WHO WAS HE?
Who was he: a painter, an architect, a violinist, a mushroom hunter, fisherman, or a forester?
His pursuit of music ended after he graduated from children’s musical school, but the other vocations, his alter egos, stayed with him and grew stronger, yet equal in their pull, until the very end.
Oleg was possessed by the forest. Weekly treks to the forest, 15-20 (!) kilometer hikes to gather mushrooms and berries, catching fish in a hidden stream. It was the best part of his life. His other life, reserved for domestic and material issues, was just a preceding event, a burden he must carry in order to be able to be at one with nature again and again.
In our pragmatic and hectic world, such preferences, at times, might have looked strange. This is as Oleg himself, seemingly strange with his moral principles and absolute honesty, with unavoidable “maneuvering” similar to that of a beguiling child.
All of this allows me to characterize Oleg Pomerantsev as old-fashioned man, in the most positive light of its meaning. His decency was obvious even in his appearance – always tidy and neatly dressed, with a face of a “pre-revolutionary intellectual”. Even if someone broke his trust, his old fashioned astuteness and quiet, almost Christian forgiveness did not give way to revenge or complaint.
Oleg treated any work conscientiously, be it his job as an architect or work on watercolor paintings. The responsibility, the same decency- in this instance, perhaps excessive – stopped Oleg from leaving his architectural career to spend more time with his beloved watercolor.
A little bit about Oleg’s watercolor technique. Any technique is defined by sets of limitations or the “rules of the game” in other words. Oleg scrupulously followed these rules; he never used gouache or tempera as a magic wand to fix his mistakes on finicky watercolor paper! He never overlaid sticky cutouts to preserve the virginity of the paper, or resorted to trickery, such as applying pieces of carton to achieve an impromptu effect оf random drying patterns. He used only his brush, his watercolors, water and his favorite type of paper, Goznak.
A unique trait of Oleg’s technique lies in layering brush strokes on constantly moist paper, which was placed on a wet glass. It allowed for soft edges, less shaper residual contouring of strokes, apparent after the paint dries.
He could take as long as two weeks to paint a piece sized 20×30 cm, striving for perfect play of color tones and values, unattainable with ordinary painting styles. Evidently, his technique should be called “moist layering”.
The lengthy treks through the forest were too strenuous to carry the additional weight of his pochade box (traveling painting set) limiting Oleg to sketch plein air only in pencil. This truly defined his artwork, romanticized the image of “his forest”, “his living world”, the image born and carried in his soul as a result of his union with Mother Nature.
Oleg’s old-fashioned decency did not allow him to use cheap, borderline kitsch tricks in his painting style to make the artworks more eye catching. All of Oleg Pomerantsev’s paintings are simply filled with love, love for this faultless Divine World. They are unpretentious in color, elaborate in detail, and above all, technically impeccable, leaving viewers in awe. •
S. Ye. USIK
Artist, maitre of pastel, member of the Painters’ Union (St. Petersburg), IFA, member of Pastel Communities (France and USA)