In July 2013, Pskov played host to the Vth International Plein Air for professional artists, ‘Pskov Invites its Friends’, in which representatives from eight countries took part: Russia, France, Germany, Scotland, Finland, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. The Event was dedicated to the 1110th anniversary of the first mention of Pskov in the chronicle. The organizer of the event – the Children’s Art School of Pskov –did not intend to invite painters who only work in a realist style. But this time, the artists from the different countries who had gathered in Pskov, all showed their high artistic level and sincere love for surrounding nature, for the beauty of the architectural monuments of Pskov and its surroundings, as well as their respect for and understanding of Russian history.

It was difficult at first for our overseas guests to comprehend the immense spaciousness of Russian landscape right in front of us. It was necessary to combine promptly the elaborated creative methods with painting from nature under new circumstances, with some peculiarities in reproducing a simple, but at the same time very subtle and touching landscape. Some managed to do it earlier than others such as the French artist Jean-Marie Bouveau from Arles, Provence, (sunny compositions in a light colour range), Iveta Gudeta from Latvia, the Finnish artist Riikka Viinikanoja from Kuopio, Andrew Hunter, Dave Hunt (a professional photographer who took part in our Plein Air Events for the first time), Hugo Saunders who came to Pskov from Perthshire, Scotland. We were particularly surprised by Saunders. This talented young artist, very fond of classical art, managed to reproduce in his paintings subtle nuances of summer sunsets, doing it in a very Russian way.

The traditional Plein Air school, represented by Galina Filippova from Novgorod, Yevgeny Telkov from Moscow, Larissa Gordeeva and Igor Makeev from Pskov, was joined by artists from Tartu, Estonia, Enn Tegova and Mati Leppik as well as by Irina Bashun from Novopolotsk, Belarus. Their creative method turned out to be the closest to ours.

The German artists Ute Rueckert and Wolker Schmidt worked in their own very interesting manner. They created a number of remarkable works during a short period of time. 

There was a rich and diverse cultural programme, which helped to keep spirits high. “The music in the evenings brought another dimension to the friendly nature of the event adding to the friendly chatter across the dining table and the opportunity to meet and share ideas with all the other artists which was just amazing…”

The Plein Air Event was concluded with a large and well-organized exhibition in the Exhibition Hall of the Art School. More than 80 paintings and graphics, varied in their content and style, were shown there. No doubt, this exhibition was a very important event in Pskov’s artistic life. The Plein Air Event succeeded in uniting artists from different countries and in revealing their artistic skills during teamwork. Its splendid results clearly confirm that this form of creative interchange has good future prospects. 

Oleg Tsvetkov

Coordinator of the Plein Air Event, 

Meritorious Painter of Russia.

 

Some of the 2013 artists.

“Hugo Saunders – a gifted young artist who adores classical art – came from Perthshire, Scotland. His favourite Russian landscape painters are Shishkin, Levitan and Kuindzhi. This admiration came to him through hard work from nature during his study at the famous Charles Cecil Studios in Florence. Hugo managed to reproduce in his works plain sunsets in the evenings, with nature falling asleep. But they contain a lot of discretion, reservation, plaintive feeling of losing the day which is going away. Such paradoxes happen: a Scottish boy, but he did it in such a Russian way!”

Oleg Tsvetkov, painter, coordinator of the Plein Air Event 

Pskov, Russia

“It’s very interesting to watch Igor Makeev, a contemporary artist from Pskov with his own ideas about plein air painting, starts to create a new composition. He doesn’t even try to make an adequate copy from nature. For Igor, nature is just a starting point which allows him to transform what he sees into a serious multidimensional composition where everything is important: a distant forest on the hill, the tolling of the bells in the neighbouring church, a goat on the meadow…”

Oleg Tsvetkov, painter, coordinator of the Plein Air Event 

Pskov, Russia

“The places where we stayed and worked were, of course, long familiar to me. But when I come here and see this beauty again, I get an extremely powerful creative impulse and a new energy for work. Our plein air events are like short summer rains. They open new horizons in the vision of nature and give us an excellent source of inspiration.”

Oleg Tsvetkov, painter, coordinator of the Plein Air Event 

Pskov, Russia

“The French artist Jean-Marie Bouveau is an adherent of figurative, not abstract, art. In his creative work we can observe the influence of French post-impressionists with their typical palette of light colours and accentuated reproduction of nature under the sunlight. The figures of a man in his works not only represent a human being, but also bring a special meaning to his painting. Jean-Marie seeks to make a finished painting on the spot, at once.”

Oleg Tsvetkov, artist, coordinator of the Plein Air Event 

Pskov, Russia

“The German woman artist Ute Rueckert from Gera attended our events for the second time. This time she succeeded in creating an interesting triptych dedicated to the most remarkable places of Old Izborsk, Truvor’s Ancient Town and Maly Monastery. In these works she gathered together everything she knew about the history of those places, about the people who had lived there earlier and who continue to live here now. The beauty of ancient monuments, a reverential attitude towards nature, towards all living things on the Earth – that is what distinguishes this artist’s works.”

Oleg Tsvetkov, artist, coordinator of the Plein Air Event 

Pskov, Russia

“The Finnish female artist Riikka Viinikanoja from Kuopio, an amazingly fine and sensitive master, is more inclined towards decorative painting. Her small canvases are full of vivid observations, of interest for surrounding nature. They look as if they were inlaid with coloured pieces of cobalt glass assembled carefully, like a well harmonized musical melody.”

Oleg Tsvetkov, artist, coordinator of the Plein Air Event 

Pskov, Russia

FROM THE PLEIN AIR EXHIBITION IN PSKOV - a few titles of the works created

 

Hugo Saunders (Perthshire, Scotland)

“Pechory Fortress”. Card, oil. 2013

 

Hugo Saunders (Perthshire, Scotland)

“Silence on the Lake”. Card, oil. 2013

 

Irina Bashun (Novopolotsk, Belarus)

”The Towers of Pskov”. Canvas, acrylic. 2013

 

Riikka Viinikanoja (Kuopio, Finnland)

“Maly. The Summer Paths”. Canvas, acrylic. 2013

 

Riikka Viinikanoja (Kuopio, Finnland)

“Old Izborsk. The Chicory”. Canvas, acrylic. 2013

 

Larissa Gordeeva (Pskov, Russia)

“Old Izborsk. Morning”. Paper, acrylic. 2013

 

Iveta Gudeta (Valmiera, Latvia)

“ Noon in Maly”. Paper, water colour. 2013

 

Jean-Marie Bouveau (Arles, France)

“Old Izborsk. The Woman in the Field.” Canvas, water colour, coloured ink. 2013

 

Jean-Marie Bouveau (Arles, France)

“At the Sacred Spring.” Paper, water colour, coloured ink. 2013

 

Mati Leppik (Tartu, Estonia)

”The Izborsk motif.” Paper, water colour. 2013

 

Igor Makeev (Pskov, Russia)

“Old Izborsk. The Paradise Nook.” Canvas, oil. 2013