Our latest Featured Artist is the fantastic Lana Arkhi, 50, who’s based in Broadstairs, Kent. Lana is a Russian-born British painter with a unique vision and tone. Her depictions of figures and shapes reveal new sides of ordinary objects, and her paintings make a vivid impression. Read on to find out more…
How did you get started as an artist?
As I recollect, at the age of 4, drawing a horse. As a child I enjoyed drawing and painting more than all other girlish pursuits. When I was 15 I entered Art college and eventually graduated from the Moscow University of Lenin.
I began my artistic career as a painter of large murals and now I am a member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers. You never know where life might lead you.
What inspires you to be creative?
Much of my work is commissioned, so my clients often inspire me with their mandates. I paint a lot of animals and pets so trying to capture their personalities is demanding and rewarding. Testimonials from my clients energise me and drive me forward.
In September 2017 I was honoured to be elected a member of the Royal Miniature Society. I now get to exhibit my work every year alongside very talented artists such as Elizabeth Meek, Alison Griffin, Michael Coe. That inspires me.
How would you describe your creative process?
If it’s not commissioned, my work is often spontaneous. Ideas can appear after visiting a theatre or an art exhibition, or sometimes just out of thin air. I can keep an idea in my head for months and then realise it at the most unpredictable moment.
What’s your favourite medium to work in and why?
As a professional artist and art tutor I work in many different mediums and styles. Often, I use watercolours, acrylics, oils, pastels, onglaze and underglaze porcelain paints in both realistic and abstract forms.
In addition to from these classic mediums I like trying new materials and tools. For example, last year I started running Anime & Manga Drawing workshops where we use twin-tipped markers.
Sometimes I teach my students how to paint in abstract styles using a variety of tools and materials – for instance, using palette knives with fluorescent acrylics or techniques such as pouring acrylic paints.
How do you tackle a blank canvas?
With commissions, you are given a precept, so the image is usually predetermined. So, in those cases my assignment is to uncover the art in the image.
Sometimes, I have an idea in my head for quite a while and I implement it on canvas only when I have clarity in my mind. On other occasions my students leave a lot of paint on their palettes and, not wanting to waste it, I begin painting a work for which there is no clear idea at the beginning – I just start painting.
What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?
The lack of time. I have so many ideas but not enough time to realise them all. Each day is short, and life is much too short!
Being an art tutor, I work a lot with young artists. Almost all of them say that they struggle to create, but their main problem is that they are not brave enough. After a few lessons with me they feel more confident and, as a result, produce amazing paintings.
Art helps build self-esteem which is very important in life. Art helps to express your feelings and share your ideas with the world. I say to my students that every person is talented, you just need the time to discover your talent and the bravery to exhibit it.
In which ways do you differentiate your work from that of other creatives?
Being a Member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters I create extremely detailed artwork, whether it be miniatures or large canvases.
What are your most essential tools?
I regularly use different brushes such as squirrel, kolinsky or synthetic as well as palette knives and ink pens. Different strokes for different folks!
What’s your studio/workspace like?
I work everywhere: at home, in my studio and in my gallery. In my studio I run art classes, so there I have lots of different types of media and materials – even a kiln because I work a lot with porcelain.
Do you have a favourite art tip that you can share with our readers?
Paint as much as you can. Only experience and hard work can make you a good artist. Never give up! If you like what you do, have the courage to continue it even in the face of criticism or ridicule from those who don’t know any better.
Where can our readers find out more about you?
If you’d like be one of our future Featured Artists please get in touch! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a few examples of your artwork and a little about yourself.