Vladimir London is an international artist, author, and teacher with an extensive education in fine arts and art education. His work can be found in collections across the world, and he has developed and teaches online courses for art students worldwide.
A fan of our brushes, Vladimir took the time to talk to us about his art, influences, and creative processes.
What is your favorite medium and why?
“I work in various mediums such as oil, graphite pencil, silverpoint, yet watercolor is the most interesting medium for me because it brings unpredictability when gravity and water, together with quality of paper, brushes, and paints, influence the artwork creation. Mastering this capricious medium gives feeling of achievement and satisfaction.”
How has teaching fine art inspired you over the years?
“As an art teacher, I want to demonstrate to art students genuine values of classical fine art and provide professional art education, sharing the art knowledge and experience. My mission in teaching art is to keep classical painting and drawing techniques alive and to inspire artists to develop their individual creative styles based on the rich heritage of traditional art skills and craftsmanship. As a founder and tutor of online art courses Drawing Academy (http://drawingacademy.com/) and Anatomy Master Class (http://anatomymasterclass.com), I take an inspiration in true values of classical fine art and share this passion with my students.”
Can you describe a signature art or painting technique that you do?
“In watercolor, I take a very methodical approach. An artwork is carefully planned and is usually done in multiple very transparent layers. The process is slow and requires good understanding of medium including physical and optical characteristics of pigments, quality of paper and brushes. Keeping colors vibrant and fresh and paper untainted under several layers of paint requires a lot of experience and know-how. That’s what attracts me to this medium and technique.”
Who are some artists that influence your work?
“I admire the thirst for knowledge, dedication, and hard work of such [great] masters of Renaissance as Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci. I’m also inspired by Dutch Golden Age artists; Rembrandt and Frans Hals, in particular. And [for] contemporary artists, I would like to mention Nikolai Blokhin, professor of drawing [at] St. Petersburg Academy of Art.”
What inspires you creatively?
“In art, I want to portray the beauty and meaning of life.”
When did you begin painting and how has your work evolved?
“I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My professional art education started at the age of nine, and for [the] next 15 years I went through [a] system that taught art in the classical way. It began with a school of fine arts, where I studied drawing, painting, art history, decorative arts, and sculpture for five years. Then it was [a] five-year course at the Academy of Arts’ Department of Easel Painting and Drawing. And finally, I spent five more years obtaining a university degree as a professional fine art teacher.
Since then, fine art has been an essential part of my professional life. After graduation, I was painting in oil and watercolor, and I had exhibitions in Europe and North America. My artworks have found their homes in collections in the USA, Canada, UK, Russia, Finland, Holland, Germany, Poland, France, Spain, and many other countries.”
Can you describe your creative process?
“It starts with an idea or a vision of a subject. The process usually includes preparatory drawings and sketches and often a full-size cartoon for a future artwork. The painting process is planned and I go through steps of layers from imprimatura to finishing touches. Of course, fast plein air artworks and life-drawing sketches are done differently – usually in alla prima and gesture drawing. Whatever the process is in place, every time I set some creative tasks or a challenge – it could be to make a better artwork or push my usual techniques and methods to new limits.”
Vladimir London on Princeton brushes:
“About a year ago, I started testing Princeton synthetic brushes for watercolor. Before that, I have been using many other brands, painting with both natural and synthetic hair brushes. It was a surprise how close Princeton synthetic brushes stand to natural hair products. There are three lines of Princeton brushes I would like to tell a few words about.
Princeton NeptuneTM [Series 4750] Synthetic Squirrel – After many years of painting with natural squirrel brushes, I had [an] enjoyable experience […] working with Princeton synthetic tools. NeptuneTM is soft and thirsty; it also holds the shape well. There is almost no difference from natural hair products in how NeptuneTM brushes release paint on paper. Every NeptuneTM brush comes with [a] beautiful golden color ferule and wooden handles that are very pleasant to hold. These brushes are works of art on their own – pleasant to look at and work with! My favorite NeptuneTM brush is the Dagger Striper – a great tool for making long and thin artistic lines that can be turn into much thicker strokes at a wish.
Princeton EliteTM [Series 4850] Synthetic Kolinsky Sable – These brushes are [a] really great replacement for natural Kolinsky Sable. When it comes to making brushstrokes with precision, this line of products is in its own league. Princeton EliteTM brushes hold plenty of paint and release it in the same manner as natural Kolinsky Sable brushes do. Fine tips of Princeton EliteTM brushes stay well-pointed for many artworks. The combination of matt-silver ferules with charcoal-colored “velvety-feel” wooden handles is unique. And I really like the Princeton EliteTM Stroke brush; not to mention that its price is only a fraction of a natural hair product price-tag.
Princeton HeritageTM [Series 4050] Synthetic Sable – When even more water holding capacity (in combination with a well-pointing edge) is required, this line of brushes comes to its play. Princeton HeritageTM brushes are durable and affordable. It saves a great deal when buying the 2-inch Princeton HeritageTM Flat Wash or size 30 Princeton HeritageTM Round brush comparing to their natural hair counterparts. My preferred brushes from the Princeton HeritageTM line are round ones.”
Vladimir’s latest artwork can be found on his Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/VLADIMIR_LONDON_FINE_ARTIST/