International Perspectives
American Art Collector|August 2021
Compositions from across the globe feature major design principles that captivate viewers and communicate inspirations.
CHRISTINE EGNOSKI

Line, shape, color, value, texture, form, and space are the seven major principles of design and when expertly handled by an artist the result is a strong and balanced composition. A powerful arrangement of these components can draw viewers in to seek a closer look, then carefully move their eye through all the elements of the work, before bringing their eyes back to rest on the focal point. The following works of art, which were selected from this year’s International Portrait Competition winners, were created by five incredible women artists from around the world in Ukraine, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, and Canada—each of whom has successfully incorporated these principles to captivate viewers and effectively communicate the inspiration behind their award-winning works.

The first artist, Olga Krimon, was born and educated in Russia, graduated with honors, and continued to develop her painting skills in America through self-study, drawing classes, and workshops. When she graduated from art school in the 1990s, she realized that the Soviet Perestroika was not the right time for her to become an artist and survive. Instead, she went on to study languages, which brought her to the United States. After a long corporate career in IT consulting, she did not feel happy or fulfilled—for that, she turned to art. Kimon says, “It became a necessity, a way to survive, a way to express what I felt and how I felt. I needed it daily, I worked nights and weekends to get ahead. And I realized that I couldn’t change who I was, no matter how hard I tried. I led dual corporate and art careers for years until I finally had the courage to become who I dreamt of becoming, who I really was all along. I couldn’t be without it, even though it’s a much more difficult path than a corporate career. It makes me so grateful and so fulfilled to do what I do.” Krimon’s painting Before They Fly was inspired by the model’s pose. The model, Ava, leaned forward slightly and the artist could see a counterbalance of diagonals starting to take shape. She wanted the viewer to look at her face first, then move the gaze down through her hands, and to follow the curve of her dress through the curve of the crane. She made the decision to paint the bird and girl’s dress the same value and color scheme, so they sit so close that the bird becomes an extension of the girl, as if they are one. Kimon explains, “The bird is also a guard. A parent, maybe. While Ava initially held on to the edge of the bench, I changed that to the tree branch, and I added the feathers and other elements that further emphasized the idea of a nest, of a comfortable space where she grows up to then fly away. The white bird was also a symbol of purity and innocence. It all started to tie together. I left the background very simple—with a lot of my initial underpainting wash coming through it. It gives the feeling of warmth and comfort that I wanted to have.”

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