This week’s cover by Sonia Grineva is a familiar one for residents and visitors to the East End. Called “Blossoms on Further Lane,” the image conveys a sense of time and place usually understood by people who live full-time in the Hamptons. Yet Grineva was born in Moscow (receiving a B.A. and M.F.A from the Stroganov Art Institute) and traveled the world painting local scenes. She moved to New York (attending the National Academy of Design) when she was 20 years old, where she continues to paint Manhattan’s many neighborhoods. Whether capturing places near or far, Grineva’s works resonate with energy and passion seen in such diverse locations like Hong Kong, Italy, Provence, Dieppe and Georgia (in the United States).
Q: You recently moved your old studio near Washington Square Park to Union Square. Has that affected not only what you paint in New York but how you paint?
A: I go up on the roof now and do cityscapes. I have a 360-degree view and I get a lot of ideas and energy from that view. I have also recently gone to Lower Manhattan to paint the Financial Center. But, everything is almost the same. I am still a plein air painter.
Q: So do you paint the people on Wall Street? Your art never had people in it, being landscapes, cityscapes and still lifes.
A: Yes, I paint lots of people in that area, their movement, like on Stone Street.
Q: Do you sit or stand when you are painting?
A: I stand but no longer than three hours when the light lasts.
Q: Wherever or whatever you paint, there is a consistency of style.
A: I interpret nature, shapes, design, movement. I like to create relationships and combinations, having to do with colors. But I am now doing more abstraction or semi-abstraction.
Q: In the last several months, you have been involved in something different, but still creating art.
A: I have written a book, The Colors of the Soul, about my history, family, different periods of my career, using examples of my watercolors, oils and sketches. It’s 300 pages. I have also contributed to a second book, Planet Stars, in Italian and English, featuring well-known hotels throughout the world. I painted the landscape that surround these hotels.
Q: What are some of the hotels both in the U.S. and overseas?
A: There is the New Stone Inn on North Main Street in East Hampton, the Plaza in New York, The Drake in Chicago. There is also a hotel on Lake Como and the Victoria in Sorrento. I learned a lot about the history and culture of the hotels.
Q: Again, you really got to many different and beautiful regions, learning a lot in the process. I know you love learning about a variety of subjects.
A: Yes. I went to classes to learn Italian and about the history of music. When I was in Italy, I took cooking classes, mostly how to cook all kinds of pasta: potato with pasta, peas with pasta. Everything. I learned a lot about food in the last year.
Sonia Grineva may be reached through her email: [email protected] and by calling her 212-627-8499.
She is exhibiting at Works Gallery 1250 Madison Ave., New York. 212-996-0300.
Her books are available at BookHampton.