Arina Gordienko, “Rare Bird,” 2019, oil on Belgian linen, 30 x 40 in.

Meet this week’s top Realism Today Ambassador, Arina Gordienko.

ARINA GORDIENKO is an internationally acclaimed figurative realist artist. Originally from Russia, where she was born in a small gold-mining settlement in the most northeasterly region, Chukotka, part of the polar Arctic desert tundra, she now lives in the UK. Her art education includes an MA in painting (Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London), a BA in fine art (Central Saint Martins College of Art in London), and a Distinction Certificate in Fine Art (Art College, part-time, Russia)

Her work has been recognized with numerous international prizes and awards in the UK, US, and Europe. Her paintings have been featured at Saatchi Gallery in London (UK), MEAM — European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona (Spain), the Museum of Fantastic Art in Vienna (Austria), the Museum of Modern Art Vittoria Colonna in Pescara (Italy), the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in the US, Rehs Contemporary Galleries in New York (US), mall galleries in London and many others in the UK, US, Australia, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, and India.

Her paintings have been published in many art books, catalogues, and magazines, including “Strokes of Genius” art books (Edition 4 & 6) in the US, “Painting Today” MEAM catalogue in Barcelona (Spain), “Art and Freedom XIV” Artelibre Gallery Yearbook in Spain, Reinhard Fuchs’ art book “Masterpieces of Visual Arts: The Great Female Artists from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era” in Vienna (Austria), “Masters of Contemporary Fine Art” and “Masters of Painting” in the UK.

Arina is an Associate Living Master of the Art Renewal Center in the US, a member of the Portrait Society of America, and a selected member of the Society of Women Artists in the UK.

Arina is dedicated to realistic traditions in painting, combining traditional classical techniques with realistic yet imaginative and often surreal compositions and a contemporary palette. The subjects of her works are placed in the middle of nowhere, without any signs of a particular place or time. She depicts human emotions and feelings in an unusual environment, often on the border of the capacity of perception.

Her works are painted in a subtle manner without perceptible sharp lines or edges. She uses the Renaissance Masters’ technique called sfumato, where the colors and tones layer gradually one above another without any sharp or harsh outlines, which brings to the images a rather softened or “smoked-down” outcome.

About her work:

“Rare Bird” (above) is a portrait of a friend of about 20 years. I think she has a very unusual and beautiful face, extremely expressive eyes, and a unique and rare personality. My painting is called “Rare Bird,” and this is exactly what she is, a rare bird in any meaning. The vivid color palette came naturally to my mind to additionally accentuate her bright personality. The bird plays the same role as the model — if you look attentively at both of the personages, you notice that they have an identical very curious gaze. They complement each other perfectly and create one complete character.

Arina Gordienko, “Gemini Sublimation,” 2019, oil on Belgian linen, 28 x 40 in.

“Gemini Sublimation” is a portrait of my Gemini friend. The noun sublimation is from the Latin word sublimare, meaning “to raise to a higher status,” and I wanted to show in this work that we all can transform/sublimate our often contradictive, unpredictable, and even self-destructive inner impulses into something productive and sublime like art works and become a higher self-creative, and free. I addictively observe the reflection of emotions and feelings on people’s faces, and I find inspiration in people’s eyes where you can see their soul if you are lucky. I attentively watch if there is light or darkness in those eyes, and I always hope to meet the light. The whole unique world and personal universe is on the face of a stranger.

Arina Gordienko, “I Can See What You See,” 2018, oil on Belgian linen, 16 x 12 in.

This work, “I Can See What You See,” is very personal. It is about what we saw and went through in our childhood, which is not always full of joy and pink fluffy clouds. All of the experiences from childhood influence our future lives. The title of the painting is “I Can See What You See,” and I do know what she saw and felt. It is like a mirror to the past. Often there was nobody just to embrace her and tell her, “Don’t be scared, don’t worry. I am here, I am with you, and I will protect you.” I feel that somehow I can help her from here, from today, which is her future. And I look at her and tell her from now, “Please . . . listen to me. I am here and I am with you. I am always with you and I will always support and protect you. I embrace you. All will be okay finally. Please believe me.” And I feel she can hear me. I believe I can help her to be stronger and feel not alone. We are connected.

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Related > Browse portrait and figure workshops in the style of contemporary realism here.