does a few rough sketches first before she starts painting on the canvas. She claims that this is the fun part of the creative process since it allows for the artist to use their imagination.
Over the years, Varvara has explored many different media and painting techniques. "I found that it is fun to try things I have not done before and to discover what I like." Although the majority of her artwork is realistic, she also likes creating impressionistic paintings.
Aside from art, Varvara enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and walking along the ocean shore.
The surrounding beauty of nature constantly inspires me to create new paintings.
Varvara stays motivated as an artist by being involved in the art scene in her community—she works in an art gallery and teaches fine art classes and painting workshops. According to Varvara, "Art is not a profession, it is a life journey." She finds it very fulfilling to see her students progress and apply the techniques they learn in her class to create their own masterpieces.
To aspiring artists, Varvara recommends trying different styles and techniques in order to discover what you enjoy doing most, and then to master those skills. "The most important thing is to not be discouraged if your work is not perfect—it will get better with practice!"
To see more of Varvara's artwork, visit www.VarvaraHarmon.com
Janessa is Assistant Editor at Walter Foster Publishing. With strong opinions about everything, Janessa has an insatiable appetite for life and a profound love for the Ramones (and music in general), literature, art, nature, and her cats.
Art, like life, should be free, since they are both experimental.
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