Russian-born Elena Dobrovolskaya was drawn to art from her early years but the path to become an artist was not a straight one. Despite studying drawing in her school years she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering.
Her career soon turned to business – she founded hew own travel company. 15 years in travel business gave Elena a unique opportunity to visit the best art museums in the world and to study art history from the original works of the great masters.
Elena radically changed her life in 2010 – she closed her business and returned to her passion for art. She took up private lessons of oil painting with the renowned artist Oleg Leonov – an academician, a bright member of Russian Academy of Fine Arts, famous for his realistic portraits and landscapes.
From her teacher she captured a Russian school technique of Old Masters and added her own vision of classical portraiture with a bright, tasteful color palette. After only a year at Leonov’s art studio Elena Dobrovolskaya was accepted as a member of the Creative Union of Russia’s Artists.
In 2011-2012 years she worked as a curator of a large-scale photo exhibitions in New York, Moscow, Paris and Strasbourg, getting an extensive press-coverage and appreciation of visitors.In 2012 Elena moved to the US. She is a member of the Artist Guild of Pushkin Society in America. She exhibited her art works in Greenwich CT, Philadelphia PA, at the Tenri galery in Manhattan NY. In May 2018 a seria of her graphic portraits were presented at the Grand Central Library in New York. Elena is a finalist of a few Artavita contests. Recently she was awarded of International Prize Velazquez (art critic’s award), the ceremony will take place at the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona in April 6, 2019.
It seems that she already found hew own style – her oil portrats are vibrant, colorful and very feminine, delicate, romantic and sexy, modern and classical at the same time, with monochromatic but dinamic background. Each of her heroines has a great personality, a strong character which you can feel looking at the pictures. Her choice of media in the graphic works every time underlines the most interesting features of the model. A combination of warm sanguine for the face and body and colorful soft pastel for the clothes and accessories creates a magic and unforgettable look and could be called her “artistic style”.
Elena Dobrovolskaya’s art is represented now by Artifact gallery in Manhattan, NY, where in March 2021 she will have her first solo exhibition.
First of all I need to say I am a realist. It means I am drawing and painting real objects and people around me. I know I am “out of stream” because an abstract and imaginative art is taken a leading role now, which makes me sad.
I would like to say: ” Please, look around! There are so many beautiful things in our life (reality), you just need to notice it.” Not everybody can. So here we go to the artist’s task – to notice and show it to the others adding a little bit of your personal look. When I was running my travel company a few years ago, our slogan was “Beauty is in details”. Now I can repeat it as my artist’s credo.
When I turned to an oil-paintings, I started with a still-life. I like to make a compositions with fruits, flowers and some objects to explore the beauty of colors combinations and the game of shape, lights and shadows. I still do it from time to time but now I am concentrated on the portraiture. I really believe there is nothing more interesting in nature than a human face. It always about a character, and always about a story behind it which is marvelous!
Looking to my portraits people are usually saying something about Gauguin or Van Gogh resemblance, maybe because of my color palette. But I would like to say I found my inspiration in the portraits of late 15th century German artists like Hans Memling, my favorite, Albrecht Durer, Hans Holbein the Elder and others. They belong to the Northern Renaissance period and have this beautiful elegant simplicity (which is false by the way), a fine silhouette definition on the sole-colored background, triumph and dominance of Her Majesty Line, herefrom they look more like a graphic works than an oil paintings.I love this, the drawing itself is very important for me too because I started as a graphic artist and brought it into my oil works. Back to old German masters, all attention in their portraits concentrated on the face and hands, the rest of it is not so important. And the main thing for me is their incredible beauty of colors combination. O, this deep blue and green Holbein’s backgrounds! Or this bloody-red color of Durer? And always with black. Their ability of using just a few colors is fascinating and so powerful ! It’s immediately catching the viewer’s eyes from any corner of the room but when he is coming to the portrait attracting by Color, he is seeing only the Face, everything else is flickering out… This is a Mastery!
I do not hope even to approach this level of quality but they inspired me a lot. In my portraits I am trying to use only two main colors except body color itself which is lightening up in front of this setting. I also love to stage a classical poses for my models but together with the bright color palette it looks rather modern in a result.