Painters 2017

Valentin Skachkov

‘Prolific’ is a usually one of those hyperbolic words that embellishes many a painter’s biography. That is until you meet Valentin Skachkov. During his three week stay, Valentin had painted over 30 canvases. There was no view that he didn’t tackle – scrambling up the Shela sand dunes, painting in the harsh midday sun on the beach, or capturing the bustling activity in Lamu Town square.

Dressed in a flamboyant shirt, ponytail peeking out of his baseball cap, Valentin became a regular sight on his morning commute to Lamu Town. Encumbered with painting paraphernalia, he stoically trudged the long trek across the baking sands. His lack of English and our deficiency in speaking Russian made for non-existent conversation, but as the weeks passed and he became more confident, he managed to make break down the language barrier. A ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ was added to his cheery wave. He certainly managed to express himself through his painting. Clearly influenced by the Russian plein air movement, there was a timeless quality to his art.

The paintings ranged from in size from grand scale vistas to small exquisite seascapes. His style verged on impressionistic as he painted away, a seductive hint of bare canvas peeking through. His compositions were full of atmosphere and movement. It will be interesting to see what his Russian audience will make from his huge portfolio of works painted on Lamu Island.