Yelena Bryksenkova (1/4)

Yelena Bryksenkova is a freelance illustrator from the United States, and her drawings are regularly featured in Flow. Over the next four weeks, she’ll be writing about her work and the things that inspire her. “Although the treasury of everything I find beautiful is much too vast to describe in a simple list, there are some subjects which are dear to me and which I return to again and again.” 

“Just a Girl” (circa 1995), Yelena Bryksenkova

I’ve been drawing women from a young age; the image above, labeled “Just a Girl,” is the earliest surviving evidence of this. When I began to pursue art seriously, I frequently drew women, and as my style evolved, this subject has consistently had a hold over my imagination. I often think about home and the things we surround ourselves with. My beloved space tells stories about who I am and reflects my emotional state; my favorite things offer silent companionship in difficult times and bear witness to long hours of absorption in a singular activity (paired almost always with deep introspection).

“Breakfast” (1919-1920), Henri Matisse / “Woman in Striped Dress” (1895), Édouard Vuillard

And so I am naturally drawn to the work of Impressionists like Matisse and Vuillard. Women in their homes, surrounded by cherished objects – reading, arranging flowers, simply staring into space – is an inexhaustible source of fascination for me. Who knows what personal tempests could be raging beyond the calm countenance of a woman alone in her room?

“Solitaire” (2013), Yelena Bryksenkova

“Herbarium” (2013), Yelena Bryksenkova

Paintings of such women make up the bulk of my personal work. Although different from one another, each is a kind of emotional self-portrait. The two images above were part of a series of personal paintings completed in 2013. The two below are part of a new series collectively entitled “Cara Mia.” Both are currently available for sale at Nahcotta Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“Zlata” (2015), Yelena Bryksenkova 

“Vasilisa” (2015), Yelena Bryksenkova