Alla says that she has learned a lot about water color painting from her teaching. When first asked to be on the faculty, she didn't think she would know how to teach. So, her students said, "Paint and we'll watch". As she progaressed, they would ask her why and she would explain why. She was forced to look and think more carefully about what she was doing in order to do that explaining. It was a learning process for her as well.
This method has remained in large part how she has handled her classes during the years. Her classes are not for beginners. She feels they are more of a critique. Her favorite subjects are plants, forests, water, rocks. She loves to examine thier shapes and different colors...feeling that you must paint only what speaks to you. One of the great privileges of painting is learning how to look and the longer you paint, the more you discover.
Alla's background is not art school. She has a master's degree in Biology from the University of Chicago. But like most artists, she has always drawn. throoughout her school years, all her papers were illustrated whether they needed to be or not.
Originally from Leningrad, Russia, she moved to Germany with her doctor mother and engineer father in 1943. She lived through the horrors of the second world war(her father was killed in an air raid). After finishing at the Gymnasium (the German equivalent of high school but more advanced), she moved to the United States and setlled with a lovely Quaker lady in Philadelphia in 1951. Her mother, under a different quota, followed in 1953. She soon met her husband and they moved to Illinois.
After the last of her childtren left for kindegarten, Alla decided to become serious about art. She took evening classes at Lyons Township with a teacher from the Academy of Fine Arts. She tried oils and ceramics but found her joy in watercolor. Her favorite teachers were the books she read and the workshops she attended. Her favorites were Zoltan Szabo, Frank Webb, Barbara Nechis and Jeanne Dobie. She also bought their books and still finds them useful.
Alla has been active with the League ever since she joined many years ago. She has been president, gallery chairman, recording secretary, director of classes, and was instrumental in the League's purchase of our building in the early eighties. Her paintings are beautifully distinctive and are much loved by the many people who have purchased them over the years. She says that her colors have become darker over the years. They're still marvelous and we're proud they hang on our walls at the Gallery.