The paints are applied onto the paper, imprinting the soul...

"I admire the watercolour paintings by Alexandra Otieva! They have a lot of light, colour, style and soul! "

Tatiana Tridvornova

Alexandra Otieva was born in Saratov. Since 2004 she lives in France. She works in watercolour on a wet paper. In her portfolio there are more than 200 works. Some of them took a rightful place in private collections in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Saratov, London, Monaco, Nice, Paris, Boston, Montreux, Geneva... The author's paintings can be divided into five series: flowers, landscapes, still lifes, impressions and Russian winter. Alexandra's works have large formats, which is a rare thing for watercolours.

We met at the "Symphony of the Côte d'Azur" at Ephrussi de Rothschild villa at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, where the artist exhibited her watercolours for the charity auction "Peonies" and presented several paintings from the series "Flowers" that blend seamlessly into the flower show of Tatiana Tridvornova.

Alexandra, you have a stunningly beautiful dress, is this one of your works?

You are right; the 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."

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 4-6 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? What are your nearest plans for creativity?

I am inspired by such attention and appreciation of my creativity. I plan to hold an exhibition of paintings in the famous Italian resort of Montecatini Terme in September this year within the framework of the festival "Dark Eyes". I will participate in the Easter Festival in the Nikolsky Church 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 on June 4 at the Casino Barriere in Menton and the vernissage of my works in the town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer in La Rotunda on August 5-6. I also plan to participate in ARTMONACO in October.

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.