I was waiting at the bus stop in Chisinau (my hometown) in a fall or spring day, about 10 years ago. Suddenly, a man approached me and introduced himself as a painter. He told me that my colorful scarf had drawn his attention and he would like to paint me. I was a little skeptical at the beginning, but I accepted his invitation. We walked on a street next to The National Opera and Ballet Theater. Right in the core of my beloved city, I discovered the art studio of the Master of Art, Vasile Dohotaru.
This was going to be my first visit in a real art studio. I had only seen the student art studios of the Fine Arts Academy until then; I was a first year student, studying Fashion Design at the time.
The art studio was simply impressive! It had two levels. You could see many beautiful figurative paintings, sketches, various decorative art objects… so much color everywhere! The colors filled the walls and the entire place. I simply let myself be absorbed into that artistic world. I started to focus on small details step by step: stylized ballerinas, nudes, landscapes, a small library, an old hearth painted in chalk, some wooden stairs painted in red, lots of brushes, pastel, oil, ink… and all these could be admired in a light smell of the wood smoke atmosphere.
The artist chose a very interesting and unique technique in order to paint me; I had the opportunity to discover the ink painting technique. What surprised me most was a small detail – Vasile Dohotaru was painting using a peacock feather. How much work does a painter have to do, in order to get that perfect line from the first strike? I was dreaming with my eyes opened while being painted, hoping one day I could have that precious art skill, too.
I received the portrait as a gift and I went home. I became passionate about collecting photos with many different painters’ studios after living that experience. In addition, I loved especially those ones with a vast artistic chaos.
One of my dreams was born back then. I wished I had my own art studio where I could run my imagination and create.
Ten years have passed since then.
Unexpectedly, I have received a Facebook message from none other than Master of Art, Vasile Dohotaru:
– If you come back to Moldova, I will paint you. I hope we will collaborate. I’m inspired by what you create.
– I would like to. I’m in Moldova right now, I wrote him back.
Immediately, the thought took me to the experience of ten years ago. I went to seek the portrait I received as a gift long time ago.
I was in that same radiant art studio for the second time a decade later. He didn’t remember that he painted me once. I showed him the signed portrait he made.
Now you have different eyes, he said to me.
First, I experienced a déjà vu; it felt like I had taken a giant step back in time. And do you know that special feeling you get when you see a place you visited years ago? Some things seemed the same to me, some of them were different. The art studio was even more colorful than in my memory. The colors of the paintings were so vibrant. I could find my favorite shades of red and bright turquoise in most of the paintings.
I had the opportunity to spend more time in there, so I could enjoy art that was felt even in the air. I got so much inspiration!
While painting me, Vasile Dohotaru was telling stories from his own life. Perhaps every sentence he uttered was his own quote. One thing I have noticed over time is that painters speak in a very special, unique way. They emphasize the small details and they put their soul in every word and emotion. Exactly how they paint.
Painters do not become painters; they are born with a vocation to create. Soulful, he remembered how he made his first attempts at painting as a child, copying countless times a painting from his grandmother’s house.
He had tried four times to study at The Fine Arts College in Chisinau. Being rejected, he had to become a locksmith. But an artist suffers when he lives away from his vocation; his soul dries like the brushes soaked in color and forgotten there, somewhere.
“All I had ever wanted was to become a painter. It was my biggest dream.”
Thus, his vocation led him to knock at the door of another art institution, hoping that his talent could be finally appreciated. The joy wasn’t long waited. A closed door opened another one. Vasile Dohotaru was finally accepted to study at the Faculty of Painting and Graphics, far from home, in Odessa, Ukraine. Surrounded by the sea, he painted a lot on the beach. How beautifully and enthusiastic he talks about his student years and the blue sea!
Before I left, he had given me an art book to browse it at home. I was going to find out the next day about the fire that burned his library and the whole art studio, with his artwork in it. He lost everything he had in there, including hundreds of paintings and thousands of sketches. He doesn’t even have any photos of them. This thing happened in the early 90`s.
However, he repaired his art studio and didn’t stop creating. He continued to paint colorful. Nothing and no one can take the color you have in your soul.
“I find inspiration in my emotional and immaterialized state, in stirring up memory and in my crucial life moments.”
Vasile Dohotaru is a real encyclopedia. Always optimistic, with a great sense of humor, he hides many precious life lessons.
“I appreciate in people the art of dialogue, the sense of humor and the kindness of their soul.”
He told me that he appreciated my punctuality. Although, I admitted that I still had to work on that aspect.
Punctuality is culture, he told me. Hearing that, I remembered the moments when I left people waiting for me, unintentionally. I promised myself to try my best to never be late. When you are late, you steal time from a person’s life. But time is everything.
Vasile Dohotaru painted five pastel portraits of me and a few ink graphics. I just marveled at the result every time a painting was finished. How could he read my soul so well, in order to reflect it through his art? I could see my deep states of mind in the colorful paintings… every time so different, but still the same.
Before I left, he had given me two portraits and said to me:
“Just know how to seize the opportunities. The chances are always among us, we just need to know how to choose the right ones.”
Vasile Dohotaru has organized dozens of exhibitions around the world. He has taken his authentic art to magnificent heights. His exquisite and distinctive artwork is a true heritage.