“I want to reach that state of condensation

of sensations which constitutes a picture.”

— Henri Matisse

Oil Painting by Victoria Juharyan. Photo by Elina Akselrud, NYC 2010

“Close your eyes. Relax. Picture the moment you were being born,” the therapist posited. “Whom would you like to hold you first?” People started wandering through my mind; my brain felt overcrowded and indecisive. Hardly could I relax. Suddenly it hit me. “Nobody!” I replied with a surprising fulmination. The astringent but accommodating woman looked at me as if I were a puzzling and pixilated anomaly. “Nobody? Mother? Father? Boyfriend, for God’s sake!”  “Nobody.”

As a child I liked drawing. I was quite good at it. So good that my family, having decided I was gifted, started pushing on me to develop my talent. I threw away my painting stuff and refused drawing. Family is like a framed canvas, in which you get a square to paint. You can be creative, you can fight to widen your square or even change its shape, but already there is a frame – you cannot change the frame.

Coming back to my empty apartment from the psychotherapy, I felt I would die if I had not drawn something. In an hour, three unframed eccentric pictures appeared on my window sills, fitting quite well into the whole place. They stood there unframed for many years. But once, cuddled on my sofa, I looked at them and remembered the lady who inspired me to paint. I smiled slightly, having just decided to look for some frames for my paintings.


Photo by Elina Akselrud, NYC 2010
Mixed media: oil painting, dried flowers and leaves