As any child does, I have always liked drawing, playing with clay or learning some arts and crafts, but it was not until 2013 when my journey as an artist really began.

In 2012 my mum was diagnosed with cancer. After almost a year-long battle the cancer locked its deadly grip. January 2013 my mum was on her death-bed, too weak even to raise her head on her own and I was sitting by her side, watching her slowly drift away. If you think that cancer is cruel, you are right. But it is even crueller in Russia. Russia has a drug use problem, so prescribing opioid based pain-killer even to terminally ill cancer patients is out of the question, it takes too much trouble, too many signatures.

Watching a loved one slowly slip away is hard. Watching a loved one suffer with pain and being powerless to do anything is beyond comprehension.  Days turned into weeks. Then death finally came to free her from this terror, it felt almost like victory, an escape, for her.

In the aftermath of this I found myself unable to sleep, or eat, or even think in words. There was silence inside me, but there was also terror. The sound of ambulance sirens would bring on a panic attack, as did the sight of Christmas decorations, hospitals or doctors. As months passed it was clear that I was not coping well.

Art become my escape and a path to recovery.

One day I found some paint I had in the house for some time and started painting. One of the first pictures I painted was a portrait of my mum from a 60 year old black and white photo. Painting helped me to think without words, it helped me to remember, it helped me to grieve. It also helped me to find some meaning.

My father was an amateur artist and photographer. He also passed away almost a decade ago before, but for me being an artist was also fulfilling his dream as well as mine.

I quickly realised that my skills were not good enough to express my creative ideas. I signed up with Open Collage of Arts to study for a Fine Art degree. But after completing Drawing Skills course I realised it was not for me. OCA is a distance learning university. But what I really loved is the experience of painting in a life class or studio, painting real people from life, capturing the moment and their unique presence. I decided that I would go to life classes, learn from different artists and fellow students.

I am very grateful to my many tutors and teachers whose many classes I have taken in the last years and who taught me so much: Brian Reynolds, Ian Rowlands, Fred Crayk, Allan Ramsay, Carl Randall, Viktoria Prischedko, Daniela Astone, Chris Forsey.

In April 2017 I discovered a new passion – sculpture! I am now a regular at the Heatherley School of Fine Art Figurative Sculpture class led by Robert Turvey without whose help, support and guidance many of my sculptures would not see the light of day.

Thank you very much to everyone who supported me on this journey! I want to share the beauty of this world and people who live in it with everyone of you!

Lara