“Wildflower landscapes are my favorite subjects to paint because I am drawn to meadows that glow with warm colored flowers in hot summer sun.”
Captivated by nature throughout her life, as an artist, Julia Lesnichy finds herself most inspired by the quickly shifting quality of light and color in the outdoors. Through heavy layering of oils and pastels, and with the use of a palette knife, she works to capture every color and shade she sees in a scene, fleeting moments and all. It is through this atmospheric sensibility that Lesnichy endows her paintings with vitality and beauty, and evokes the universality of deep feeling that stems from the human experience of flora and fauna that have always enchanted her.
Nature was the beginning of Julia Lesnichy’s career as an artist, and it remains her subject of choice.
Born in the Soviet city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia), Lesnichy was raised from infancy in Moscow, having spent much of her life there. As a child, she was a diligent and academically motivated student, with passions for science, languages, and music—something she almost pursued a career in! Even art was on her radar from a young age. Introduced to gouache and color mixing at the fresh age of 5, Julia Lesnichy began painting from photographs of animals by the age of 7.
Lesnichy’s artistic endeavors were not encouraged by her parents, so she did not rediscover her passion until her mid-20s. One day, while driving home from work, 26-year-old Lesnichy witnessed a magnificent sunset. The sky was ablaze, and all she could think was how wonderful it would be to transfer the colors she was witnessing onto a canvas. Immediately upon arriving home, she asked her husband to purchase a set of paints, brushes and canvasses. The artist recalls that her first paintings during this early stage were copies from photos she had previously snapped.
Although very enthusiastic and passionate about her work, Lesnichy did not begin any formal art training until 1998, when she began to take private oil painting and drawing classes in Moscow. Shortly after, in 1999, Lesnichy moved to the United States with her family, where she continued to study Art while her husband studied Law at the University of Virginia. It was during this period, in 2001, that a workshop in plein air painting at the Cape Cod School of Art completely transformed Lesnichy’s practice. Lois Griffel, renowned contemporary Impressionist painter (and teacher of this workshop), lit up Lesnichy’s world and taught her to convey a whole realm of color on canvas that she previously thought only existed to her naked eye. This experience has stayed with Julia Lesnichy, continually guiding her as a painter even to this day.
When Julia Lesnichy returned to Moscow in 2002 with her family, she carried these lessons close by her side and painted vigorously, focusing on oils and primarily depicting meadow landscapes and outdoor floral still life. The artist produced more than 200 paintings in this period, many of which are in private collections throughout Russia today.
The artist returned to the United States in 2010, settling with her family in Crozet—a small town in Northern Virginia that is neatly nestled amongst some of the most spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain views. Upon her return, and perhaps stimulated by her new luscious surroundings, Julia Lesnichy returned to pastels as her medium of choice when she realized that with bold, swift, bravura style strokes, she could create layers upon layers of cooperating colors. Julia Lesnichy is inspired by Monet’s ability to depict the effects of nature loosely but convincingly. Additionally, she admires the work of Childe Hassam, Henry Hensche, Theodore Robinson, and the California Impressionists.
In 2012, Julia Lesnichy received her first award in pastels, and 10 more in the following 4 years.
These include 2 honorable mentions in Pastel Magazine, the Joyce Kelly Award from the Degas Pastel Society, 1st place in the Virginia Pastel Society’s juried 2014 competition, and Finalist in The Artist’s Magazine 33rd annual competition in 2016, amongst others. She is a member of the American impressionist Society, the Pastel Society of America, the Mid-Atlantic Pastel Society, the Southeastern Pastel Society, and a Signature member of the Northwestern Pastel Society. Additionally, Lesnichy has been featured in Plein air Magazine online, both in the section “My Favorite Place to Paint” and in the “Why This Works” column by artist Jeanne MacKenzie.
The spirit of the land is something Julia Lesnichy has always found herself in touch with, and painting with both oils and pastels has allowed her to establish a dialogue with this awareness. Her work is not only about the solitude and peacefulness of nature, but also about “harmony and inner unity.” It puts the viewer’s mind at ease, evoking serenity and positive vibrational energy.
Julia Lesnichy is represented exclusively in the state of North Carolina by Gallery C.
Read this artist's biography
Julia Lesnichy was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Accordingly, she spent her childhood and much of her adult life in Russia. In 1998 Julia began taking painting and drawing classes, which sparked her talents and an interest in painting professionally. Then in 2001 she began to study under Lois Griffel, a nationally recognized plein air impressionist painter and instructor. From her studies Julia soon developed her own unique style as a colorist and plein air painter.
Julia often finds herself painting landscapes and nature because she is inspired by fast-changing light and color. In 2010 Julia Lesnichy moved to the USA with her family. They settled down in Crozet, Virginia. As a result, the local landscapes of rural Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains are some of her favorite places to paint.
In Virginia Julia Lesnichy began to work in pastels. As a result she received her first award for artistic achievement. Over the next few years Julia Lesnichy received more than 19 awards. She also received two Honorable mentions in Pastel Magazine.
Additionally, Julia is a member of American Impressionist Society and Pastel Society of America, Mid-Atlantic Pastel Society, Northwestern Pastel Society (Signature Member) and Southeastern Pastel Society (Member of Excellence).