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 Lydia Baranov  (1964 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Alaska / Russian Federation      Known for: landscape, interior with figure and genre painting

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An example of work by Lydia Baranov
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An emigrant to the United States in the early 1990s, Lydia Baranov collaborates with her husband Evgeny on paintings that are primarily landscapes, genre scenes, and interiors with figures. If it's a plein air painting, they work side by side, painting a single canvas together, but if it's a studio work, they often paint separately. Before they begin, they discuss their plan for the work, and sometimes argue vigorously over the execution.  Many of their works are large, such as 30 inches by 40 inches.

Both were born in Moscow. Lydia took private art lessons and then attended the Moscow Architectural Institute and studied at the Specialized English School. Upon graduation, she went to Special Projects, a government program of painting restoration.  Her supervisor was her future husband, Evgeny, whom she married in 1990.

Based on economic and humanistic reasons, the couple decided to leave Russia and go to the United States, settling first in Alaska and later in Carmel, California. The destination of Alaska happened because Lydia was a participant in the Young Professionals in Architectural Preservation exchange program. She was sent to Anchorage and worked with the National Parks Service on a survey of Russian orthodox churches in Privilof and the Aleutian Island.

The Baranovs travel widely in North American and Europe.

Evgeny Baranov and Lydia Velichko Baranov represent a unique combination of artists painting together simultaneously, on the same canvas. A very small number of collaborative studio work examples can be found throughout the history of art, however, the Baranovs do this not only in the comfort of the studio, but in plein aire as well. Working in a duet enables the artists to perform faster in the ever-changing plein aire conditions and also to evaluate their own accomplishments in a more comprehensive and more captious manner.

The Baranovs demonstrate the mastery of psychological painting, their works show remarkable depth and saturation with feeling, both of these so often missing from contemporary paintings. Whether it is a landscape, a still-life, a genre or a portrait all of these are within the Baranovs' capability range, touching one's soul, challenging one's mind, and not letting the beholder remain indifferent.

It is not only their talents and tremendous ability to work hard, but also their broad education in art, architecture, philosophy and aesthetics that help the Baranovs find their ways in art. "An artist, first of all, is a person of comprehensive knowledge in many fields", according to the Baranovs. "Art is an endless process of learning from nature, in a museum, with a book." During 15 years, the Baranovs have give instruction to a big number of students, both beginners and professional artists with university degrees in the field.

The Baranovs are members of several national and international professional clubs and associations. Paintings by the Baranovs are offered at important galleries in the United States, Great Britain and France. Their works are represented in government, corporate and private collections in over a dozen countries of the world, often with more than ten major paintings accumulated in a single collection. The Clint Eastwood family has recently acquired over twenty paintings by Evgeny and Lydia Baranov.

"We are against the commercialization of art," the Baranovs emphasize. "Against cliches and templates, where the same images are traveling from one painting to another for the sake of commercial success. And even more so, against mechanical mass reproduction. Although the freedom and many rewards of the artistic profession are somewhat enjoyable, each painting is born "in hard labor", and only then it may claim to be called "a work of art."

The Taos Gallery Scottsdale

Biography from
Evgeny (b. 1961) and Lydia Velichko Baranov (b. 1964) were born into Muscovite families where an interest in the fine arts was not only appreciated but also actively encouraged. Both were students of the old Soviet Union's most prestigious school, Moscow Institute of Architecture.

The institute emphasized an extremely rigorous, multi-disciplinary education, and could only be entered through a series of competitive entrance exams. In addition to five years of drawing, four years of painting, two years of sculpting, and their architecture courses, Evgeny and Lydia received an excellent grounding in history, philosophy and mathematics.  By the time that they graduated from the six-year program in 1984 and 1987 respectively, Evgeny and Lydia not only had a practical career in architecture but an excellent grounding in the fine arts that was rooted in the old curriculum of the Imperial Academy.

Evgeny Baranov and Lydia Velichko after graduation both worked on the restoration of historic buildings in Moscow. As they came to know each other, they learned that they shared a deep love of the Russian painting and that both had a desire to pursue a career in the fine arts. As part of an exchange program for young architects, Lydia won the opportunity to travel to Anchorage, Alaska, where she worked on a project to survey the historic Russian Orthodox churches in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

At this time the "Velvet Revolution" was occurring and communism was beginning to collapse. Evgeny Baranov and Lydia Velichko were present enough to see that things would be better for them abroad, so the couple married and moved to Anchorage, where Lydia had made friends and valuable contacts.

In Anchorage, the Baranovs adapted to a system and culture that was foreign to them. Lydia V. Baranov did translation work while the two worked to forge a following for their paintings. She and Evgeny began to teach art. They developed a detailed curriculum but were disappointed to find that few students had the necessary desire to master elementary drawing principles before moving on to painting. Gradually, the young painters began to sell their landscape work and develop a following for formal portraits and genre paintings.

In the beautiful Alaskan wilderness, the Baranov's began to spend a great deal of time painting out-of-doors or "en plein air" as the French describe it. They began to experiment by painting side-by-side on the same canvas in order to capture the rapidly changing conditions of light and atmosphere. Excited by the paintings that came out of their collaboration, the Baranovs began to work on portraits and genre scenes together too. Eventually, after eight years in Anchorage, the couple saw more opportunities in a more populated area and they moved to California.

After joining the prestigious California Art Club (founded in 1909) and participating in several plein-air painting events, the Baranov's settled in the turn-of-the-century art colony of Carmel. Although the Baranov's have adopted the subject matter of the California Impressionists, their work remains distinctly Russian.

As the Russian painters of the 19th century did, the Baranovs create landscapes that the viewer can step into and walk around. The foreground looms large. Roads, trails and rivers create pathways to explore. While some of their landscapes are panoramic, offering a grand sweeping view, the Baranovs also accord the small corners of nature similar respect and attention. They seek out the beauty of the commonplace as well as the extraordinary.

In their genre scenes, Evgeny and Lydia strive for penetrating depth. They want these works to deal with relationships and with the nature of being human. Some of these paintings can be melancholy or bittersweet because of the complex and contradictory nature of life. In “The Work Is Over” the subject is
one that any creative person should be able to identify with. After a writer, poet or artist has struggled long and hard with a major project and it has finally been completed, he or she is often left with a feeling of emptiness. The work has been done, the goal met, but nothing has yet filled the void left by the project's completion and consequently the creator is left depressed and desolate, if only for a time.

Ultimately, the art of Evgeny and Lydia V. Baranov is unique in that this pair of talented painters have lived together, worked together, and traveled together for so long that the consciousness of not one but two artists is infused in each of their works. The artistic sensibility, creative spirit, and indomitable work ethic of two similar but unique personalities contribute to not only the collaborative paintings that they create side-by-side; but, even to the works that they do on their own.

-International Federation of Artists under UNESCO, Artist Member since 1993
-California Art Club, Artist Member since 1998
-Oil Painters of America, Associate Member since 1999
-Alaska Artists Guild, Honorary Member since 1990
-Award of Excellence, OPA Eighth National Exhibition, Scottsdale, AZ, 1999
-The Artist’s Magazine 1999 National Portrait Competition, Finalist

-Born in Moscow, Russia, in 1964. Moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1990, then to Carmel, CA, in 1998
-Received Master of Science in Architecture from Moscow Architectural Institute in 1987
-Grand Prix for the Thesis Project, Riga, Latvia, 1987
-Worked as an Architect in 1987-1990, Institute of Special Projects in Restoration, Moscow
-Was elected to participate in the first USSR/USA ICOMOS Exchange Program for Young Professionals in Architectural Preservation; worked with National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, on the Russian Orthodox Churches in Alaska survey project, 1989
-Works as a professional Fine Artist in etching/aquatint, oil and watercolor since 1988
-Was selected for participation in the Annual Young Artist’s Exhibit, The Central Art Exhibition Hall, Moscow, 1989
-Married Evgeny Baranov in 1990
-Often works in collaboration with Evgeny Baranov since 1992


-Series of 12 landscapes of the Tehama Golf Course for Clint Eastwood’s Tehama Country Club, 1998
-Two landscapes for Mr. & Mrs. Clint Eastwood, 1998

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Lydia Baranov is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club

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