September's "The Cellist," by Oxana Katsov, is displayed in her living room, lovingly unsold, because it's her husband Kirill's favorite.
A typically fast and spontaneous painter in acrylic or watercolor, Oxana can paint "several pieces in three hours," portraying in series subjects that have always fascinated her –– music, instruments or hands playing musical instruments–– as well as seashells or dogs. The Cellist, however, was different.
The painting was the result of a five-hour workshop planned by Oxana's teacher at JoyArt in New Paltz, where she takes classes. "We invited Ilia, a San Francisco Conservatory of Music student to model for three of us right before Christmas 2019 – our own Christmas gift for ourselves," she said. "It was an every-artist’s dream setting: a favorite theme, inspirational music, great model and enough time to enjoy the process."
"Ilia was not just posing but playing music, improvising," said Oxana, a computer programmer who also plays the saxophone. "He is extremely talented, studying music composition for film."
Speaking of film, her all-time favorite song is Michel Legrand's Oscar-winning "Windmills of Your Mind" from 1968's The Thomas Crown Affair. There's a magic in oldies, her favorite music, she admits. "I couldn't play it myself," she says, "it just never came out right." Her repertoire, however, does include some masterful pieces, including Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of your Smile," Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," and Ernesto De Curtis's "Come Back to Sorrento."
Oxana also loves exploring nature with her pointer Bene, the family hunting dog. She has been a local area resident for 20 years with the past three in Glen Rock, and although she has never "seriously displayed" her paintings, Oxana says she would "happily donate some of my pieces to local hospitals, schools or offices."