Artist Svetlana Orinko’s use of light, form and color make her gorgeous floral watercolors appear to be lit from within. Visit her website to see more of her art.
I began my journey as an artist at a very young age. I was born and grew up in Ukraine. I had a more difficult start in life than most children; at seven years of age I was placed in an institution for disabled children. I still don’t know why, as I looked very normal. Maybe it was because my parents were very poor and our living situation was so crammed it seemed they had little alternative but to place me into full-time state care.
To escape the harsh realities, I found comfort in painting and drawing. After five years of living in an extremely sterile environment, one of the teachers noticed my abilities and encouraged my parents to enroll me in an art school. For me this was like a dream come true. I had lost hope in the idea that I could ever live a normal life like most children, and at last I could live at home with my family.
After passing an entrance examination at the age of twelve, I began a rigorous classical Old Masters art education program, which would take me almost ten years to complete.
My childhood years vanished; in addition to art school, I also attended regular school with the other children my age. Art school was extended education; I was required to produce twenty watercolors and sixty drawing sketches per week just as homework alone! The artwork produced by the students was confiscated by the teachers and at the end of each term would be burnt on a bonfire at the back of the art school; this was the way they could ensure the same work was not presented twice.
After completing my education, I was unable to make a living from my art in Ukraine. Fortunately, I was also an accomplished dressmaker and had my own clientele from which I did manage to make a living.
Life was difficult and opportunities were limited in the former USSR. I started looking for solutions to better my world and to give my growing daughter a better future. In 1992, I immigrated to beautiful New Zealand and started painting full-time while bringing up my young family.
In a short time I become known for my detailed floral watercolors and portraits. My work became popular with art lovers around the world.
For over thirty years I painted exclusively in watercolors, probably because it was a compulsory medium in art school. Last year I traveled twice to the United States to learn painting in oils from some of my favorite artist teachers—David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw and Robert Liberace.
My traditional art school background taught me that the real skill comes from, “Say what you want to say with minimum brushstrokes.”
I see beauty in simple things. I am attracted to any subject matter that contains a strong abstract pattern and displays an interesting interplay of colors. There is poetry in simplicity. I like to transform my chosen subject into visual poetic language. Subject matter sometime dictates whether I choose to work in watercolor or in oil or even drawing.
Artist Svetlana Orinko invites you to follow her on Facebook.