Public invited to view artists' portraits Sunday

Community Sep 10, 2009 by Lisa Queen North York Mirror

In this digital age when anyone can snap off countless photos of family and friends and post them online, there is something compelling about an artist who takes months to paint someone's portrait.

"There is a big difference between a photo and a portrait. It is the difference between an artificial flower and a real flower," said North York portrait artist Veronica Kvassetskaia Tsyglan.

Born in Russia and educated in a school for artistically and musically gifted children, Tsyglan studied her craft internationally, including in Cyprus and Germany.

The 43-year-old moved to North York 10 years ago.

She follows in the style of the old masters, such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, producing portraits that often appear to be a step back in time.

"It is a multi-layered feeling. It is like lasagna. I have to apply layer after layer," she said.

This month, Tsyglan's artwork will be on display at an exhibition downtown. While viewing is mostly by appointment only, the public is invited to an opening reception Sunday, Sept. 13.

The exhibition will include more than 25 portraits in oil and charcoal of several notable celebrities, such as North York Olympic judo athlete Sasha Mehmedovic, award-winning theatre and opera director Tom Diamond, acclaimed ballerina Tatiana Stepanova, and Arkady Spivak, director and founder of Talk is Free Theatre.

When she had finished painting Diamond, Tsyglan said he paid her the highest compliment.

"He said, 'You have made me immortal,'" she said.

The most important part of a portrait is capturing the subject's personality and essence on canvas, Tsyglan said.

"I love people. Human subjects always interest me," she said.

"(My paintings) always reflect the emotional aspect of the model. I am trying to show as much beauty as possible. Even if the person is not beautiful, I'm trying to show inner beauty."

Tsyglan enjoys painting any subject, especially children.

However, her favourites are creative people and artists.

"These people are most fascinating for me because we're talking the same language," she said.

Tsyglan will take three months to a year to complete a portrait, which sell for $1,000 to $15,000 depending on the size and whether the medium is charcoal, pencil or oil.

While segments of portraits can be completed from photos, subjects will have to sit for some sessions so she can capture their most personal characteristics such as eyes, skin colour and hair colour.

In 2001, realizing there was no organization in Canada to represent artists in her craft, Tsyglan founded the Portrait Artists' Society of Canada, She currently serves as president of the society, which represents about 200 artists.

In 2002, she was the first-place winner and people's choice winner in the international portrait competition held in Toronto. Sunday's public reception takes place at the Arts and Letters Club at 14 Elm St., northwest of Yonge and Dundas streets, from 4 to 8 p.m.

A special appearance by violin virtuoso Eugene Draw, who is known as Dr. Draw and who is also one of Tsyglan's portrait subjects, will take place at 6 p.m.

Public invited to view artists' portraits Sunday

Community Sep 10, 2009 by Lisa Queen North York Mirror

In this digital age when anyone can snap off countless photos of family and friends and post them online, there is something compelling about an artist who takes months to paint someone's portrait.

"There is a big difference between a photo and a portrait. It is the difference between an artificial flower and a real flower," said North York portrait artist Veronica Kvassetskaia Tsyglan.

Born in Russia and educated in a school for artistically and musically gifted children, Tsyglan studied her craft internationally, including in Cyprus and Germany.

The 43-year-old moved to North York 10 years ago.

She follows in the style of the old masters, such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, producing portraits that often appear to be a step back in time.

"It is a multi-layered feeling. It is like lasagna. I have to apply layer after layer," she said.

This month, Tsyglan's artwork will be on display at an exhibition downtown. While viewing is mostly by appointment only, the public is invited to an opening reception Sunday, Sept. 13.

The exhibition will include more than 25 portraits in oil and charcoal of several notable celebrities, such as North York Olympic judo athlete Sasha Mehmedovic, award-winning theatre and opera director Tom Diamond, acclaimed ballerina Tatiana Stepanova, and Arkady Spivak, director and founder of Talk is Free Theatre.

When she had finished painting Diamond, Tsyglan said he paid her the highest compliment.

"He said, 'You have made me immortal,'" she said.

The most important part of a portrait is capturing the subject's personality and essence on canvas, Tsyglan said.

"I love people. Human subjects always interest me," she said.

"(My paintings) always reflect the emotional aspect of the model. I am trying to show as much beauty as possible. Even if the person is not beautiful, I'm trying to show inner beauty."

Tsyglan enjoys painting any subject, especially children.

However, her favourites are creative people and artists.

"These people are most fascinating for me because we're talking the same language," she said.

Tsyglan will take three months to a year to complete a portrait, which sell for $1,000 to $15,000 depending on the size and whether the medium is charcoal, pencil or oil.

While segments of portraits can be completed from photos, subjects will have to sit for some sessions so she can capture their most personal characteristics such as eyes, skin colour and hair colour.

In 2001, realizing there was no organization in Canada to represent artists in her craft, Tsyglan founded the Portrait Artists' Society of Canada, She currently serves as president of the society, which represents about 200 artists.

In 2002, she was the first-place winner and people's choice winner in the international portrait competition held in Toronto. Sunday's public reception takes place at the Arts and Letters Club at 14 Elm St., northwest of Yonge and Dundas streets, from 4 to 8 p.m.

A special appearance by violin virtuoso Eugene Draw, who is known as Dr. Draw and who is also one of Tsyglan's portrait subjects, will take place at 6 p.m.

Public invited to view artists' portraits Sunday

Community Sep 10, 2009 by Lisa Queen North York Mirror

In this digital age when anyone can snap off countless photos of family and friends and post them online, there is something compelling about an artist who takes months to paint someone's portrait.

"There is a big difference between a photo and a portrait. It is the difference between an artificial flower and a real flower," said North York portrait artist Veronica Kvassetskaia Tsyglan.

Born in Russia and educated in a school for artistically and musically gifted children, Tsyglan studied her craft internationally, including in Cyprus and Germany.

The 43-year-old moved to North York 10 years ago.

She follows in the style of the old masters, such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, producing portraits that often appear to be a step back in time.

"It is a multi-layered feeling. It is like lasagna. I have to apply layer after layer," she said.

This month, Tsyglan's artwork will be on display at an exhibition downtown. While viewing is mostly by appointment only, the public is invited to an opening reception Sunday, Sept. 13.

The exhibition will include more than 25 portraits in oil and charcoal of several notable celebrities, such as North York Olympic judo athlete Sasha Mehmedovic, award-winning theatre and opera director Tom Diamond, acclaimed ballerina Tatiana Stepanova, and Arkady Spivak, director and founder of Talk is Free Theatre.

When she had finished painting Diamond, Tsyglan said he paid her the highest compliment.

"He said, 'You have made me immortal,'" she said.

The most important part of a portrait is capturing the subject's personality and essence on canvas, Tsyglan said.

"I love people. Human subjects always interest me," she said.

"(My paintings) always reflect the emotional aspect of the model. I am trying to show as much beauty as possible. Even if the person is not beautiful, I'm trying to show inner beauty."

Tsyglan enjoys painting any subject, especially children.

However, her favourites are creative people and artists.

"These people are most fascinating for me because we're talking the same language," she said.

Tsyglan will take three months to a year to complete a portrait, which sell for $1,000 to $15,000 depending on the size and whether the medium is charcoal, pencil or oil.

While segments of portraits can be completed from photos, subjects will have to sit for some sessions so she can capture their most personal characteristics such as eyes, skin colour and hair colour.

In 2001, realizing there was no organization in Canada to represent artists in her craft, Tsyglan founded the Portrait Artists' Society of Canada, She currently serves as president of the society, which represents about 200 artists.

In 2002, she was the first-place winner and people's choice winner in the international portrait competition held in Toronto. Sunday's public reception takes place at the Arts and Letters Club at 14 Elm St., northwest of Yonge and Dundas streets, from 4 to 8 p.m.

A special appearance by violin virtuoso Eugene Draw, who is known as Dr. Draw and who is also one of Tsyglan's portrait subjects, will take place at 6 p.m.