In Secluded Corners of Nature with Natalia Polikarpova

In Secluded Corners of Nature with Natalia Polikarpova

December 17, 2021

Natalia Polikarpova lives and works in Belozersk, in the Vologda region of Russia. Belozersk is a small provincial town, but with a very rich history. It was founded in 862. I love my city - this is my inspiration for creativity!

Graduated from the Art School and the Faculty of Fine Arts of Cherepovets State University with Honours.

Natalia Polikarpova at a recent exhibition of her artworks


Natalia has been actively engaged in exhibition activities since 2014. She has participated in more than 30 international and regional exhibitions, including 5 solo exhibitions in Russia.

For the last 5 years Natalia has been working in the dry pastel technique. She really loves this medium. The main themes of her works are landscapes and flowers! Natalia loves experimenting with pastels, looking for new styles and techniques. She regularly conduct master classes on working with pastels for students of art schools and everyone who wants to. Natalia is actively engaged in the promotion of pastel painting in her region.


What initially drew your towards becoming an artist?

I am a third generation artist. My uncles and aunts were artists, and I grew up in paintings and in a creative environment.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I work in dry pastel technique. I would call my style "Non-classical realism". Fast, free, lightweight.

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

I have previously used oil, acrylic and watercolours. Once I tried to simply create a large sketch outdoors with dry pastels. I liked it, I fell in love with pastel from the first time and realized that this is what I want to do and develop in it.


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

I want to improve my pastel painting technique, develop my own unique style and bring it all to perfection. I am a very demanding artist to myself, to what I do. And I know that if I like my result myself, my viewer will like my work.

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

The support of my family is my main inspiration. And the belief of my mentors and teachers in me that I can work in any technique and on any material.

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

I believe that you can work with any pastel, the main thing is to find an approach to it. Understand its qualities and adapt to it. I like working with different pastels, different global brands. Because each of them is good and allows you to create the work the way I like.


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

The main theme of my work is nature. Basically, I choose secluded corners where there are very few people - there nature has retained its pristine beauty and purity. One of the goals of my work is to attract the viewer to the topic of preserving nature, real, not affected by humans. Nature gives us the opportunity to unite with her, recharge her energy, strength and, at the same time, achieve peace, rest, complete relaxation. And I try to convey this in my paintings. With my work, I want to give a person the opportunity to stop, look around and see the world that surrounds us, to make it possible to understand that nature loves us and we must love her, allowing her to remain what she is. And in some ways take an example from her.

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

I walk and travel a lot, observe, make sketches, take photographs. And when I realize that this place has penetrated into my soul, I start thinking about creating a picture. From the very beginning, it is created in my head. I have to see her and feel her. And when everything is worked out for me, I began to paint a picture on cardboard or paper.


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 try to work every day. Waking up in the morning, but still not getting out of bed, I lie with my eyes closed and imagine my new work, think about it. I keep this in my head until I start working. I make coffee, sit down at my easel with a cup of coffee, look at a blank sheet of cardboard and begin to draw a future picture with my own eyes. for this I need only that no one distracts me and there is complete calmness.

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 whole picture at once. I sketch out the whole plot, then I paint one small fragment to the end, so that it inspires me for all the work, and then I finish all the work. By nature and temperament, I have to create one piece at a time. Lay out all the emotions at once. Then I put it aside, I study it, examine it, and if something does not suit me, then I will correct it.

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

I am a perfectionist. I have a clear idea of what I want from myself as an artist. And I'm going to do it. I experiment with paper, new pastels, find interesting techniques and work a lot, a lot, a lot. And as you know: "Quantity sooner or later turns into quality."

Which of your artworks are you most proud?

I have no idea that I am proud of my work. There are works that I look at from time to time and I understand that I like them more and more every time. And then I understand that this work was a success. For example, "White Nights", "The Way Home", "Quiet Evening".


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

I like a lot of pastel artists from Europe, America and China. I won't name specific names because every artist has super successful work. The painting itself inspires me when I see how it is professionally executed in composition, colour and technique. It stimulates me to be creative.

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

France. Impressionists. Russia early 19th century development of pastel painting among Russian artists Levitan and Serov.

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

I don't think there are any problems for artists now. Now everyone can realize their ideas and fantasies.


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

The most important advice. Never get discouraged or give up what you are doing. And keep working and look for yourself in creativity. Success loves hard work and assertiveness.

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

I love all fine arts, all directions. And when I see that some work is being performed masterfully, at the highest level, it always excites me, stimulates and energizes me. I want to try working with clay. Modeling attracts me very much, but so far the arms and legs have not reached him!

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?

No, I do not have it. By virtue of my character. If my work is not successful, I am disappointed in it, then I do not return to it. As a rule, I am not mistaken.


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 am a fighter for the conservation of nature. I want us to leave nature alone. And just live next to her and admire her. This is what I always try to portray in my paintings. And yes, I believe that an artist should be responsible to society, for what he promotes in his work.

What are you working on at the moment?

Now we have winter in Russia. More time for creativity. I have one major project that I will keep secret for now as I continue to work on it.

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

Not yet. But now I have proposals from France and Russia to support some foundations with their works. they are all related to the protection of wildlife and animals.


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?

Over the past 5 months, I have taken part in more than 15 international and Russian exhibitions and competitions. Two of them were personal. In the Arctic, in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and in my hometown of Belozersk. Many plans are already for 2022. They are also associated with solo exhibitions in other countries and international biennials. And also conducting master classes on drawing with pastels according to our own method.

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