Painters 2017

Olga Peshkova

The only watercolourist in the festival, Olga constantly demonstrated her proficiency with this challenging technique. She says “it was very hard to paint in this hot climate as I use wet on wet. I had to paint quickly as my paper kept drying out.”

Brought up in Perm, Olga always knew she wanted to be an artist. Her work is influenced by Russian nature and she is especially attached to the Urals. She says that she has been a plein painter since a young age and was drawn to painting the rivers, rocks, forests and little villages around her.

Maria and Olga arrived together and one could see the influence they had on each other, often painting the same scene. As time passed, Olga’s palette lost its colder hues to be replaced with a much bright colour range. As she says “I think the colours in Lamu are very special and nothing like the colours I use in my country.”

Olga was able to summarise a sense of her surroundings as is seen in her watercolour of a rare rainy day in Lamu Town. One could appreciate the greyness of the sky, the blackness of the women’s bui buis and the intense red of the umbrellas. Her paintings of the donkey faces showed her light touch as she captured their hairy noses and inquisitive eyes. She showed her mastery of her medium with her use of salt in some pieces. In one painting she even manipulated a sudden rain shower – creating the sensation of the waves hitting the boats lying at anchor.

Whilst she admits that she initially felt uncomfortable by the noise and strange smells that are so particular to Lamu, she soon relaxed into the unique Shela rhythm. “It has been like a fairy tale. It could have come out of a book or even a film.” She says. “When I go home, I will tell everyone how amazing it is – and how they need to come and feel it for themselves.”