Emerging Artists | Inna Cherneykina

Lights, flowers, action!

Inna Cherneykina, Spring Melodies, oil, 16 x 16.

Inna Cherneykina, Spring Melodies, oil, 16 x 16.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

For Russian native Inna Cherneykina, flowers embody the beauty of nature, and while she enjoys painting nature’s other exquisite offerings—including the seascapes near her home in San Francisco, CA—it’s the chance to portray flowers in virtually endless arrangements that lures her back to her easel again and again. “They’re never tiring or boring,” she says. “And I love color. When you look at flowers, you can find any color you can imagine.”

Last fall Cherneykina snapped up an Award of Distinction at the American Impressionist Society’s national juried exhibition for SPRING MELODIES, a painting filled to the brim with plump, blue hydrangeas and pink, crimp-edged rose blossoms. “I think I painted that setup three times,” she laughs. “The colors were luscious.” If the weather is nice—and it almost always is in the Golden State, says Cherneykina—she’ll arrange her still lifes outdoors, where the sunlight creates flattering, nuanced patterns on her arrangements. “It adds a nice translucency to the petals,” says the painter, who also employs her creative expertise as a computer game artist. In that role, she applies “real-world laws” to create realistic lighting effects in simulated environments. “It trains my eye so that, when I paint, I really pay attention to the lighting and reflections,” she says.

Some of the artist’s favorite painters include Ilya Repin and Valentin Serov, who were members of a group of 19th-century Russian realists known as the Peredvizhniki. But Cherneykina also counts numerous contemporary artists as inspirations, including Daniel Keys, from whom she learned to solve all the creative problems of a composition before putting even a drop of paint on her canvas. Selecting a focal point is among the most critical choices she makes at that stage. “What is my prima donna?” she says. “When you have a gorgeous bouquet of roses and hydrangeas, you have to select which flower is your most important one.” Once she puts brush to canvas, the artist applies loose strokes of color swiftly, in one sitting, using the alla prima method. “The human brain is a very advanced instrument,” Cherneykina notes. “When we see a few petals, we don’t have to see them all. I try to give viewers a few things to hold onto and let their brain see what it wants to see.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Lee Youngman Galleries, Calistoga, CA; Portola Art Gallery, Napa and Menlo Park, CA.

This story was featured in the April 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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