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Svetlana Tikhonova: Painting Contemporary Mystical Realism

Svetlana Tikhonova has journeyed through Japan, Russia, Spain, and Italy pursuing local stories, native myths, and legends. She incorporates much of the imagery she finds into her own unique, contemporary painting, which she affectionally calls “mystical realism.”

This first painting, entitled Until the End of Winter, has a sophisticated air of glamour I just adore. After all, how can you go wrong with a sultry red dress, elegant kit gloves and a fabulous hat?


Winter wages on in the background, bringing angry swirls of snowflakes that drape the trees and bushes in a heavy coat of white. The woman’s dress cascades into the snow, which in turn drifts haphazardly up her gown—forming a dramatic color transition from white to red to maroon.

Dream Catcher is another painting where Svetlana’s mystic realism plays out beautifully. Inspired by North American myths about dream guardians and the battle between good and evil, this acrylic painting probably deserves a thousand words, not just a few paragraphs.


To me, the woman’s bright face paint symbolizes her willingness to live an authentic, courageous life. Her hair cascades around her, filled with vibrant colors and bold shapes that embody those feelings of confidence.

Caught out of time in a single moment, the woman places one finger in front of her lips, hushing the viewer as she moves past, as silent as a dream.

Lastly, SnowmanOnline is a magical representation of the festive holiday season. “Preparations are made, holiday’s expectations are enjoyed. . . I really love this time of the year,” she says.


Svetlana perfectly depicts the chilly wintertime sun by bathing the scene in a soft, violet glow. The textures in this painting are fantastic too, from the snowdrifts tumbling along the valley to the powdery snow resting atop the pine trees to the dull glare of thick ice perfect for a little mid-afternoon ice skating.

Of course, what’s most endearing about this painting is the snowman, who seems perfectly happy to have embraced technology as he sits propped up against his little tree stump.

I encourage you to view more of Svetlana’s paintings featuring her unique style of mystic realism by visiting her website today.

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Inhabiting a world of glitz and glamour, the subjects of Gina Higgins' paintings seem engrossed in their own webs of secrets and drama. Each piece below is painted in Gina's signature “American Noir” style, which she explains as a “neonoir homage" to film noir and French new wave film.

In Between Midnight and Dawn, a. . . read more

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