Born in Riga in 1980.
Ivonna studied at the Art Academy of Latvia in the Department of painting, graduated in 2005 with, Master of Arts.
Participated in exhibitions since 2002, she has organized 3 solo exhibitions. Have participated in many group exhibitions in Latvia, also Lithuania, Estonia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and France.
Most of her works are paintings, done with oil or acrylic on canvas. Ivonna paints abstract works and paints a lot in plein air. Also, she paints still lifes in a very academic style and also figurative paintings, because that’s her professional education and her experience as a teacher.
Ivonna was a painting and drawing teacher (2008-2020) at Riga Secondary school of Arts and Design. This experience developed an interest in design sketching and impressionism. The colored drawing and sketching with markers of different pantones changed the style and expression of her creative work, perhaps, to more like urban sketching, but still, it has the impression of academic knowledge, which she’s been studied in secondary art school and then in Art Academy of Latvia.
One of the most exciting experiences in Ivonna artist’s life was residing in 2014 in the artist studio of Latvia in “Citè Internationale des Arts” in Paris, France.
Latest residency Art Studio Ginestrelle in Assisi, Italy this year let fulfill a dream to paint on plein air in a land where was born so many great artists. That was also an opportunity to study the very picturesque Unesco site of the historical and legendary town of Assisi and Mont Subasio.
Hi Ivonna! What is your earliest memory of creating art?
Ivonna: Since I remember myself, I was drawing. In fact, as a child, I wasn’t interested much in anything else but painting. The earliest memory I have is from age 5 or 6 when I, as usual, was sitting by the big table and was painting sunset and horses. Perhaps it is a cliche, but those are my earliest memories about creating art.
Why did you choose acrylic as your medium?
Ivonna: I have been trained in art school and the Art Academy of Latvia with watercolor and then oil painting, but in the 90’s I tried acrylic, that was something new for me. I was interested in acrylics because it was different material from oil and comparing with oil colors it dried very fast. Nowadays it is normal, that you have very little time to create a new painting because everything must happen in a short time. The other thing that is my subject of interest in acrylics, is a wide range of textures and different surfaces, possible by using mediums, modeling pastes and metallic pigments. Though I do like oil painting, for me acrylic is more suitable for experimenting and exploration of new methods.
What is the most challenging part about working with acrylics, and what is the best part about working with acrylics?
Ivonna: The main problem in painting with acrylic is that if layers of color are too many, they can make a thick and too smooth layer that makes continuing painting impossible, that doesn’t happen in oil painting. It means that I have to count layers of color, have to think of the use of mediums and succession of layers of color. But these things come with experience.
The best part about acrylic as I mentioned before, is its wide range of materials, it helps to find new artistic and aesthetic solutions and if the result is not satisfying, it is easy to change it in a short time. As I am an impatient painter and I like to work rapidly, it suits me well.
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into making art? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Ivonna: The impulse – emotion or some scenery in nature, is in the beginning, then I imagine the common color of the painting. It reveals the emotion or the mood of the painting, then I choose canvas, the size, and format of it. Then I choose a basic color, it is the color under all layers, then tools and hues, usually 5 or 6 pigments. I don’t need a wide range of hues, I prefer a reduced palette. Then I start to paint my vision, using an intuitive way of painting, it is like to play or make a dialog with a canvas. Then I step back, observe a painting, and analyze it. Not always the primary idea survives until the end, because a painting leads you through a process by its own conditions, so I don’t bother about my vision before starting to paint, I am not attached to it, rather I do enjoy the painting process and try concentrate on a solution of the composition. It is very important to stop at the right moment. That’s the real craft, I think.
Your art evokes a lot of emotions through color and composition. Can you tell us how you use color and composition to evoke emotion in your pieces? And is there a message you are trying to send with each piece?
Ivonna: It is worthy to know what kind of format, size, color, technical and artistic mode of a painting makes that emotion. If you do then you can operate with these things and make an influence over a spectator. The choice of colors, tools, type of composition depends on the conception I have. Now I am more experienced, so I can predict the resistance of materials and control process of painting, but still, it is a secret for me how one painting becomes great, but another one has no effect on the public. For me as an artist it is important to create an attractive and even seductive painting and still to let enough inner space for a spectator to get in touch with a painting. Everyone is free to feel, to think, and to make his own impressions about my paintings, because my aim is to create such a painting that would a mirror of the spectator, not me.
You asked a very good question “has the art in nowadays longingness for spirituality, beauty, and sense of human life?”, What is your opinion on that subject?
Ivonna: I think there is too much pressure on artists to be socially and politically active in their art. If the artist has a natural interest in politics, then it’s great! Artists must believe in his own ideas and really explore the subject of his art not just make provocative, ugly art or art with a primitive narrative. I believe that people still longing for beauty and seek answers on their spiritual issues, but I have doubts about the ability of contemporary art to resonate with these yearnings, though there is a lot of technical advantages. I think painting is the most ungrateful genre of art for political and social manipulations, but it is suitable for spiritual, mental, and even mystical influence. The painting influences a spectator personally despite the globalization and individual dissolving in a mob or statistics, and that makes painting still attractive and actual for me and, I hope, for others too.
What artists influenced you the most and why?
Ivonna: My world was shattered when I first came to Italy, I was a student then. There I could see those grand artists from the art books and cards, Then I really started to understand how they manage to make such great works. I was captured by works of Caravaggio, Raphael, Giotto di Bondone, Piero della Francesca and many more. Italian art of renaissance and barocco always have been inspiring me. I also admire Raimonds Staprans paintings for their bright colors and light, I like elegant black paintings of Pierre Soulages, love laconic, but picturesque works of Nicholas de Stael. These are my favorite artists, but I am interested in many artists of nowadays and those who were before us. I just love painting and I wonder about the creative spirit of painters of all time.
Share some interesting facts about your art with us.
Ivonna: This is a very challenging question because I’ve never thought about that. Maybe it’s a fact, that the first abstract works I’ve painted at the age of 16, despite it wasn’t accepted at my art school. Then I painted abstract painting as my diploma work in the Art Academy of Latvia despite I was graduating from the department of Figurative painting. All my primary ideas with figures were rejected, so I decided to paint what I really want to paint.
The other fact could be that I have tried all traditional types of painting except egg tempera and fresco. So I still have things to learn and try.
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?
Ivonna: As for me, as I worked for a long time as an art teacher, art teaches reverence for beauty, the work of others, and respect for other’s life. I believe that art and any creative activity make a person better because creation lets a person get in touch with person’s own feelings, to understand, recognize, and express them. It can save a person’s life. And of course, art generates hope and faith in good.
What are you currently working on, and what’s next for you?
Ivonna: Currently I’ve been working on a cycle of round formate, small size paintings, inspired by transformations of the Moon. I’ve got really excited by working with these paintings. Let’s see if it turns out as an interesting art project.
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