Alexandra Otieva Watercolour is an instantaneous art

I met Alexandra Otieva at the Vienna Ball in Moscow, where the artist presented her watercolour "The bay" for a charity lottery.

Alexandra, at the Vienna Ball, many guests were attracted by your unusually beautiful dress in bright floral printing.

Thank you, this silk dress is made themed on my painting "Poppies". In my opinion, it is a wonderful idea – to transfer watercolours to fabrics and create very feminine, romantic dresses from them. This is my second flower dress. The first was made especially for my personal exhibition and was based on the picture "Peonies in bloom."

And why you have chosen such a complex technique – watercolours on a wet sheet?

Indeed, watercolour is a very capricious thing! You cannot be mistaken; otherwise the paint is immediately absorbed into the paper. This is not as in the case oil paints, when you can paint for a week, two weeks, several years ... You can not interrupt creativity for a minute. Sometimes it takes 4 hours to work standing up, without a break, even for a cup of coffee ... Watercolour is an instantaneous art.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I draw it from nature, music, theatre, meetings with interesting people. Creativity requires an impulse. Sometimes there may a week, a month, two months, when I do not paint at all, and the "white sheet" syndrome begins, like in the case with writers or composers. Conscience begins to prick me... But when, finally, inspiration comes, the picture itself is made in the head and is put down on the paper.

What is the originality of your work?

In style, manner of painting, large-scale format and individuality. In the landscape series, the decorative effect becomes secondary. The mood prevails here. I try to feel and convey the peculiarity of the landscape, which gives the works a unique sounding. The quintessence of my sensation is a few almost abstract works, completely built on the basis of colour chords.

Are you a frequent participant in cultural and secular events in Russia and abroad?

I am inspired by such attention and appreciation of my creativity. Out of the recent events, I want to name a personal vernissage in the city of Beaulieu-sur-Mer in an elegant building in "belle epoque" style where about 70 paintings and an album that reflects my work over the past 15 years were presented. A series of my floral paintings blended seamlessly into the traditional floral defile of Tatiana Tridvornova at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. I plan to participate in the festival "Symphony of the Cote d'Azur" in the Grimaldi forum and in the famous Italian resort of Montecatini Terme in September this year within the framework of the festival "Dark Eyes". I am glad to participate in the Easter Festival in Nice on the 1st of May. I am preparing for two personal exhibitions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Franco-Russian association Menton-Sochi which will be hold in June, and in Beaulieu-sur-Mer in La Rotunda on August 5-6, and also for the exhibition under UNESCO guidance and ARTMONACO in October.

Working in the field of design for silk and porcelain is a logical continuation of the creative career?

Watercolour is an amazing, transparent paint, applicable to everything. Most of my works are of a decorative nature. I'm fascinated by the design for silk scarves. There are also specific orders.

The desire to work with a floral design on porcelain appeared accidentally. I had a dream: the hotel "Ritz" on the Place Vendôme in Paris, where in the glass window there were exhibited items made of porcelain with my peonies on them. This dream was the impetus for the new project. We stopped on tea and coffee cups made of bone china. We made arrangements with a well-known porcelain factory having a great history and traditions. Very carefully we developed the logo and design of the box.

So the creation of your own brand is not so far away?

Yes, it will be called "Alexandra Otieva". The main goal is to open a boutique-gallery, where not only my paintings will be presented, but also exclusive decorative items.

« Sometimes it takes 4-6 hours to work standing up, without a break, even for a cup of coffee … Watercolour is an instantaneous art»

Is this the influence of France which led you to a decision to become an artist?

Of course, this beautiful country had a special influence on me. But I paint since childhood. My first exhibition abroad took place in France 15 years ago in the small town of Saint-Cloud near Bordeaux. I was the youngest participant there. I successfully sold several works before the official opening of the vernissage.

You live on the Côte d'Azur for a long time already, then, from where do Russian images originate, for example, snow-covered landscapes?

Nostalgia. The picture that took the longest period of time was "Samovar." I always wanted to paint it, but I did not want to do it classically, in a figurative way. Once I saw the right image and implemented it.

There is an opinion that watercolour is short-lived, is it really so?

I do not agree, sometimes watercolours are stored longer than oil paintings. I know some works from the 11th century. You just need to know how to keep it. It is better to keep it under glass, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Are there many artists in France working in the watercolour technique on a raw sheet?

There is no one among the locals. Across the whole Europe, there are very few such artists.

Do you have a desire to transfer your skills to students?

When I lived in Nice, kids came to me every week. And I was very upset when I stopped giving lessons. This was due to the search for inspiration, I began to travel a lot. And in Europe it always was a journey to the pictures of artists. In London I went to Turner, in Spain – to Goya, in Paris – to the Impressionists.

How do you feel in France?

I feel at home. I really like the climate and nature. Here are the optimal conditions for creativity. Many famous masters came here to create because of the abundance of sunlight, amazing colours of the azure sea.

Magazine «Black Tie», 201