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I first met Alena at ArtCentral in my studio. She happen to walk in and was very taken with my work. She tried talking to me but her English was hard for me to understand but we managed to have a broken conversation that was very interesting. I realized she was an artist and we arranged for her to come back some time and show me her work. She did and i was immediately taken with her talent. SO much talent in one person, i was very impressed.
A couple years later i was managing a gallery in ArtCentral called Stoneworks. I invited Alena to show her work in the gallery in two group shows. "Love Kills" and "the Dong Show". Her work was favoured by many people who saw it. I encouraged her to keep showing and painting. I did not want such a talent to go un noticed.
Alena would often come by for visits to the Gallery, to keep in contact and to keep being inspired in her own life. She was a wonderful artist, I will miss her smile and open friendliness as well as her artwork. Rest in peace Alena, you are missed.
* * *I knew Alena since she came to Canada, I met her in my studio in Airdrie in 2007. She was my friend, and although we didn't see each other very often, we had a very special connection.
Rarely we saw each other, but every time was very special, full of art discussions and knowledge sharing and I always went home thinking how little I know about Russian culture compare to Alena. She was so connected and passionate about it, I always learn something new from her. Our phone conversations were very strange, at times very fragmented, sometimes she said: lets sing Russian Romances, and we would sing Otzveli uj davno chrizantemi v sadu…. together over the phone. Sometimes I had to turn the singing down because I was in public place when she called.
She was an Eccentric Woman. A perfect combination of Chaos and Order, Trivia and Greatness, Judgement and Compassion…, sometime I felt overwhelmed just talking to her. But I always had an intense feeling of being in touch with something Great, something Extraordinary. I always remember that many Genius people were this way : Beethoven, Picasso, Van Gough to name a few.
Alena was passionate, very knowledgeable Artist. She took pride in her skill, leaving out self-importance. She was uncompromising and staying true to her Russian training. Although she was incredibly talented, I never heard her taking any credit for her gift,; she was humble and grateful for it, selflessly sharing it with others. The Ikon painting technique, as Russian Masters use it centuries ago, is very tedious and time consuming, she would spend days and days creating it and then give it away. I invited her to do a demo for my class one day, showing fascinated students the process or creating an Orthodox icon. She was so happy to share her knowledge, but for most of us, conventional people, it was too long of a deal to create something so small for hours and hours. It was very interesting and we all learn a lot that day.She loved Nature. One of her most favorite things was to walk in the Fish Creek Park. Nature seem to calm her down and replenish her with positive energy that the world was sucking out of her. It is not a surprise that her last minutes were there, in her favorite place along nature.
She loved Mexico, Last year she went to Mayan Piramids with her husband Victor; she was so excited that she climbed the pyramid, it was very special to her.
Alena was a lot of things, but above all, she was a very Kind and Gentle Soul. Even if you didn’t have an opportunity to get to know her, you can see it in her paintings, they all very sensitive and gentle and beautiful. At times I was stunned at her selflessness, like she didn’t have an ego, She was a Light Worker, She poured Light through her paintings.
I feel blessed to get to know her in this life and of course it was not enough time, it never is…
I have a small icon painted by her in the first year she came to Canada. I also have her beautiful voice recorded on my phone a day before she left. I will always treasure those things along with a memory of our friendship.
I loved her very much and we’ll miss our singing Russian Romances over the phone and her beautiful smile. Sleep in piece my Friend.
For those who didn’t have an opportunity to know her personally, you can see her beautiful gentle soul shining through her creations.