Posts in Category: Art




6″x6″ (15×15 cm) – oil on aluminum panel

Colombina in Italian means “little dove.” She is a character in the Commedia dell’Arte, a mistress to Harlequin, a clever and funny maid-servant and a wife to Pierrot. She is often the only intelligent person on stage. Venetian carnival mask of the same name reflects heavy eye makeup play character Colombina wears on stage.

This little painting is the 5th in my series Phantasmagoria. I painted it in 6”x6” size as it was meant for Randy Higbee’s 6”Squared show in December 2015, but it never made it there. I had to travel and live overseas for 2 months to be with my family during my father’s illness and passing. The little half-finished Colombina sat on my easel and waited for me to return to her. She was a little trickster indeed, it took me some time to work out her intricacies, curlicues, ribbons and gold.

All That Glitters…

All That Glitters

All That Glitters

6″x6″ (15×15 cm) – oil on aluminum panel

… isn’t Gold.

Of course this is the main idea behind the title and the painting.

Sometime when I am long gone, and my paintings would command exorbitant prices, and museums would be fighting for them (dreams are allowed 🙂 !!), then art historians will be scratching their heads about what did I mean by this image and coming up with their usual nonsense. To spare them this awful fate, I’ll explain :).

This is a Venetian carnival mask called Medico Della Peste, translated Plaque Doctor. Back then in medieval time they began to realize that medics needs some kind of protection when attending the sick, and a mask of this configuration was used cover a face. A scary thought! Centuries later it transformed into a carnival mask, if a little macabre.

The draped dark silk and upturned goblets hopefully add to the dark carnival mood. But there is more to this fabric, this is a blue scarf that I wore as a teenager back in Russia in Kishinev. God only knows how I still have it decades later and continents away, but I do. So when I wanted blue for color composition, I remembered it. Almost every painting I paint has a hidden meaning or a little joke that I keep for myself, for my private entertainment and chuckle. This blue scarf is a reference to my own self in a different time and a different world, when I knew frighteningly little and possibilities were so big.

All That Glitters is the 4th painting for my series Phantasmagoria.

Group Portrait

Group Portrait

Group Portrait

12″x12″ (30×30 cm) – oil on gessobord

I finally finished it!

This painting was in the works seemingly forever. I painted Noh back in 2011, I think. Ever since then I’ve been looking for doll heads to paint more of them. I finally found a treasure trove of them early this year, 2015. And then, in a way it often happens when the right time has come, the husband asked for a new work for the cover of his new book. I started working on ideas and this composition resulted.

It took two and a half months to paint. It is the most complex work I have ever done to date. Even more complex than Adagio for Three Strings! But then, as my daughter pointed out, I always say this.

We will send Group Portrait to the publishing house shortly and hope that it will get approved as cover art for Phenomenology of Empathy by Lou Agosta. It is also another installment for my new series Phantasmagory.


2014…. and it’s a wrap!

2014 is quickly wrapping up. It is a dark early evening, too dark to paint, so I am blogging instead. Facebook and WordPress are putting out these computer generated annual content reports, but they are much too silly, or artificial is possibly a better description. So I thought I will tell you what really happened this year :).

I painted 6 paintings:

Ok, the last one – working title Turning Time – is still a work in progress!

E is for Empathy will appear on a cover of my husband’s book A Rumor of Empathy, Resistance, Narrartive, Recovery in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy – Lou Agosta, PhD. Interesting book, check it out!

Adagio for Three Strings has won a Most Innovative award in National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS) Fall Show. Much too excited about this!

I had work in two shows in 2014:

– Matite in Viaggio, Centro Candiani, Venice Italy – October 2014

– National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS) – December 2014

Ardmore overpass 8-1-2012

I participated in my second Sketchpack project

It runs from Cape Town South Africa. Every day for the month of August I drew a small drawing. My 31 drawings traveled to Cape Town SA to participate in a show.


I have started teaching oil painting

and had a number of victims students study with me in my studio as well as online via Skype, gotta love technology!

Paul painting

Paul painting


Urban Sketchers Chicago

Urban Sketchers Chicago, a sketching group I started in 2012, is going strong with its monthly sketch crawls, active Facebook, blog and other online presence. The group now has nearly 350 sketchers and a wonderful unique spirit.

Chicago Sketch Seminar 2014 took place in June 2014 and was a great success. I was privileged to lead a group amazing volunteers and together we created this wonderful event. About 70 sketchers from all over USA and even one international sketcher attended and participated in 8 sketching workshops and 3 sketching activities. And one Dinner, Drinks and Drawing event!

If you are still reading this, I really appreciate!

I hope you had nice holidays so far and wishing you Happy Healthy and Artful New Year!!

National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society – show and award

I am working on a year in review post and first thought to put it there, but I am much too happy and excited and can’t wait – so here is the big news right away:

My painting Adagio for Three Strings was juried into National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS) fall show and was awarded a “Most Innovative” award! I am alongside several artists friends whose work I admire. How totally cool and exciting! I danced a little jig this morning when I learned this news!

Adagio for Three Strings

Adagio for Three Strings

PencilScribbles turns 5

Today PencilScribbles blog turns 5 years old! Yes, time flies while you are painting!

I always try to do something nice for my blog on its birthday… This year the number is significant, and so the present is befitting. PencilScribbles gets a makeover and a new home!!

Welcome to all our friends to our new website

Party time on Hollywood beach

It’s party time! The whole beach is celebrating!!

This is an independent, self hosted site with a ton of space and a dazzling array of functionality. That is aside from being beautiful.

Great thank you to my dear friend Laura Sfiat for the fantastic help with setting it up.

Alex Zonis’ interview

Just to let my blog friends know – Daily Paintworks gallery interviewed me for their site and blog. If you have nothing better to do, you can read my wisdoms, BS and stuff here – Alex Zonis’ interview.

The photo they used is obsolete – an old self portrait. Here’s a fresh one –

Alex profile 8-1-13

Sketching, what else…

Waterworks show

With my two portraits at Waterworks show

14th Annual Waterworks show opened yesterday in August House gallery in Chicago. The turn out was fantastic! People were standing shoulder to shoulder with barely any room to get to paintings. The weather seemed to be in line with the theme of the show as water was coming down from the sky with great enthusiasm.

I showed two of my watercolor portraits: Meyr and Odelia, and got great feedback on them from guests and participating artists. It feels very good, especially considering that overall level of work at the show was very high.

2011 in review

The prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sketchbook Project in Chicago

Sketchbook Project 2011 was in Chicago last weekend. For 4 glorious day 10,000 books were on exhibit in Hyde Park Art Center. Of course, I spent a lot of time there: to get my hands on my friends’ books and see them in person, to see new sketchbooks, and to reunite with my own while it was back in town.

Myself with my sketchbook and Shane, an Art House and Sketchbook project co-founder

I checked out my book and discovered that it needed some minor repairs, a couple of things got unglued. The next day I brought glue, tape and scissors and made the repairs right then and there to much delight of artists and visitors nearby.

Some sketchbooks I saw:

Carol King‘s book along with my favorite portrait from my own book

Vin Ganapathy of NYC and Debra Morris of Hong Kong

Joe Tomlison and Jeff Wrench, self-portraits

Nicola of PointyPix and Becky

Critters from two other books I loved

And finally…

David with his portrait!

I was delighted David could come and see my work as well as a number of other books.

I saw many more books, but it was impossible to document all that I saw as the crowd was so dense.

All in all it was a success!