Irina Gretchanaia

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Irina paints for her­self. It is the way she ex­presses her joy for life and love for na­ture’s nat­u­ral beauty. Next to her own life and the for­ever-chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment around her, she says her great­est in­flu­ence is Ge­or­gia O’keefe. Orig­i­nally, the Rus­sian-born artist dreamed of be­ing a fash­ion il­lus­tra­tor. She stud­ied at Ry­er­son Univer­sity in Toronto, On­tario, took pri­vate art classes in or­der to get her port­fo­lio to­gether, and ended up fall­ing in love with oil paint­ing. "I have done wa­ter­colours and ex­per­i­mented with dif­fer­ent me­dia and found that oil paint is some­thing I al­ways come back to." She says it’s the way she can blend and ma­nip­u­late the pig­ments that re­ally make her at­tached to oil. Work­ing in thin lay­ers and adding colour as she goes, Irina creates a unique colour story with ev­ery piece. How­ever, her fash­ion back­ground comes across in her art, most promi­nently in her flower paint­ings.

Her flow­ers re­sem­ble the move­ment of fab­ric. "Flow­ers are so del­i­cate and trans­par­ent in the light, you can al­ways see the tex­ture and the colours that are in­ter­twined to­gether." Irina has al­ways en­joyed art, and paint­ing has be­come her life's joy. It is the driv­ing pas­sion of her en­tire be­ing. She is al­ways push­ing her­self to try new things in her work; chal­leng­ing her­self to paint dif­fi­cult sub­jects in or­der to con­tinue her growth as an artist. No mat­ter what she paints, the start­ing place of Irina’s in­spi­ra­tion is al­ways the same – colour. "It can be a flower, land­scape, a per­son sit­ting in a field, but the colour is where it all be­gins." Irina fills as much of her days as she can with paint­ing; cre­at­ing de­tailed, vi­brant works of art. She notes, "Flow­ers are like por­traits, they have so many im­por­tant de­tails." She paints from her own pho­to­graphs to guar­an­tee ac­cu­racy of th­ese de­tails. "When I take a pho­to­graph I am look­ing for the flower to do a dance. Move­ment is so im­por­tant to my work and I want my flow­ers to con­tinue that mo­tion right on the can­vas." Irina’s de­vo­tion to na­ture and pas­sion for paint­ing is il­lu­mi­nated through her work. She creates her art in hopes of leav­ing her view­ers feel­ing moved by the en­ergy and the lan­guage of the colours.

above, Fad­ing Beauty, oil on can­vas, 48" x 60" right top, Piz­zazz, oil on can­vas, 40" x 60" right bot­tom, Enigma, oil on can­vas, 48" x 48"

left, Blush­ing Beauty, oil on can­vas, 42" x 54" above, Ro­mance, oil on can­vas, 48" x 48"

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