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A cosy house of the watercolour artist and architect Petro Haiovych is hidden in the middle of the green garden, just a few hundred meters from the centre of ancient Uzhhorod. At the entrance to the courtyard you can see well-loved bushes and vines, grown here by the owner.

He meets every guest and proudly shows his new passion-in the courtyard of the vineyard there are juicy fruit! Nearby-rare varieties of grapes, from which sweet and thick wine is made in autumn. All this - for pleasure, for the artist’s soul-a large spacious studio, located in the attic room of the house. There are quite steep stairs leading to the studio, which, however, the artist easily climbs up–he’s already getting used to.

The first thing that catches your eye in the studio is the drawing table, located under a huge window that is almost half a wall. It is the very place with a lot of light and space where the master’s architectural projects are born. He says, despite his passion for painting, he also works on the design of houses, churches, various institutions: “I paint. And, I’m engaged in architecture, because it brings profit. The artists starve now. Unfortunately, there is no demand for painting ...”

Opposite the drawing table there is a cosy sofa, where one can sometimes relax, next to it-a large table with the computer and a smaller coffee table where the owner often draws sketches. A lot of trinkets-gifts from friends-artists, sculptors and guests, who visit the studio-are on the shelves, windowsills, bookcases. There are paintings, sketches, photos on the walls. And, numerous works of the master are also stacked in the corners - practically all of them are in frames and ready for exhibitions. In the attic everything literally breathes with creativity, and answering the question of how much time the master spends here, he says with a dreamy smile: “A lot of time. Here is my muse. And, my soul sings here!”

On a separate table the master keeps a huge number of sketches-blanks, which over time turned into beautiful paintings, created in watercolour. The owner takes them, looking for his first work to show the guests. He selects a small sketch and tells: “Here, this is the work of Fedir Manailo, once he presented it to me himself, I keep it! In general, I was working at the Art Fund for five years and had the opportunity to communicate with the masters of the Transcarpathian School of Painting, Kashshai, Bokshai, Sholtes, Burch, Sapatiuk, Brovdi worked and painted at that time...”

When it goes about watercolour, the master’s eyes literally light up with delight. He says that there are not enough watercolour painters now, because the technique is not easy, not everyone is able to do it. “What is difficult? And, why there are so few watercolours painters? First of all, because in watercolour technique if you make a brush stroke, it’s done, if you spoiled the stroke, you could not change anything. Therefore, there can be no overlap in this technique, it is impossible, as in oil, to re-paint it. A copy of the watercolour work cannot be repeated. That’s why this technique is complicated. But, when you master it, when you reach that level, when you do not think about how and what to do, when your hand is moving itself on paper-then you get incredible feelings! I paint without even thinking what I do, just watching the brush. And, it sometimes seems-as if I develop a photo, but not from the film, from my imagination … The main thing is not to disturb me at that moment or distract ...”

The master is fond of the perfection of the universe, everything that is around-it can be a nice woman, a view or a ringing waterfall … There are enough themes, God created a lot beautiful things around, the trouble is one-it's hard to reproduce everything on paper... “That's why this work is very stressful: you constantly feel your helplessness in front of that powerful beauty that you see, you compare, and feel all the time that you did not manage to reproduce the tenth or twentieth of that beauty! – the artist says. – You did not convey everything, because there are not so many possibilities in watercolour technique! And, this feeling worries me very much … It's stress. I cannot say that it is very negative. But, adrenaline is strong and impressive. This is a constant struggle to increase the opportunities for reproducing what you see!”

Text: Nataliia Petervari Photo: Robert Dovhanych

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