The Canvas Listens in Response with Josephine Florens

The Canvas Listens in Response with Josephine Florens

August 20, 2021

Josephine Florens was born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1988. She graduated from Odessa Law School, Odessa National Law Academy and received a Master's Degree in Civil Law, she later graduated from Odessa International Humanitarian University and received a Master's Degree in International Law.

Josephine started painting in 2017. She studied at the "Art-Ra" painting school with the Odessa artist-painter Sergei Simora. The main direction of study was the South Russian School of Painting . Josephine Florens is an honorary member of the Union of Poets and Writers of the World, an international organization of poets, writers and artists from around the world, as well as being a member of the Odessa Marine Union, Ukraine. Member of the "Primorsky Boulevard" section.


Florens creates oil paintings in various genres, such as portrait, landscape, still life, genre painting, animal painting, marina. Works with oil paints. The painting styles used in the work are realism, impressionism and mixed styles.

What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

We all, to great misfortune, sometime lose our parents. Such is life ... I very sadly endured the death of my mother in 2017 and I really wanted to start studying painting professionally. I couldn't resist. I found a good professional - a painting teacher and began to study with him individually at his art school "Art-Ra". He instilled in me a great love for painting, directed me to my own style and I went further and further and now I paint professionally, participate in international exhibitions, competitions, festivals, take commissions and do it all with love.

How would you describe your own personal style?

If we talk about my own style, I would call it mixed, illustration in pictorial realism, fabulousness, fantasy, but at the same time reality, all this mixed up is my painting.

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

I was pushed by my inner world, my interests and views on different things and the world in general. My works are different, but nature is almost always visible in them, I really love and protect nature, animals, with my paintings I bring this love to people and really hope that I can influence the worldview of people in the field of nature, ecology, protection of animals and children.

What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

I don't like it when the easel is empty. Some invisible hand from above pushes me to paint this or that painting, I can start painting one, but as a result, the idea changes, it becomes deeper, more precise, more beautiful. I create paintings constantly and work daily. Anything can inspire me. From a street lamp to a plate of Ukrainian borscht.


Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

People can inspire me, it's true. They can inspire me and direct me with their words and stories to some interesting idea for my new painting and can also inspire with themselves, their inner world, their appearance and charisma.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

I only work with oil paints and linseed oil. These are my favorite materials for my paintings. I prefer completely different brushes. I don't like sketches. If I start a work, then this is a full-fledged painting and I work with it from start to finish.

When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

In the subject of my work, I am attracted by the fact that I can create "life" on an absolutely blank canvas. Paintings carry energy, convey mood, convey the artist's skill, his thoughts, his attitude to life. For an artist, painting is like a psychologist. You tell the canvas whatever you want, create whatever you want on it, and the canvas listens in response and directs you to deep reflection.


Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

The process of my work is incomprehensible even to me. I'll explain why. First, inspiration, the right mood comes to me, then I reflect on the idea, then I start painting and in the process of work I modify the painting, because in the course of work new ideas come to me and I supplement my painting and make it deeper and more thoughtful.

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

I like to paint in the morning or at lunchtime, at this time of day I am more efficient. I never drink alcohol before or during work. Even a little. It really hinders my work. I like to drink tea, coffee while working, sometimes I turn on classical music, jazz or other calm and positive musical compositions.

When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

I work on the entire canvas at once. First large spots, then the spots get smaller and then I work out the details. I like to work on two or three paintings at once. I always have several paintings in the process.

How has your art evolved to be where it is today?

I think that art changes, grows or degrades along with the artist. Fortunately, my art is growing and I am with it, and in order to answer the question of how my art became what it is now, you need to ask how I became exactly what I am at the moment. My art is an integral part of me. My losses and my joys, new acquaintances, children, family, friends, animals, my environment, my disappointments and my dreams, all of this has influenced and will continue to influence my whole life.

Which of your artworks are you most proud?

There are several of my paintings that I am proud of. These are "The Road to Mom" (dedicated to my mother), "Happy Elf" (the image is taken from my son), "Just One Kiss" (I love and collect frogs), "King of the Heart ”(with my beloved dog Peter) and many others.


Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

There are artists whose work I admire. On social networks, I have befriended many artists from different countries, I cannot remember all their names, but I remember their work, often it is realism with elements of fantasy (not photo-realism). I dream of seeing the work of these artists in reality.

If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

Romanticism, Sentimentalism, Realism, Impressionism and Academicism are close to me. 

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

An artist of the 21st century, first of all, should not imitate, should not be afraid to create what he sees in his head with his inner vision, he should not be afraid to paint or paint in whatever way he wants and the way he likes. Many people now focus only on money. But don't lose yourself chasing money.


What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Do not take all the teacher's words to be true. Learn from them the basics, learn from the techniques of painting, but go your own way, learn on your own, do not imitate, develop your own vision and your individual direction and style.

Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

There is a style that I consider the highest skill. This is realism. The art of accurately conveying reality, skin, body, details of nature, details in general and applying and reflecting your imagination on canvas, of course, is what I consider to be a great skill.

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

You can always improve the painting, but I force myself to finish the painting and stop. This is truly one of the most difficult moments in painting.


Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

I believe that all artists are completely different, but if we talk about me, then I pursue a certain goal and really try to shed light on this or that problem that worries me.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a portrait of a beautiful girl and a delicious still life. Recently I finished work on a commissioned icon painting.

Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?

I am a member of the Union of Marine Painters of the City of Odessa and also a member of the National Association of Artists and Sculptors of Ukraine. This is a very rewarding experience, as it opens the curtains and you can see how other artists live, see their painting style and how he or she creates, it helps me to move forward and show my artworks to the world.


When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

I constantly participate in various exhibitions, from interesting, for example, there will soon be an exhibition of paintings in which I will be presented as a member of the organizing committee and as an artist. This exhibition will be on the maritime theme in memory of the departed president of the "Union of Marine Painters of Odessa", I am also a nominee for the Global Art Awards Tokyo and I look forward to the results, which will be very soon.

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