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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Maria Ginzburg. Interview.

Maria Ginsburg’s watercolour paintings are well known and appreciated in Sweden. She is a writer to 7 books about watercolour painting in Swedish language and a member of Swedish StateWriting Society (Svenska Författarförbundet). She and her husband Felix have grounded “Akvarellcenter” in Stockholm, which presents the watercolour art of the famous international painters to Swedish public. The Work Shops of these painters take place in a department of Akvarellcenter in Dalarna (200 km from Stockholm) on summer time.


Maria, you are well-known in Sweden as an artist as well as an art teacher. Is there a recipe of popularity in your opinion?
The recipe of popularity for any painter is first of all good paintings, which can only appear if you, when you paint, do no think about popularity, as well as about money. One reason why my name became known to the wide public, interested in art, was my books. I am an author to 7 books about watercolour painting which were sold in more then 200 000 exemplar in Sweden. Two of them were even translated from Swedish to Finish language. The last book came out 2011 and was issued by the one of the biggest and most famous publishing houses in Sweden “Natur och Kultur”.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

Was watercolor medium your first choice from the beginning when you started painting?
I always wanted to paint only in watercolour, but I tried many other techniques when I studied. I always admired the watercolours of Anders Zorn. I watched and studied his art in books, in museums and on exhibitions. His works are well represented in Sweden.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden. 

Who were your teachers of watercolor (living persons or artists of the past)?
When I studied art in Russia my teacher was a wonderful painter Leonid Krivitsky. He painted by oil and wanted me do the same. But I preferred watercolour. My degree work (diploma) was five watercolours with views of S:t Petersburg, a town where I was born. Each watercolour represented the town in a stile of one of Russian famous writers : Petersburg of Block, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Bergolz and Ahmatova.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden. 

Which school of watercolor do you feel close to?
English watercolour traditions with Turner in a head had also a big influence on my art. I have many books, written by contemporary British artists. One of the first books which I bought in London long time ago and which has been my favourite under a long time was “Watercolour impressionists” by Ron Ranson, 1989. (Ron Ransons own paintings are not especially interesting.)

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

What does inspire you for painting?
 I get my inspiration mostly from nature, colours of all seasons of the year, northern light and shadows. Most of all I love to see and paint how water reflections change reality.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

You belong to the realist school of painting. Do you appreciate also other styles?
 I can not tell that my art belong to a pure realistic school, but may be to impressionistic school in watercolour, because of my way to simplify the subject and to use many colours and colour harmonies.
I like different styles of painting. An abstract painting can be also good, but I prefer when the artist let me guess, what his painting is about.


Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

You are using a rich choice of colors for your painting. Do you have a system of harmonizing the colors?
 I do not have a special system in what colours I choose, I use my intuition. But the knowledge about colour weal, contrast colours and colour harmonies is very useful of course. Before to stat painting I usually do some quick sketches for to see colour combinations on the paper.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

Do you always paint in plain air?
When I was a student I painted a lot on the open air. Even if result is not good sometime when you paint outside, your memory keep the image, you create a “Bank of the images” in your mind.

You have a lot of winter landscapes. What is your approach to paint landscapes in winter?
I loved to paint in March when the snow was smelting. I do it even now, but not so often. Now I have much better memory for images thanks to my long painting experience. Some advice: When you paint on winter, put a drop of sprite into the water for it does not freeze at 0 degrees.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

Do you always finish a painting in one go or sometimes leave it for later on?
I choose the best of my outdoor paintings and paint big watercolours with help of them at home in my atelier. On the open air I paint what I see. In atelier I paint what I want to see. People ask me sometimes: How much time does it take for to paint a big watercolour? Should we count in also a time which goes for travelling, looking for new exiting subjects and inspiration? A work with many sketches? Unlucky paintings? Thought and discussions? I can only answer that painting take the whole artist’s life. Sometimes the work with one big watercolour can take a month.

What is your opinion: is it possible to correct watercolor painting if it went wrong?
It is possible to correct the painting. The easiest is to do it while the painting is still wet. The possibility to change the painting depends partly on paper. I usually use “Arches” 300 gr and 640 gr and Fabriano 300 gr and 600 gr, both rough and fin grain. The last thing which you can do if something went wrong is to throw the painting to the open fire and to take another sheet of paper.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

How you consider that the painting is ready?

The painting is ready if you answer “No” to the questions:” Do I need to add something? Can I take something away?”

You have organized a center for watercolor painting in Sweden. What was the idea to start this project?
The idea to open “Akvarellcenter” with courses and exhibitions comes to me and my husband Felix Ginzburg of a selfish reason - it was a great opportunity to create an art world, where everything is according to your will - exhibitions, choice of painters, the choice of theirs wonderful watercolours, which we can enjoy, while they are at our place. This idea was also appreciated by Swedish art lovers.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

You are the only one in Sweden who provides top watercolor artists to teach in your country. Is this idea appreciated? How do you make a decision who would teach courses during the season in your center?
  “Akvarellcenter” is only one place in Sweden where you can see watercolours of many top watercolour artists from different European countries, USA, Australian, and India and also learn a peace of their professional skill.

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

Are students coming back if they once attended the course in Akvarelcenter?
  Our “Akvarellcenter” became also a place where people with the same interest can meet each other, can discuss the art and sometimes can even find friends for life. We have always a lot of visitors and students. People are coming back to “Akvarellcenter” again and again!

Maria Ginzburg, Sweden.

Can you determine the main rule or rules of watercolor painting for your students?
The keywords to a lucky painting are “Contrasts” and “Variations”, first of all in shapes and colours. Concerning especially watercolour technique the important rule is “Think first, paint after” – the artist should carefully plan, in what turn he will paint different elements of his picture, for to do it in a right moment, when the paper is wet just as much as it should be.

3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed looking at the many wall paintings that you have done. Not being very handy with a paintbrush, even though
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  2. Where can I find the biography of Maria Ginzburg?

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