My Son-in-Law's Favorite Painting

Of Irina’s paintings, my favorites are those that feature landscapes. In contemporary society, our minds shift from one focal point – one objective, one person, one moment – to the next in the blink of an eye. We often forget to relish the details that make our world a special place. When Irina paints landscapes, every inch of canvas receives equal attention. While the observer’s focus in “Bush with White Flowers” is certainly on the bush itself, it is the depth of color and texture in the trail and the background which brings the painting to life. Irina takes no shortcuts, nor does she gloss over the details in her work. She illuminates every blade of grass, every flower and every cloud with nuance and clarity. Irina’s ability to render the minutiae in a scene so vividly epitomizes her attitude towards both her artwork and her life.

A Few Words from my Husband

Irina’s paintings and drawings have something special in all of them. This specialness is reflected in her unusual taste in art; her unique personality as an artist comes through in her artwork.

A Best Friend's Reflection

For a while now I have been thinking about acquiring art for the home. I recently got my wish, and I am currently in possession of some pieces which I got from my no doubt gifted friend. Yes, of course we treasure everything that comes from people we love: we collect it, we keep it, we stack it, we go back "to take another look", to connect with something significant or maybe not so, but still precious in its meaning and warmth. It is not necessarily artistic value that we covet, but the person and his or her/her place in our life.

When I first heard about Irina starting painting, I though it would be nice to have something of hers that personal, especially now that we live thousands miles apart. And then I saw her work.

Surprised-not really (quite frankly, she surprised the sh** out of me more times than I can count). This time she outdid herself. My sense is that so much of what she is about is now speaking on her behalf in her paintings: her smarts, her intelligence, her peculiar way of always looking at things beyond what they seem to be; and her pure joy of "being present" and being "there" above all. One can wonder how someone with no training, no time and opportunity to practice can produce art work of such quality, that it draws you back every time to review a detail, admire colors, and simply inhale this aura of serenity, light and hope that we all seek.

I do not know the answer to this question but I will tell you what: I put three of my favorite pieces on a sofa table next to each other, so in case there is a fire I can just grab them all at once.

My Evolution as an Artist as Observed by my Mother

Talent is a gift from God that we as people receive at birth, though what our particular talent is isn’t always evident to us from the start. Sometimes, talent lies within us, and neither we, nor any of our friends and family know that the talent exists and lies within.

My daughter, Irina (affectionately, Irochka), is the granddaughter of a famous Russian artist Edith Moseivna Raetenburg (1899-1975). Irina’s grandmother was a member of the Moscow Collective Union of Artists of the Soviet Union (MCUA USSR). Edith began drawing when she was fourteen years old.

About a year ago, Irochka ended up at a painting workshop and all of a sudden…what a wonder! Drawing captivated her – she developed a desire to draw.


The hidden talent was awoken. A higher power brought out the talent in her. Irina works often and she is very engaged with her art. She works on drawings, landscapes, and still lives. More recently, she has even begun working on portraits.

Irina takes art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Danforth Museum in Framingham, and other workshops nearby.

When she first began painting, she began with landscapes inspired by our backyard – both summer and winter scenes. Her paint brush and canvas bring her joy. Her work conveys a very refined vision with a beautiful ability to convey space and impressions. Both successful and amazing. Even the smallest things like learning how to convey a new detail bring her joy.

I am proud of her. When I look at her paintings, I feel such joy for her.

Irochka, I wish you huge success in your new hobby. Keep at it! I want to repeat the thing that I always say to you. “With a book and a brush, you will never be bored.”

I love you so much,


Childhood Memories from my Sister

I have known that my sister is an artist ever since I can remember. She is seven years older than me, and I remember during our childhood that she was always able to draw such amazing pictures for me. To this day, I can still visualize some of them. She also drew the decorations for our small two person theater productions that we would host as children. Those times were the best times that I remember from my childhood – when the two of us were left home alone. Me and the best babysitter ever – my sister.

Then, she took a long break, and surprised us all with amazing talent inside her and a very strong desire and interest. I love every single painting. I am still hoping and looking forward to a giraffe painting and Winnie the Pooh replica. But I can wait, no problem. Love you, Irishka. You are very good at what you do!

Anna's (my eldest daughter's) favorite painting

My favorite painting is winter. We live in New England, and this is the view I often see when I look outside from our kitchen window. When my mom painted this, she was learning how to paint the color white. White is such a tricky color, and she captured it so beautifully. White changes color depending on time of day (this case twilight), and it’s almost never actually white. If you look up close at an impressionist painting, or really any painting, you’ll see that the way the artist rendered white is so detailed. It has a million different colors – sometimes pink, purple, blue, yellow and even green. In this painting, I think my mom did just that – the pink, purple, blue and grey tones really capture the way the snow looks at twilight.

I’m most inspired by my mom’s art because she started painting just over a year ago and has developed so well artistically in such a short time. Sometimes, when you want to do something, but you don’t know whether or not you will succeed, even starting can be the biggest challenge. I’m most proud of my mom for getting in the car, driving to the art store and just starting. But, now that she has started, I’m also proud of how far she’s come and how beautiful her work is.

Rachel's (my youngest daughter's) favorite painting

Mom's paintings are excellent and beautiful. But my favorites are "The Lion King" and "Three Little Pigs". In “The Lion King”, the little lion, Simba is on his father’s back. The two are looking up at the stars. This is supposedly the scene where Mufasa (Simba’s father) tells Simba that the stars are the previous great lion-kings watching over them. I like this painting because “The Lion King” is probably my favorite animated movie with animals as the main characters. I also like how the lions look just like they did in the movie. I like "Three Little Pigs" because the painting is very simple. The three little pigs are smiling at us from a green background. I actually asked Mom to paint them from one of my disney books for my little cousins. One of the main reasons I like this painting is because I like to look at the illustrations of the three little pigs in my disney books. The painting is another beautiful illustration that is bigger and as beautiful (if not a little more). Another reason why I like this painting is because the three little pigs are one of my favorite storybook characters. Those two paintings that I just described are wonderful, and I enjoy looking at them.