Botanical Watercolors by Inna Petrashkevich
Inna Petrashkevich lives in a small town of Orsha in Belarus. A small town in a small Eastern European country. One of those towns untouched and unspoiled by civilization. Time has slowed down in Orsha, and the 21st century feels like the 18th.
Yet, Orsha was founded in 1067, making it one of the oldest towns in Belarus. The town was a witness to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century, one of the first Calvinist (Protestant) orders in the 16th century, and the large Jewish settlement in the 16th and on. The Russian Empire took over the city from Poland in the 18th century after the FIrst Polish partitions. While Napolean troops burned it to the ground in the early 19th century on the way to Moscow. Fast forward to the late 20th century, and the town experienced the after-effects of one of the world's worst ecological disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. It is still recovering from it.
It is here where Inna creates. It is the little things that she notices around her. Far away from civilization and modern luxuries, perhaps it is here that it is easier to notice small plants and creatures in her garden. Orsha is surrounded by one of the densest and older forests in Europe. It is here where everything is breathing around you. We might not hear their sounds, but plants and flowers are breathing too. Her watercolor garden paintings make us feel exactly that. She is not painting inanimate colorful objects. She is painting live creatures. She is painting flowers that want to look their best and give us joy. She is painting flowers that are dissolved in the morning fog. They are floating like clouds. They are here one second and disappear in the next one.
Her watercolor technique is perfect for this tenderness, this evanescence, these fleeting moments when flowers are blooming one day and vanish the next one — these short but beautiful moments she is capturing for us.
Inna Petrashkevich lives in Belarus. Inna received her Masters in Fine Arts and Graphics Design from Belorussian State Pedagogical University. She has been teaching painting and mainly watercolors for over 30 years. Her primary focus is on watercolor painting, but she likes to try herself in illustration and graphic designs as well.
She is proud that her designs made their way to the homes of so many people. Postcards, wall calendars, artist sketchbooks, cross-stitching fabric designs, and embroidery kits feature her work.
Her beautiful watercolor gardens even made it on porcelain cups in the kitchen. There was a Chinese company that "copied" her designs and now manufacturing housewares with her art without the proper royalties. Then, there was a Russian company that has her floral designs on kitchenware — properly licensed (thank you!).
Her watercolor paintings are in private collections around the world: the UK, Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Russia, Israel, Ukraine, and the United States. She is regularly organizing master-classes in Minsk and Moscow, where she teaches her watercolor technique. Inna participated in numerous national and international watercolor art exhibits.
In 2019 alone, she participated in five art exhibitions:
- March 2019, Moscow art exhibit, “Flower dance”
- May 2019, solo exhibition in Moscow
- April 2019, Moscow fine art exhibition, “April cacophony.”
- July 2019, collective art exhibition, “Birds and Flowers”
- September 2019, solo exhibition, “Apple Blossom”
Her inspiration? Her flower garden, her kittens, her tea set, her home. It is everywhere.
What she is enjoying most is human interaction, and somehow, she managed to become an Instagram sensation. 20,000 people follow her on Instagram!!! Yes, these are real people from all over the world.
Inna paints almost every day. It is not easy to be an artist. But to me, it also means that she is inspired every day. And that makes me very very jealous :)
Chat with Inna and Max, May 2020:
Max: Why do you paint Inna? What do you consider your greatest achievement, what are you proud of?
Inna: You know, I just like to paint. And the fact that I still enjoy painting, enjoy the process, that’s what really makes me happy.
Max: So as I understand you’ve be painting for over 30 years?
Inna: On no, only for the last 12. After the university, I shelved arts and painting. I always needed it, but never had the time. Most people do not consider being an artist a serious career :). And then, at some point, I just grew up and started caring less of what other people think.
If there’s an urge to do something, one has to realize it.
And as for the greatest achievement. Hmm, probably, and that will surprise you, is that my mom accepted me as an artist and began to respect what I do. That was more than all art exhibitions, diplomas and everything else.”
Max: I can relate to that. Around 40 years old I realized that what I’ve been doing for the last 40 years is what others expected me to do. Others, not me. And I changed my career
Inna: I didn’t not change mine. But I established boundaries and decided to do what I want to do. And then, all of the sudden, my work became popular, I was very surprised at first but then got used to it. People often ask me, how come you have so many followers on Instagram and Facebook? I don’t know, I am just doing what I like, that’s all.