Travel Artists Paintings

An abstract from the interview of Alex Markovich for LIFE AS ART MAGAZINE. July 2018.

When I describe my activities I try to be very short. Format of Twitter and Instagram which gives you a certain number of characters to fill your profile description teaches you to make it very condense. But if one asks me to describe my current activities in 2-3 words, that would be “Travel Artist”. I can extend that description explaining that I travel through Russia making sketches and watercolor paintings, that I also write sci-fi (which doesn’t relate to painting) but the phrase “Travel Artist” will cover it all.

That phrase I heard from a French artist whom I met in Moscow in 2014. Who are travel artists? People who travel to different places of the world (whether it’s a vacation or a search of new views to draw or paint) and capture the moments they enjoy not with their cameras but with paints, pencils, pens, crayons, etc. If you meet a fellow from the USA on the bench in a French park with a sketchbook – you may call him a travel artist if he does these sketches on a regular basis at different locations. The purpose of his coming from the USA to France doesn’t play any role.

I like to go through travel artists paintings online. There are hundreds of interesting works performed in Turkey, France, Italy, Greece, etc. The thing is that not so many artists add necessary hashtags to be found on Instagram and even less place their works online. But I think that travel artists paintings belong to a very interesting genre.

I’ve also got many travel paintings created in various seasons. Most of these works are made in Russia. When I travel to the USA or other countries I mostly take photos but if I have some free time I try to draw.

For the past four years I arranged seven exhibitions of travel artists paintings. The guest-artists were my friends from France, Italy and the USA. The exhibitions were held in libraries and cafes. All the paintings were presented in the form of postcards which when the exhibitions were over were sent to various countries. One had to only put the stamps.

In autumn 2018 I plan to held a new exhibition where I will also include some travel artists paintings – mostly of my friends from France and Canada.

Vladimir, Russia.

Travel Paintings

An abstract from the interview of Alex Markovich for LIFE AS ART MAGAZINE. January 2018.

Four years I ago I came to the idea that nowadays there is too much photography. It is neither good, nor bad. It’s a fact. I personally do event and reportage photography, as well as I do travel photography but I thought if I want to do something unique that should be drawing or painting.

I’ve been drawing all my life and I thought what if I convert my travel impressions not into photos but into so-called travel paintings. Four years ago I came across the phrase “travel artists” and was much impressed how that people describe their activities.

Speaking of this current exhibition “Travel Paintings”, these are the works which were made in 2014 and 2015 when I traveled a lot in winter time to the cities and towns of so-called Golden Ring of Russia Route. I took hundreds of photos with my professional camera and then during winter evenings at home I was creating watercolor paintings based on these photos. The fact is that winter is not the best time for plein air painting. Very few oil painters do plein air painting in winter, what to say of watercolor artists.

My “Travel Paintings” exhibition will last till the end of February 2018 and then I will take it to two different cafes. The places as I said before are the towns and cities of the Golden Ring of Russia: Rostov Velikiy, Suzdal, Yaroslavl, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Vladimir, Sergiev Posad. It happened that way that it was winter when I had to go to those places. I would like to go there in summer and in autumn one day.

Since 2016 I try to do many drawings in my sketchbook, but as for those works presented at the exhibition, these are travel paintings but they are all based on my photos. It was very cold to paint outdoors as I said.

Speaking of those travel paintings, the works on the walls are not the final outcome. I present my photos and drawings as postcards and calendars. I think that in the age of digital photography, Internet, Viber, etc. good old format of printed cards is a sort of nostalgia and thousands of people love to get a card into their mailbox. There is even such a world movement called postcrossing but this is a different issue.

The travel paintings show not only the classical sights of the cities, like Rostov Kremlin, museums and monasteries, but also the heart and soul of Mother Russia: streets, parks, old wooden houses, frozen rivers, lakes, etc.

There are thousands of postcards with the photos of this or that place, but very few with drawings and paintings. My exhibition is a start of my project “Russia in watercolor paintings”.

Painting: Alex Markovich.
Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Yaroslavl Oblast Russia.

Travel Artists

An abstract from the interview of Alex Markovich for “Radio of Russia”. July 2018.

I came across the phrase “travel artists” in September 2014 when I was in Moscow at a plein air painting session. I met a lady from France (her name is Nadine) who spoke perfect English and in her Instagram in the description of her profile there was “travel artist”. Well, I knew that people call themselves “travel bloggers”, “travel photographers”, etc., but Nadine was a “travel artist”. She had a sketchbook with her in which she made pencil drawings at the cafes, parks, airports, railway stations, etc. all over the world. Nadine was an art teacher (watercolor painting) and she was invited to different places of the world to give watercolor painting master classes.

I am still in touch with Nadine. And when in Belgorod State Pushkin Library (Russia) my postcards exhibition was launched I decided to arrange one more exhibition. The first one is dedicated to my paintings of Belgorod city and Belgorod region, the second exhibition is about my trips length and breadth of Mother Russia. I thought that there should be some more travel artists taking part in the exhibition. So Nadine sent me some of her scanned sketches. Also her colleague from Italy sent me some of her scanned paintings of Russia which she made in 2016 and 2017.

The exhibition was launched on July 10, 2018 at Belgorod State Business Library. The format is the same – classical postcards with Russian landscapes and cityscapes performed in watercolor.

I am being asked quite often if I am still into photography. Yes, I am, but I switched all my travel projects into paintings. Any place I go, I try to make as more sketches as possible. The ones I like I transform into watercolor paintings. 70-80% is hand drawn (hand painted), the rest of the work I do on my professional graphic tablet as the final outcome is postcards and I need perfect warm colors to create good atmosphere. So my paintings are a combination of real watercolors and digital watercolors and enhancements.

The exhibition “Travel Artists” will be at the Business Library till the end of August 2018, and then I will move it to some cafes – I like when my exhibitions travel from one place to another.

Kursk Oblast, Russia.

Travel Artist

An abstract from the interview of Alex Markovich for “Radio of Russia. July 2018.

On July 3, 2018 in Pushkin Library (Belgorod, Russia) there was an opening of my personal exhibition “Russia in watercolor paintings”. The paintings are presented in the form of postcards which I send to my friends and WordPress blog readers all over the world.

The exhibition is a part of my project “Travel Artist”. Wherever I go I try to do as many sketches as possible. Some of those sketches later become completed watercolor paintings.

When I travel through Russia I prefer rural picturesque areas, that is why I’ve got dozens of paintings of ponds, rivers, hills, meadows, etc. Well, there are some cityscapes too, but these are not traditional cities and towns sights. Never the less these places can be easily recognized by the citizens.

I started my “Travel Artist” project in October 2014 when I went to the cities and towns which are included into so-called Golden Ring route. I brought hundreds of photos and a few sketches. When I returned to my home town I arranged a photo exhibition where I also included some of those sketches. In the age of digital photography we are all tired of photos and long to drawings, paintings, sketches, illustrations, etc. At least that is my personal opinion to which I came after talking to dozens of my friends.

As I have been drawing since my childhood, I’ve got much experience and skills and decided to create watercolor paintings based on my photos or I do that right on the spot during plein air painting sessions where I go with my artist-friends.

I am a strong advocate that photos, drawings, paintings, etc. should be used in other life spheres, not just as pictures hanging on the walls. So I began creating calendars and postcards with my photos and paintings. Most of these postcards are watercolor paintings from Russian rural areas.

As for the current exhibition, there are over 40 postcards available.

Vladimir, Russia.