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Last year amid the pandemic, I stumbled upon a company named Paintru while in search of an artist to commission while in isolation. The idea was simple, I thought. I wanted an image of a place that was special to me (Westlight at The William Vale hotel in Brooklyn) to be recreated in watercolor, and on paper so that it could be framed. The conquest of finding the right artist—from a roster of professional, global talent specializing in various mediums and processes—and coordinating the project from beginning to end was something I learned Paintru specialized in, so I began the process with the company online.
The first step was to upload an image of what I wanted to see recreated by an artist and choose between watercolor or oil. Then, I was able to choose the size and frame option, as well. Within two weeks, I was paired with a professional watercolor artist based in Amsterdam named Darya Mitta. And just a few days later, she shared with Paintru a photo of the piece, who facilitated the image for my review.
To hear a bit more about working with Paintru and creating this specific work, Whitewall spoke with Mitta.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us a bit about your artistic background?
DARYA MITTA: I am a professional watercolor artist. For the past few years, I’ve been residing in the Netherlands. I live in Amsterdam and travel a lot around the world. Being a professional artist, I try to see and describe the world around me through the prism of colors, light, and shadows. Most of my paintings are made in watercolor technique, but I like to experiment with other media such as oil pastel, oil, colored pencils, etc.
WW: How did you first get interested in watercolor?
DM: I was commissioned to develop a brand design for a monastery in Russia, and after failed attempts to find relevant pictures on the internet, I made a decision to paint them myself in watercolor. After finishing this project, my husband suggested that I should further master my watercolor skills and I signed up for a workshop hosted by one of the world’s leading artists. He said I am “kind of a genius” and recommended painting watercolor as much as I can.
WW: How do you typically approach a project? What do you feel makes your work unique?
DM: I usually portray not the things I see, but focus on the emotions which are surrounding the objects or the scenery. It’s one step beyond what one can see within the usual photo of a city street, but something that makes a great difference and makes people experience various emotions while looking at my pictures.
WW: How did you first start working with Paintru?
DM: My first interaction with Paintru was when my art was featured back in 2019, just prior to the launch of their online platform. They have since shared several pieces of my artwork with their network.
WW: Tell us a bit about creating this specific piece.
DM: This was a slightly new kind of artistic task because normally I paint city landscapes. In this case, the idea was to paint a quite detailed interior. I thought of myself exploring this location from different angles and becoming a regular and welcome guest of this place.
When I finished the work it was a bit too sad to leave this place, similar to feelings, when your children grow up and leave, because you keep a piece of your soul in them.
WW: How would you describe the creative energy in Amsterdam?
DM: In my opinion, Amsterdam is quite a calm city and not particularly energetic, likely because of the weather conditions, which make the days often cloudy and grey. This makes my work in the studio even cozier and allows for better concentration on projects.
WW: Do you have a favorite subject to paint?
DM: I enjoy painting cityscapes most of all.
WW: What are you working on next?
DM: Currently, I am in the process of setting up a personal studio in Amsterdam where I will be hosting workshops and organizing a showroom for my artworks. Before that, I had to occupy a part of the ground floor in our house. This came with certain limitations and inconveniences, so I will be moving to a completely personal place soon.
I am also working on a large project together with a Dutch historical expert. We are preparing an illustrated book about the stages of Amsterdam evolution from the 15th century to today, from the boglands to the city we know now.