11. 07. 2024

Time flies because I've been busy cleaning my French house. The renters left, and now we can finally get the 230 m² in order. There is a lot of work to do. The tenants hardly cleaned the house in over four years. Even the walls need to be washed. I know the French are not known for their cleaning habits, but each new case surprises me with how people can live in such neglected premises. My northern side will probably never get used to this.


So, my artistic work has been put on hold. I don't know how much time it will take to get the house in order and get back to painting.


02. 06. 2024

Many think that anonymity is harmful because it enables harassment or manipulation, such as the influence of Russian-paid trolls on public opinion online. However, as an artist who has maintained a form of media anonymity for over twenty years by not sharing personal photos or videos, I find anonymity useful. It helps us avoid getting caught up permanently in our animal nature fixated on looks, and instead, focus on ideas.


01. 06. 2024

Recently, I devoured a film called "Shame" – a deep dive into the world of psychopaths. It was an hour and a half of unsettling brilliance. As the credits rolled, I couldn't help but wonder how vastly different our existence is, how much darkness and complexity lurk beneath the surface of the human experience. If you are not a psychopath, you definitely need to watch "Shame" to discover that hidden world that is all around us.


This existential pondering continued today with a much lighter subject. Y., toying with the idea of getting a pet, dragged me down a fascinating YouDupe rabbit hole. We watched a video chronicling a girl's life with these incredible, massive parrots. Apparently, these brainiac birds require a ton of attention and mental engagement. Otherwise, they plummet into a terrifying abyss of boredom and depression – and I'm talking fatal depression!


This video struck a chord with me. The connection between intelligence and depression? It never even crossed my mind before. But hold on a minute, that makes perfect sense! A day without some serious mental challenge leaves me feeling sluggish and emotionally drained. A few days of that, and – bam! – full-blown depression city engulfs me. Guess I'm one of those creatures who needs constant mental stimulation to function. Otherwise, things spiral south faster than a parrot in freefall.


Seriously, it's mind-boggling how driven we all are, whether we're parrots or humans. We're all stuck living out these pre-programmed lives, calculated by nature. The living machines, I would say. Do you disagree with me?


29. 06. 2024

I've been in France for two weeks, readapting to my country. The sun has returned, and there is a hammam outside. We are mostly getting around the city by bicycle, which is cool.


We visited our friends yesterday and spent half the day together. Great people and a wonderful time of warm communication. I'm not very social spending most of my time with pictures, but these days I understand the beauty of sociality.


I've also noticed that writing is something people do when they don't spend enough time with others. It's a way to compensate for the lack of communication. I write this journal too because I stay alone too much.


18. 06. 2024

I've been in France for a few days and noticed that not much has changed: people don't work as much, they shop, and they suffer. Despite having plenty of money, they lack meaningful connections. Even when together, interactions often feel empty.


Shopping, driven by our consumerist society, becomes a substitute for connection. The more we buy, the cheaper things get, creating a cycle that leaves us feeling worse with every new purchase.


I went to a shop on Monday at 11, and there were surprisingly many people for a typical weekday in a city of this size. The shopping trolleys have also become two sizes bigger, encouraging more purchases. There were twice as many items in the shop. So much stuff to buy.


Seeing that made me sad. 


14. 06. 2024

Finally arrived at our French house. 


I feel great because we accomplished our five-day road trip from Eastern Estonia to Western France.


13. 06. 2024 

We came to Northern France. It's so cold here.


12. 06. 2024

After 9 hours on the road in our truck, we arrived in a small town in Germany. 


Looking around, I already miss Estonia and Poland. Everything here seems so inhuman: house interiors are often cold, damp, and cheaply made; shops are rare and often closed.


I decided to stay in the flat and not go outside for a walk, even if the architecture looks amazing.


11. 06. 2024

We arrived in Warsaw, Poland. I have always had a special affection for this city, though I can't quite pinpoint why. It feels like Warsaw is currently an ideal place to live. 


10. 06. 2024

About a week ago, I was in Russian St. Petersburg for the last time for a while. I am going to leave Estonia, which is close to the city, and move to France. This means I will no longer be just two hours from St. Petersburg and won’t be able to visit as easily.


St. Petersburg seemed to me a sad place, degrading more with every month. People are more aggressive, and women are more beautiful, meaning the competition for men has increased. This is because many men go and die in the war in Ukraine, leaving fewer men available. I was very upset by the city’s state. It's like meeting an old friend who is becoming an alcoholic.


Anyway, today we left Estonia. After a 9-hour road trip, we arrived in Lithuania. Our trip to France will take 5 days by car.

By the way, Russia recently started a hybrid war with Estonia. In May, Russian border guards removed all buoys demarcating the border between Estonia and Russia on the Narva River. Recently, Putin also claimed Russia will not attack an EU country. According to what we know about Putin, that means Russia has planned to attack Estonia.


Thus, I am happy to leave Narva in time, but my heart stays with the Estonians.


07. 06. 2020

When I look at people from a human level, I see how different we all are. But from a higher perspective, we are all similar. This seems to be the principle that governs the universe. Everything appears varied until viewed from above, revealing that everything is essentially the same. Things work the similar way: many small physical elements unite to create a larger virtual network.


01. 06. 2024

People are beings designed to survive for a few decades. There are three main strategies for survival:


Know your environment.

Know other people.

Know yourself.


Most of us focus on one or two of these strategies, often prioritising "knowing people" because if you ignore others, they marginalise you.


Artists mainly survive by "knowing themselves" strategy, and sharing their insights with others. This helps people learn from different perspectives. Art is a tool for learning, which is one of the reasons why people buy art, allowing artists to make a living. Writers focus on understanding other people and sharing their insights through stories. Scientists concentrate on understanding the environment and sharing their knowledge.


The most effective way to survive in the short time nature has calculated for us is to combine all three strategies.


31. 06. 2024

To alleviate the stress from painting pressure, I decided to make seascape drawings yesterday afternoon and again this morning. By 8 AM, I was already near the beach with my white gel pen and black paper. I spent a few hours drawing and felt much better, realising that drawing is the only way I spend time outside.


As people passed by on the beach, I noticed a difference between Nordic people, like Estonians, and Southern people, like the French. Nordic people don't speak to an artist at work out of respect, while the French are very communicative. They never miss an opportunity to talk to an artist, which is often amazing because people always have some nice stories to share.


30. 05. 2024

I worked all day yesterday on the painting with the pine, as I have been doing for the past few days. However, I still cannot find a solution for painting the pine trunk. I feel very stressed and can't seem to manage it. The time pressure is mounting because I hoped to finish the painting before moving to France. Right now, it seems increasingly impossible as there are still many elements not progressing, such as the pine trunk. My body craves sugar. I resist, but this is probably an indication of my stress. I feel like I have no control over my body; it controls me, if there is even a “me” somewhere.


29. 05. 2024

I have continued to eat little and still have much energy, sleeping 6-7 hours instead of the usual 8-10 hours. However, the extra time I have for work has not been very productive. I am still struggling with the pine trunk. Despite repainting it many times, I remain unsatisfied with the result.


23. 05. 2024

Keeping my body hungry and sleeping less didn't harm my energy or concentration. Instead, I made two drawings in the forest, perfectly controlling my hand movements. Being hungry seems to give me more energy to paint and reach that high artistic level.


Van Gogh ate very little and made great progress in drawing and painting. His keen eye for landscape details is hard to match because he painted with incredible intensity. The changing outdoor conditions require an artist to be very fast and precise to capture many details under the same lighting.


I will continue to keep myself hungry and see how it affects my ability to work.


22. 05. 2024

Fell asleep only at 3-4 AM and woke up at 8 AM today. Only 4-5 hours of sleep, while usually I sleep about 8-10 hours a day. I feel tired, even though I had many work plans for today. I hope my condition will not prevent me from doing well with those forest drawings and the painting.


I struggle to sleep enough when I eat too little. Yesterday, I limited my daily meals to one salad with Chinese cabbage, tuna flakes, and corn; a banana; a chicken breast; three pieces of beef liver; three fried eggs; one wrap; and finally, two small oranges that I ate at night, hoping they would help me sleep. However, that was too little for my body. Despite this, I don't feel very hungry. Humans are meant to feel hunger, not to be constantly well-fed, as we often lie to ourselves. Food has become a veritable drug these days. But being too hungry makes your body go crazy. It's an interesting state, but it is not very compatible with doing a painter's work. I will manage to add something to my daily meal.


21. 05. 2024

I finally made some drawings of my enchanted forest here in Estonia. It's +25°C outside, and the weather is just perfect for working outdoors. I made two quick pictures with a white gel pen on A3 black paper and got so much pleasure from it. I plan to make more drawings in the month I have left before definitely moving from Estonia.


I'm still not happy with the pine in the big painting I've been working on these last few months. I found information about how pines grow and reproduce. It's such a complex process that I could never have imagined. Things seem simple only because we don't know how they work. 


14. 05. 2024

"... Many become artists for reasons that have little to do with art. The wealthy demand the new, the original, the scandalous. And I, starting with Cubism, have entertained these gentlemen with my absurdities, and the less they understood them, the more my fame and fortune grew. Today I am famous and very rich, but when I am alone with myself, I do not have the courage to see myself as an artist in the great sense of the word; I am merely a public entertainer who has understood his time. It is bitter and painful, but it is the truth... "—words of the old artist Pablo Picasso that are a pointing truth. Artists are entertainers. A sad reality that is hidden behind sweet illusions.


I recently heard a quote by a writer that literature exists to show people that their original thoughts are not original. I've loved writing for the same reason. Inside my head my thoughts seem to me so complex and original, but once put on paper they become what they are—simple and random. Writing is like a cold shower that helps to strip away our illusions.


Returning to my idea that art is always about entertainment, I want to add that great art differs from ordinary art in that the entertainment part is just the tip of the iceberg. Everything happens in that hidden part. 


I see many successful artists who put only entertainment in their paintings, preventing their art from ever becoming great. That art is like a drug. You take it, and after a short while, the euphoria fades, leaving you with nothing. Great art, on the other hand, always leaves you with something big, a gift that you can use for a while. 


09. 05. 2024

Writing "nothing can stop me from reaching my goal" yesterday prompted a reflection on determination, often considered by many as a quality. Personally, I don't think it's a quality. For me, it's just a characteristic randomly bestowed upon people by nature. Some of us are born with determination, which I suppose serves to push us toward becoming an alpha human (or dying quicker than others.) 


Determination moves one to the top. But being at the top holds nothing truly special. You simply have more resources than others, protecting you from perishing when resources are limited. Yet, in our times there are too many resources, and we have to better think how to avoid dying quicker from their excess. Even if personally, I think that dying quicker or slower holds no significance.


Anyway, I am aware that I possess determination that pushes me on the top, but I am also aware that it's not necessarily a good thing. It's just here, and I am nothing particularly special. Because we are all special, unique, which finally means we are all the same.


The world is always the same, but it appears to us in many different forms because our emotions make us perceive it differently. This is something I’ve recently become aware of.


Yesterday, I had a headache from the change in weather, and the world seemed sombre and pessimistic. Once the headache stopped, I felt better, and the world became a soft and pleasing place. Today, I feel good, and the world is great.


Is this something others notice too? For me, it's been a while since I started observing how my emotions split the world into many different worlds. I've been trying to understand and cope with this illusion. When I start to see the ugly world, I remind myself that the real world hasn't changed. There's just an animal inside me feeling bad about something, like being hungry, cold, or stressed, and its emotions create that bad imaginary world.


Many people wonder why paintings are so expensive. They see pictures and think they could easily make something similar. But it's not that easy, and I'll tell you why. However, thinking that way is natural because we can't understand things before we experience them. It's just human.


So, why is art so expensive? Well, consider this: a big part of a painting's price comes from the research made by an artist to paint something that's never been painted before. Creating something new is tough, an evident thing that is often underestimated.


When you look at a painting, it only looks simple because someone already found a way to realise it. And that probably was tough. Even if you tried just to copy the picture, I suppose you would struggle because art requires a lot of skill that comes from practising art for years.


Also, ask yourself: do you have enough determination, engagement, and free time to put into creating an original image? Are you capable of working for free for many years to find a way to depict what you imagine?


To show humanity in that different and unique way, like my representation of cubes, I spent years researching. And my research has still not stopped because I continue to find out how to make my figure of cubes look greater. For example, today, I found how to improve its colours to make cubes visually more appealing.


I tell you that because I want you to understand something. When you see a painting and question its high price, remember that it's not just about what you see on the canvas, but rather what you don't see — research, and the artist's dedication.


08. 05. 2024

Many people think it's cool to make their living from painting. This is because they don't know how much work it requires. Being a painter means working physically hard daily, dealing with difficult problems, confronting stress from not being able to resolve them, being patient and organised enough to paint the same picture for months sometimes, and not being sure whether the fruit of that effort will ever be sold.


I'm coming to my fourth month of work on the same painting and am starting to feel overwhelmed. There is still much finishing work, like polishing and detailing, to complete the picture, and I have the impression that the more I work, the more I need to do.


It's a full working day for me today, one of three in the week. I started painting this morning but can't seem to make progress. I feel fatigued and have a heavy head, probably because of the weather changing from +18 to +4. 


I have to accept the setback of losing a working day, but it stresses me out as I'm leaving Estonia in some more than a month. The painting should be finished, detached from the frame, and rolled before the departure date. However, today I'm forced to take a break, at least for half of the day. 


You know what? Artists have no weekends, I suddenly realised. Artists work every day.


Just wanted to let you know that I decided to document my struggles, not to beg for support or pity. It's to remind you that fame isn't about coming and taking big money, but about overcoming struggles, over and over again. This is the reality of many famous people's lives, which we often underestimate. 


And yes, after a quick rest, I picked up my brush and continued painting. Because nothing can stop me from reaching my goal.


07. 05. 2024

Painters often use a limited range of colours like ochre, ultramarine, umber, and a few others. In the past, they had to because there weren't many natural pigments available. But now, with artificial paints, artists have almost an endless colour palette. Still, painters still use the same old colours. Ever wonder why?


As a painter myself, I've often pondered this question and recently came up with an answer. I think it's because the images we create, whether landscapes, portraits, or whatever, are often the same, and thus need similar colours to look real to us. 


This insight only reinforced my previous observation about people in general. We are not as original thinkers as we imagine. We are copiers. We imitate others and follow established techniques. Our creation or invention is always less than 1%, like when a painter makes a picture, its originality is about this amount. So, while there's some creativity involved, much of what we do is based on what we've learned from others.


Now, my next question is, what makes us different from artificial intelligence?


#humanity #artificialintelligence


02. 04. 2024

I've been continuing to think a lot about what my paintings are all about, and I've come up with an interesting idea — uniformity. Our world is becoming more similar everywhere, especially with the internet connecting us all. It's like everything is becoming the same. My paintings reflect this 'uniformisation'. 


01. 04. 2024

Last night, I woke up several times because my brain had been processing a very important idea I mentioned in my last journal entry. Certainly, I'm kidding about its importance. So, you see, it occurred to me that within each of us, there's not just a thinker and an artist, but also a communicator.


These three aspects of our mind are kind of like rivals. When one is active, the others tend to take a back seat. For instance, when I'm painting, my thinker and communicator are pretty much switched off. And when I'm focused on communicating with someone, my thinker and artist take a backseat.


So, when I'm not painting, my brain shifts into thinker mode, and I start having internal conversations. But when I'm painting, it's like I enter this artist mode, where I'm in a state of quiet and perceptions.


However, today while I was painting, I noticed something amazing: sometimes, words pop into my head, like "normal," "that's it," "not that," and so on. It made me realise that even though my thinker and communicator are mostly quiet when I'm painting, they're never completely silent. They're just less active during their off-time.


One more thing I wanted to mention is how persistent my thinker can be. Once it starts pondering an idea, it goes all the way, even if I'm not particularly interested. Last night, it kept waking me up to stay updated on that unfinished reflection.


A short while ago, I had a realisation about my art: it's not just about the universal humanity shown in my figures of cubes. It's also in the objects and places I paint, like landscapes and city scenes which I use as backgrounds. I pick visuals that potentially anyone can recognize.


Do I hope my paintings can connect with everyone who looks at them, no matter where they're from? Maybe. Is it possible? I'm not sure.


30. 07. 2024

Our friends came to see us this weekend in our enchanted Estonian forest. We had much fun.


I am pondering whether there are still many things in this world that are not clear to me. For sure, I know I can't understand life, but something inside me tries it over and over again.


I know it's my thinker side, instilled in me by nature. It wants me to learn and spend time pondering. But I also have an artistic side which is a doer. It is not about thinking at all, but about testing.


When I paint, it's my artist side's time. My brain switches off, and I am at peace. Becoming physically inactive, my thinker side immediately takes over, and I find myself thinking.


I prefer my artist side because my thinker side makes me feel anxious. While when I paint, I feel like I'm meditating: both here and not here, existing and not existing. I don't feel time and anxiety. Just life, as it is. A great feeling.


28. 04. 2024

I have still pondered why art exists and wanted to share with you some of my recent reflections. Certainly, there are many reasons humanity continues with art, but most can be categorised into three main categories:


Art is a way to learn about the world.

Art is about sharing with people what you see.

Art helps to discover yourself through your emotions.


The best example of art that is about discovering the world is Impressionism. Emerging behind the technological revolution, Impressionism was an attempt to understand these new scientific discoveries through a non-verbal approach. I'm particularly drawn to Impressionist art because I am also interested in learning about the environment and how things work.


Art is about sharing with people what you see because every piece of art was created to be seen. Without a viewer, art is not art, but a mere object.


Emotions are probably the most well-known purpose attributed to art. By putting our feelings into visuals, we can see them and thus discover who we are.


When I look at a great piece of art, I always find these three purposes within it. This leads me to believe that art is our virtual instrument of survival. Just as playing helps us learn, art helps us better know our environment, others, and ourselves.


27. 04. 2024

Let me share one of my ideas about the difference between male and female artists, which I have reflected on for my whole life but have avoided putting on paper as I don't know how to express it. 


After a brief reflection, I've decided not to tackle it right now, as I still don't know how to convey it. I will probably return to this reflection later on in one of my upcoming journal entries.


25. 04. 2024

I will once again share with you some of my struggles that are probably the same for you and for many other people, even if you find yourself on the other side of coin. 


Humans exploit humans. That's just how humanity works. Such a clear and simple thing, yet it took me almost 40 years to understand.


Some make other people work hard instead of working hard themselves. Others make people buy objects, giving them money, fruits of their work, and so on. We are all either exploiters or exploited; there is no third option.


I have always been against exploitation, but it's something that I have still done, even though I long believed I didn't. This stems from the time I quit working in advertising, where I exploited humans by manipulating their psychology through ads.


I thought if I became an artist, I would instead help people to stay aware of many manipulations, but how stupid I was to think so! Because most people would never become interested in art. They simply can't because they don't have enough time for that. Only wealthy people may be drawn to art because they have to spend their extra time and money.


Switching from graphic design to art, I have still found myself exploiting. The only thing that changed is that I no longer exploit masses.


I have finally continued existing the same way, and I feel there is no way out for me, like for all other humans.


We don't have as many choices as we imagine. I would now say maybe we have no choices at all. Like meteorites, we follow the paths given to us from our very beginning.


24. 04. 2024

Spent the last day mainly rewriting the copy for my Figures series to put it on my website and portfolio. It has been years since I've been trying to explain my work in words, and it's quite a struggle. Images emerge when words fail to describe ideas. Ideas that can be shared through words don't need pictures. This is why painting and other visual arts still exist.


An image is like an archive containing a huge amount of information, which each viewer must open by themselves. Artists' statements can only spark curiosity to click on the “extract” button.


When I came to Russia last year, I enjoyed watching Russian TV because the propaganda is so amusing. They present everything they do while pretending to speak about their 'enemies.' I wonder how the propagandists manage not to laugh while presenting their crazy stuff. 


23. 04. 2024

I came to Russian St. Petersburg once more, and I wonder how calm and free I feel this time. Life in Estonia has appeased me, and I've forgotten what it was like to live under a dictatorship. Fear of saying anything wrong now seems so distant and unreal, like something that couldn't happen to anyone.


15. 04. 2024

After days and days of searching for the right colour of the pine trunk in my painting, I believe I've finally found it. It is composed of six colours that give it that nuanced glow. There is still much work to be done in sculpting its volume with shadows, but I feel like I am finally following the right path.


11. 04. 2024

A cutting pain in my eyes after painting continuously for almost 6 hours yesterday, I spent the evening rubbing my eyes. The pain finally subsided. It made me reflect on how proud I've always been of my perfect vision, considering my eyes one of my two primary working instruments. However, I haven't taken care of them as much as I should have, especially since I work extensively with images. About a year ago, I noticed a decline in my vision. At 39, my most productive period as an artist, at least in the eyes of nature, probably came to an end. It is the 'despite the' artistic period that I am going to start.


10. 04. 2024

For the last two days, I've been struggling with painting grass. I couldn't find the right colours that correspond to what I see. I ended up repainting the grass three or four times. Just now, after putting eight colours to my grass, I feel nearly satisfied with it.


I really need to stop redoing things and become more accurate right from the first layer. Otherwise, my paintings, which already take up a lot of time, will become endless.


05. 04. 2024

It's been nearly three months since I started this artist’s journal. While I was initially happy about discovering how it appeased me, I remained sceptical about sharing it online. I thought people wouldn't read my notes amidst the quantity of content available online. Only a fraction of people refrain from sharing their stuff these days. Additionally, I feared many would find my reflections boring since few are interested in painting, and because my thoughts often lean towards that “scientific” way to think about art, which does not resonate with most. I have also struggled to articulate my ideas and impressions into words.


Despite these doubts, I have to conclude that there is a very positive aspect to sharing my artist’s journal online that I hadn't considered before. Although I didn't become a star online, I connected with a few interesting people with significant experience and achievements in art, and, what is probably the most important for me, a great understanding of life. They shared with me some of their thoughts and stories, and I feel so happy and enthusiastic about that.


Initially afraid that my artist’s journal was a huge waste of time, I have to admit that it turned out to attract like-minded individuals worldwide, making me feel less isolated in the middle of this Estonian Nordic forest. Every action we do has an impact on our life that we often don't calculate at the beginning. 


I am so grateful to you that you could join me and share some parts of your life with me.


04. 04. 2024

Yesterday, I had my full day of work scheduled. Ten hours of painting and I only made progress on the pine trunk! Today, I looked at it with fresh eyes and noticed that it echoes Van Gogh's brush stroke style. As I examined my painting, I also saw touches of Sera, Vermeer, and Mozoni. For sure, I didn't consciously include these references (instead of the Mozoni one). They are probably the creations of my subconscious.


Reflecting on this, I realised that every existing painting is, in fact, a blend of other artists' works. Like human is a blend of people around them, a mirror that reflects those they interact with. Thus, every one of our creations is a reflection of many others' creations.


I have thought so much about Van Gogh in the last few months, and I ask myself, why? Probably for many reasons, including that last year I have felt like an outsider artist, which resonates with Van Gogh. After pondering this, I had an amazing realisation: Van Gogh was an artist who created drawings with colour, making him such a particular artist. Van Gogh didn't paint. I can't even say that he coloured his drawings like the Japanese artists who inspired his last period did. Instead, Van Gogh used paints to draw. Thus, his paintings are not really paintings, but drawings.


There are only three types of people: people who mostly speak about themselves, people who mostly speak aboit their ideas, and people who mostly speaks about other people. Artists are certainly people who mostly speak about themselves. 


#vangogh #vermeer #sera #mozoni #painters #paintings #arttheory


02. 04. 2024

I'm afraid of trees, really. Always willing to include trees in my paintings, even though I know how challenging it will be for me to work on them because they are one of the most difficult objects to depict. I will typically avoid working on the trees by all means possible, for example, by painting everything else in the picture. Until the moment comes when it becomes impossible to continue working on the painting without painting the trees.


That moment is now. And I have to work on a large pine tree, which occupies a significant portion of the left side of the painting. As always, the tree is giving me a hard time, and even though I know that no matter how much time and revisions it takes, I will get it to the desired state, the process itself drains and exhausts me.


01. 04. 2024

Get ready for an amazing story that happened to me recently!


A few months ago, a guy joined us for table tennis. He mentioned he's from Narva, then lived in Tallinn for a while before moving back to Narva. As we played and chatted, he seemed like a regular, friendly guy.


Can you imagine my surprise when yesterday I learned that this seemingly regular guy was a seemingly regular girl just three years ago!


What?! There was absolutely nothing about him that hinted at his past. It left me feeling a mix between amazement and jealousy.


Not an April 1st joke!


31. 03. 2024

You know that I have not been participating much in artists' competitions and open calls because my previous experience has shown me that they often lack professionalism. Recently, through a social media platform, I discovered Jackson's Art, which creates amazing storytelling videos about paints. A couple of months ago, they announced an art competition. Impressed by the quality of their videos, I decided to participate. I submitted my application and paid the relatively low entry fee of about 7 pounds. After a few months, yesterday, I received the longlist of winning artists.


As I went through it, I found some interesting work but was mostly disappointed by the selection. Some paintings seemed poorly executed or lacked meaning, and some even resembled those of countless indistinguishable Eastern students. When I stumbled upon a painting of a cat, I stopped viewing.


I thought about what I had just seen. The longlist is filled with uninspiring and unoriginal artwork. I questioned whether my judgement was objective or if it stemmed from jealousy. No, I am not jealous, as I am aware of what my painting is worth and what it is not worth.


That Jackson's Art Prize longlist confirmed my previous experience and even made me see a bit more. Art competitions are certainly less about great artists but more about making money from emerging artists.


#opencall #artcontest #Jacksonsart #Jacksonsartprize 


29. 03. 2024

In recent days, I had an amazing conversation with an artist named Sharon from the USA through social media. We talked about art and the challenges that all artists face, no matter where they live. For example, the pressure from society to address specific themes like ecology, women's art, and minority representation. I firmly agree with Sharon that this is not something to do because art is not about morality but one's expression.


Through Sharon, I gained a few insights into some of the struggles artists face in the USA. Learning that American art college tuition fees can soar up to $100k per year was eye-opening. Moreover, art students often have to pay extra for models for drawing sessions.


Still, what I got from our talk was that Sharon thinks art is made for the "bourgeoisie". After living as an artist for over 30 years, I fully agree with this idea and can only add "by the bourgeoisie."


I first heard this when I was 14 years old from my mother, who was not an artist but aware of this. As we discussed my art school plans, my mom explained that I couldn't choose painting because it wouldn't pay my bills, and she regretted not being able to support me financially. So, we decided I'd study graphic design instead, which could help me make a living. After a few years of studies, I realised she was right.


While studying at art school, I noticed that most students came from wealthy families. Only one, a friend of mine, hailed from a similarly modest background. However, her trump card was that her father worked at the Russian State Museum. And you know what? Now, she also works there.


So, yes, art is a fancy activity for privileged people. But there is no need to regret that because that's just the fact. No point in being upset about reality. Life isn't about equality but survival and adaptation. We adapt to the situations we find ourselves in and try to improve our well-being. That's all.


26. 03. 2024

Every painting is an abstraction because it simplifies what we see in real life. That simplification process is what we call abstraction. This applies to all paintings, not just the colourful and abstract ones. Even paintings that appear very realistic simplify things by omitting some details. For example, when you draw a picture of your house, you don't have to include every single brick or leaf on the trees. You just draw the important parts to show what the house looks like. So, whether a painting looks abstract or realistic, it's still an abstraction because it simplifies the world.


25. 03. 2024 

I'm painting the house walls, and it's tough. Getting the white walls to look smooth isn't simple, especially with acrylic paint. Vermeer's work inspires me. He was the best painter of white walls, using subtle colours and multiple layers to make them look real. I've already applied seven layers, but my white walls' gradient still seems uneven. How many more layers do I need to approach the perfection of Vermeer's white walls?




19. 03. 2024

Moved to Russian St. Petersburg for two days. This time of year, the city looks dirty, perhaps due to dark grey half-melted snow covered in pollution. It's dark times for Russians, trapped by crooks posing as politicians, hungry for power and blood. While they're just gangsters playing geopolitics, a cancer on the country that is at the point of killing it.


Putin got 87.28% of votes in the recent three-day elections. The number that only points out the absurdity of the situation. 


I turned on the TV. Everything is false. No true information about what's happening in the country. I looked through the window and saw there is still dark snow frozen by the night. Dark times. Only the bright and colourful sky reminds me that this, too, shall pass. Because everything does.


I have always wondered why the Internet is so full of sweet things while human life is much about struggling. I think I finally got a reply. Most people live unhappy lives. Spreading and consuming positivity is like a compensatory mechanism to balance the sadness of one's outer life. The more unhappy we are, the more we are searching for happiness. And the Internet gives it to us, or an imitation.


Personally, I feel good about life. I am happy with my work and the people around me. My life seems to be well-balanced. That's probably why I am not as interested in seeking solace through the Internet. Instead, I have a kind of nauseating reaction to funny cats, dogs, and kids which fill the Internet. I am a lucky guy because I have a cool life. That's what needed to be written.


I met my mother's friend, and the encounter left me with a sombre feeling. There's a palpable melancholy about her, likely stemming from having to endure life under a dictatorship. Despite her outward appearance of wellness, she carries a heavy sadness and sense of isolation. Losing her husband to the coronavirus two years ago only compounded her grief. Now, all she desires is to travel, yet the current restrictions make it nearly impossible to leave Russia. 


She has always been opposed to Putin and his regime, but she finds herself resigned to living under their rule. Hasn't she fought against them enough? I don't know. It seems there's no answer to this question.


I walked through the city and stopped by a signboard of a previously well-known, but recently forgotten amusement park. Pleasant memories flooded my mind as I recalled going there with my late mom when I was 16.


After completing my A-level studies, I took exams to get into one of St. Petersburg's top art schools. Unfortunately, I didn't get in because all available spots were taken by kids whose parents bribed the professors. Corruption seemed to be everywhere.


That was the first time I truly witnessed injustice, or rather, turning 16 gave me the opportunity to contemplate it deeply. It made me see the world differently, realising that cheaters take it all! I came to understand that many of the values I had been taught, such as justice, honesty, and liberty, turned out to be lies.


Feeling disillusioned, I didn't know what to do in the year leading up to the next exams, so I mostly stayed home alone, avoiding people whom I deemed harmful.


During this time, my mom suggested we visit an amusement park. And so, we found ourselves at that very park.


It was deserted, with only my mom and me, enjoying the rides together. Despite her initial fear, we shared laughter and had an amazing time. It was a unique moment where I felt happy, loved, and safe.


Thank you, mom, for that unforgettable day at the park. Your gesture helped me feel better and more confident about people, changing the negative dynamics I was experiencing.


I love you dearly and still cry when thinking about you, wishing you could come back. Time hasn't healed the pain of losing someone so dear. That's another lie people told me when I lost you. I can't express how much I want you to take my hand and lead me anywhere, showing me once more that I am not alone.


17. 03. 2024

You can't be an artist if you live in a small city. That's what I'm realising now as I involuntarily left a big city and settled near a smaller one.


Having been born and lived in a bustling big city for most of my life, I never considered how challenging it is to be an artist if you were born and still reside in a small city far from metropolises. To sustain oneself as an artist, you need to sell your work, and selling art is only viable in places with a developed art infrastructure. Small cities can't foster such infrastructure due to insufficient interest and buying power. This scarcity of artists in small cities is a norm, with few exceptions.


If you're born in a small city and aspire to pursue art professionally, you have to relocate to a big city with a thriving art scene. There's no other way to establish yourself as an artist.


This is something that people born in big cities overlook—an advantage they've probably never noticed, as I myself have, I suppose.


15. 03. 2024

I am currently thinking about how things shouldn't be overcomplicated. While I am myself an analyzer and theorizer, I realise that most things cannot be understood by people. So, our analyses are a waste of time.


I am still alive, meaning that I am successful at living, regardless of the reason. I experience things, and the things I don't experience have no need to be theorised. They should be left as they are.


14. 03. 2024

On Wednesday, yesterday, was a full work day for me. I had the opportunity to work for 10 hours, which I ultimately used. But in all that time painting, I only finished the sky and did a bit on the pine tree, which still needs a lot of work. The painting takes much longer than I thought. I am always surprised how much time and effort making a piece of art really takes.


12. 03. 2024

A day or two ago, I finished the first layer of a painting featuring a figure of cubes and a house. Now that I can see the whole picture, I've started applying the true colours. I mean, some of the colours I used for the first layer were intentionally fictive, serving as a base to create glowing or occulting optical effects. For example, for the pine trunk that is orange, I applied the grey-blue colour first to create an occulting effect, toning down the vibrancy of the orange.


The juxtaposition of layers is one of my favourite techniques for creating captivating colours. I use it almost all the time. It's amazing to work with and even more amazing to look at.




08. 02. 2024

Yesterday, I didn't do much painting. In the morning, I worked on some art theory ideas. Later, I got a headache due to pressure changes, which I still have. However, today I began my day by focusing on painting to progress the picture. 


I mainly experimented with mixing paints to find the best way to represent the shadowy face of the figure of cubes. I want this blue shadow to glow realistically, so I utilised a technique I love: applying two layers of colours, with the first one very bright followed by a lower hue. This creates a luminous effect as the first layer shines through the second, resulting in a dynamic painting.


It took me a while to find the right colour for the first layer, as I struggled to create a bright blue pigment. After experimenting, I narrowed it down to two choices: cobalt and sky blue. Ultimately, sky blue proved to be the perfect fit.


I also took the opportunity to reorganise my paint pots, which I mix myself using the colours I employ in my paintings. I grouped all the cool greys together, unexpectedly creating a large grey pot. I still have many different small pots with hot greys that I want to consolidate as well. However, I currently lack a large enough pot for them.


From this reorganisation, I realised that I don't need to buy any greys because I generate enough grey by combining leftover paint after completing a painting.


#paintingprocess #paintingtechnique


07. 03. 2024

As usual, I was working on a painting yesterday. While applying a grey-blue shadow layer to the figure of cubes, I noticed an interesting effect. A similar grey-blue, which I previously used on the tree trunk near the figure, shifted to grey-purple. The colour changed its hue simply because I placed a bluer colour near it! 


Upon reflection, it became evident to me that colours are initially only vaguely defined. I mean, when I put a red colour on canvas, what exactly is that red? The same goes for blue, green, yellow, and other colours. Every time I add or change a colour on my painting, it affects all other colours because the relationship between elements is itself a factor that changes the appearance. We painters all know that well.


Even after applying all the colours and thus establishing the relationship between them, the hues continue to shift due to changing lighting, never remaining fully defined.


This phenomenon prompted me to think about vibrations. It's as if we're not truly seeing a colour but rather sensing its vibration. When I apply red, its hue may waver from red-orange to red-yellow, or from red-blue to red-purple, no matter. This depends on the colour possibilities and the situation.


It's kind of like what physicists teach us about elements in the universe. No element is something defined, but rather a cloud of possibilities until someone measures them. Like physicists, when I, an artist, observe a colour on a painting, I don't see that exact colour but only perceive one of its potential states.


#yodarttheory #arttheory #arttheorist #colortheory #artlearning #paintinglearning


06. 03. 2023

Reading Arnold Shedberg's correspondence with Kandinsky, I am struck by how many of Arnold's thoughts resonate with my own, especially concerning "isms," pacifism, communism, and most of all, the idea that all ideas are false. Here is a particularly impressive letter to Kandinsky translated into English by chat GPT.


“May 4, 1923.

Dear Kandinsky,

I address you thus, since you write that my letter has shaken you. When I wrote to Kandinsky, I hoped for this, although I did not convey a hundredth part of what Kandinsky's imagination should have grasped in order for him to become my Kandinsky! Because, for example, I did not even mention that when I walk down the street and every passerby peers at my face to determine whether I am Jewish or Christian, I cannot explain to each one here that I am precisely the one for whom Kandinsky and a few others make an exception, and Hitler does not share their opinion. And even this good opinion of me would be of little use if I could even write it on a plaque like blind beggars and attach it to my chest for everyone to read. Isn't it time for Kandinsky to finally reflect on all this? Doesn't he have an obligation to guess what actually happened when I had to interrupt my first summer of work in five years, leave the place where I sought peace for work, and where I was no longer able to find that peace? And all because Germans do not want to tolerate a Jew! Is Kandinsky entitled to have the same opinion as others, rather than with me? Is he entitled to share at least one thought with those PEOPLE who are capable of depriving me of the peace necessary for work? Can he share even one thought with them? And furthermore: can such a thought be true? Here's what I mean: even geometry cannot be common to Kandinsky with them! Is this his place, or does he have nothing to do with me!


I ask: why do they say that Jews are like Jewish speculators? Do they say that Aryans are just as vile as their elements? Why do they measure Aryans by the standards of Goethe, Schopenhauer, etc.? Why don't they say that Jews are like Mahler, Altenberg, Schoenberg, and many others? 


Why are you a politician if you have humanity within you? If a politician is not obliged to consider people and is only obliged to think about the goals of his party? 


A Jew with a bump on his nose demonstrates, you see, not only his own guilt, but also the guilt of all other people who have a bump on their nose. But when 100 Aryan criminals gather together, you can only read from their noses about their penchant for alcohol—otherwise, they are undoubtedly honest and respectable people. 


And you participate in all this and "reject me because I am a Jew." Did I offer myself to you? Or do you think that a person like me will allow himself to be rejected so easily? Do you really think that a person who knows his worth will let others criticise even his most insignificant qualities? And who could exercise such a right? And how would such a person be better off? Yes, anyone can criticise me behind my back, there is plenty of room for that. But if I hear it, then let him defend himself—until I forgive him. 


And if I am offended, how can Kandinsky approve of it; how can he participate in a policy that aims to make it possible for me to be expelled from my natural field of activity; how can he not fight against such a worldview, the goal of which is Bartholomew's Night, in the darkness of which no one will be able to read the infamous plaque on which it is written that I am the exception? 


In the corresponding case, if only I could speak, I would confess the worldview, the consequence of which would be Kandinsky's safe existence—completely independent of what political or economic value this worldview would have otherwise represented. Because I would then hold such an opinion: only the worldview that forces the world to look correctly at two or three Kandinskys, which this world is capable of producing over a whole century—only that worldview is suitable for me. I would leave the pogroms to others. 


In case I could not oppose them! You will say: if the consequences of the anti-Semitic movement affected me, then this is a sad individual case. But why then do they see a bad Jew not as a sad individual case, but as a typical case? 


In the narrowest circle of my fellow students immediately after the war, it turned out that almost all Aryans were not in the war and hid in their corners. On the contrary, almost all Jews were in the war and were wounded. What about individual cases here? But this is not an individual case, but specifically—there is nothing accidental here. Everything is quite deliberate: after I, as is customary in this country, was neglected, I still have to take a roundabout way through politics. Everything is natural: people for whom my music and thoughts were inconvenient could only be glad that now there is an opportunity to get rid of me for a while. You yourself know that artistic success is indifferent to me. But I won't let myself be offended!


What do I have in common with communism? I'm not a communist and never have been! What do I have in common with Zionist sages? To me, it's like a tale from "One Thousand and One Nights," but just the title, which doesn't promise anything as likely as a fairy tale. 


Maybe I've heard something about Zionist sages? Or do you think that my discoveries, my knowledge, and skills owe something to Jewish patronage? Or that Einstein owes his discoveries to the orders of Zionist sages? 


I don't understand this. None of this stands up to serious scrutiny. And haven't you, during the years of war, had a chance to see how much the official authorities lie, how all they do is lie? How they close off the perspective of truth before our minds, directed at the essence of the matter, for eternity? Did you not know this, or have you forgotten?


And have you also forgotten that a particular mindset can cause terrible disasters? Don't you know that while there was peace, everyone was horrified by the derailment of a train, which killed only four people, whereas during the war, one could speak of hundreds of thousands dead without the slightest attempt to imagine all the suffering, pain, fear, and all the consequences of this? There were even people who rejoiced at the possibility of a higher number of deaths on the enemy's side: the more, the better! I am not a pacifist: opposing war is as futile as opposing death. Both are inevitable, depending only minimally on us, and both are part of the methods of renewing humanity devised not by us, but by higher powers. Similarly, the restructuring of the social structure currently taking place is not the fault of any individual. All this is written in the heavens and happens out of necessity. Citizenship was too perfectly tuned, incapable of struggle, and now from the depths of humanity, pitiful but strong elements are rising, which will give birth to a new middle class capable of existence. The present one buys itself a wonderful book on cheap paper and dies of hunger. All this had to happen—can one not notice that?


And now you want to stop all this. And you declare Jews responsible for everything? I don't understand this!


Are all Jews communists? You know as well as I do that this is not the case. I am not a communist because I know that things that would be desirable to share among everyone will not be enough even for a tenth of humanity. The same things that are always abundant (misfortune, illness, meanness, incompetence, etc.), are divided as they are. Then because I know subjective happiness does not depend on owning property—it is a subjective predisposition that you either have or don't. And thirdly, because the earth is a vale of tears, not an entertainment establishment, so that everyone would be equally well—it does not correspond to the intention of the Creator or any deeper meaning.


Today it is enough to present any nonsense in scientific-journalistic jargon, and the most reasonable people take it for revelation. Zionist sages—it's natural: that's the name of today's films, scientific works, operettas, cabarets, in short, everything that spiritually moves this earth in our days.


Jewish merchants are busy with their business. But when they become inconvenient for competitors, they are attacked, not as merchants, but as Jews. In what capacity should they defend themselves in such a case?


However, I am convinced that they defend themselves only as merchants, and as Jews only superficially. This means that their Aryan opponents, when attacking them, defend themselves just the same, although they use somewhat different words and somewhat different (more appealing???) forms of hypocrisy, and that for Jews, the point is not to defeat their Christian competitors, but to defeat all competitors in general!—and that Aryans are just as eager to end any competition, and that between them and others, any kind of alliance leading to the goal is possible, as well as any enmity. Today it's race; tomorrow—I don't know what. And Kandinsky is involved in all of this?


American major banks supplied communism with money and didn't refute this fact. And do you know why? Mr. Ford knows they can't refute it, perhaps then something much more unpleasant for them will be revealed. Because if it were true, it would have long been proven false. 




Trotsky and Lenin shed torrents of blood (which, by the way, could not have been avoided in any revolution in world history!) to realise their—of course, false—theory (with its good intentions, which were inherent in the theories of most others who carried out previous revolutions, the bringers of world happiness). All this deserves condemnation and punishment because those who undertake such things have no right to be wrong! But will people become better and happier if now, with the same fanaticism and shedding of the same torrents of blood, they undertake to realise other, even opposite but no more true theories (for they are all false, and only our faith from case to case gives them the appearance of truth sufficient to deceive us)? 


But what will anti-Semitism lead to if not to violence? Is it really so difficult to imagine? Perhaps it is enough for you that Jews will be deprived of all rights. Then, of course, Einstein, Mahler, and I, and many others will be abolished. But one thing is certain: the more resilient elements, thanks to whose resistance Judaism has lasted for 20 centuries, resisting all humanity, will not allow themselves to be eradicated. For it is obvious that they are so arranged, and therefore they can fulfil what their God commanded them—remain in exile, without mixing and without breaking internally until the hour of redemption comes! 


Anti-Semites are ultimately also world improvers, no different in greater insight or depth of perception from communists. Utopians are good people, businessmen are vile. 


I have to finish because my eyes hurt from typing on the typewriter. I had to interrupt for several days, and now I see that morally and practically I made a very big mistake: I argued! I defended myself! 


I forgot that it's not about right and wrong, not about truth and untruth, not about knowledge and blindness—it's about power, and therefore it seems that everyone is so blind—in hatred no less than in love. 


I forgot that polemics are meaningless because I won't be heard—there is no will to understand the other, and there is only one will—not to hear what the other says. 


If you wish, read what I have written, but I strongly ask you not to send me polemical responses. Do not make the same mistake I did. I'm trying to prevent it, so I'm telling you: I won't understand you; I won't be able to understand you. Perhaps just a few days ago, I still hoped to make some impression on you with my arguments. Today I no longer believe in it and perceive it almost as a humiliation that I defended myself. 


I wanted to reply to you to show that even in his new guise, Kandinsky has not disappeared for me and that I have not lost my former respect for him. If you were to convey my regards to my old friend Kandinsky, I would entrust you with the warmest of them, but I would definitely add the following: We haven't seen each other for a long time; who knows if we will ever see each other again; but if it ever happened, it would be sad if we remained blind to each other. So, convey my warmest regards.”


I just wanted to clarify that I am not Jewish, and I'm not as touched by this text simply because it speaks about my own, as often happens.


#Schoenberg #Kandinsky #communism #fascism #Jewish #Jews #israel #existentialism


05. 03. 2024

I am thinking about my idea of 'the perfect picture.' That is like 'the perfect life' idea, meaning some crucial things like work and rest, communication and isolation, happiness and grief, and so on, are in the perfect balance. But I suppose that 'the perfect life' as 'the perfect picture' doesn't exist, as they are just unattainable ideals.


As an artist, every time I work on a new picture, I hope to finish it as 'the perfect picture,' and every time I lose. That dissatisfaction makes me create a new picture over and over again, spending my life creating pictures. 


Similarly, as a person, I am perpetually dissatisfied with the balance of elements that shape my life, such as too much work and not enough free time; too much solitude and too little communication with friends; and so on. Thus, I spend my life counterbalancing these elements in the illusory hope of achieving 'the perfect life'.


#theperfectpicture #life #lifephilosophy


04. 03. 2024

Advancing through Schopenhauer's 'Metaphysics of Sexual Love' makes me think about how many ideas about humanity people have generated: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, various philosophies, psychologies, even my own idea on humanity, and infinitely more. These ideas seem to offer a wide range of perspectives on life, but in reality, they are quite similar being just mixes of one another.


Yet, what truly disturbs me is that they are all false. Because no human is able to fully understand the world being just a primitive survival machine capable of capturing and calculating only a tiny part of the world.


Deep down, we know this. That's why we constantly try to piece together our understandings, hoping to see the bigger picture on our life. But the bigger picture we are only able to see looks like an image from a kaleidoscope—an intricate tapestry of coloured shards.


#Schopenhauer #Judaism #Christianity #Islam #philosophy #psychology


I am taking my daily walk along the seaside. The sea has turned back into water from ice, and it smells salty. Spring seems to be arriving early in Estonia this year. But I'm not happy about it. Because I don't want to lose the snow, which I love so much. I like it for many reasons, but chiefly for the silence it brings. A sort of silence that, I believe, draws us closer to that profound essence of our lives, which is about nothing.


#Estonia #NarvaJoesuu #snow #spring #existentialism


03. 03. 2024

It's been half a month since I started working on the painting, and although I've been putting in many hours every day, progress is slow. The size, 1, 3X1,5M , presents challenges as larger formats require more intricate details.


Nevertheless, I feel confident about this painting. It might be the first time I haven't experienced anxiety while painting. After 30 years of studying and making pictures, I finally feel able to create something truly pictorial. That's amusing.


#paintingprocess #learnpainting


29. 02. 2024

I had a kind of nightmare last night. I spoke to Navalny, a Russian government opponent recently killed, explaining to him that Russians will not attack Estonia with tanks or soldiers this spring or autumn. Instead, they would carry out their usual hybrid operation, sending hundreds of FSB agents (old KGB) to provoke local residents, charged by Russian TV propaganda for about 20 years now, to hold a referendum. This would aim to separate the Narva region from Estonia or attach it to Russia. In three days, the task is realised, and a part of Estonia is proclaimed independent or simply Russian. Then, Russia would start terrorising locals, and the fear would install step by step. 


I woke up and understood that I am still under pressure that I can't manage.


28. 02. 2024

I got interested in philosophy over the last few years and began reading some philosophers. But the more I read, the more I am asking myself, what is the interest of philosophy? 


Philosophy is so abstract as it mainly speaks about unverifiable ideas. Have a look at metaphysics that is totally out of what may be tested, thus known. Philosophers tell their ideas, which certainly are very interesting to understand, but in the end, they are just fictions about life.


Thinking about the purpose of philosophy, I came to understand that it is all about giving some particular people, like myself, some particular ways of thinking. So we could spend our abundant psychic energy. 


I mean, there are people who need to permanently think about other people, there are people who need to think about themselves, and there are people who need to think about abstractions. And for those last types of people, philosophy exists, even though they are relatively few in number.


However, this low number of people is compensated by big money, because some rich have a similar kind of brain organisation and support philosophy. The same goes for art.


It's becoming more and more clear to me in such a world of illusions people live. People believe in morality while everything is only about resources. The only way we still do not kill one another on an everyday basis is because of the risk of being closed in a cage. 


We cheat, crouch, and groom, without any hesitation. Because we want more and more resources. While all our discussions are about honesty, justice, and fraternity. 


I blame morality because it's a fraud. I want people to stop defrauding themselves and look at who they are—funny creatures of nature programmed to survive. Nothing more. Nothing special. Nothing inherently good.


#philosophy #philosophers


27. 02. 2024

Before moving from France to Russia at the end of 2016, we were torn between staying in Ukrainian Kyiv or Russian St. Petesburg. Finally, opting for St. Petersburg because it seemed simpler.


Now, I am thinking about how we might have experienced the Ukrainian war in 2022 if we had chosen Kyiv—enduring rocket bombings, air raids, seeking shelter in basements or bathrooms.


Living with constant fear, worrying about our family and friends, witnessing people's suffering. We could have been in Bucha and just been killed.


We hadn't gone through any of this because in 2016 we moved to St. Petersburg instead of Kiev. But Ukrainians haven't had that choice. 


I'm writing these words now because a few days ago, on February 24th, marked two years since Russia attacked Ukraine. And I want to say that I stand with Ukraine.


#ukrainewar #ukraine #russia #StandWithUkraine #UkraineWar #NoWar #SolidarityWithUkraine #PeaceForUkraine


24. 02. 2024

Yesterday was a physically exhausting day for me. I woke up at 8 AM and took my usual walk by the bay of Narva. The sea was calm and inviting. 


Then, I painted until 3 PM, had a two-hour table tennis training session, and visited the SPA. I got home at 9:30 PM, feeling very tired. 


Today, the plan is to rest and paint.


Conflicts are so human. Because we're competitive beings who constantly fight for resources. That's why instead of discussing ideas, we often turn to who's smarter, more supported, or sympathetic.


Recently, I had a discussion on a social network. It started from existentialism but quickly turned into 'Just look at how smart I am, much smarter than you are.'


Uninterested, I ended the discussion, reflecting on how I too had been 'I am smarter than you' just a few years ago. That was before I learned some stuff about how brain functions, realising 'I am smarter than you' is just a survival strategy programmed into our brain.


Since I don't need to survive, now I may abandon this 'I am smarter than you' program and simply laugh at it.


22. 02. 2024

What a slow and physically demanding process painting can be! 


Yesterday was my scheduled full working day, and I spent it applying paint to the canvas, which was quite exhausting. I even dozed off yesterday afternoon for about half an hour. By the time I finished my work at 7:00 PM, I was completely drained.


When the alarm clock went off at the usual 9:00 AM today, I could barely force myself out of bed. After a considerable effort and a cup of coffee, I managed to make it to the studio. Upon looking at the painting, I was shocked to see how little progress I had actually made despite working diligently throughout the entire day.




#paintingprocess #artprocess #painting #contemporarypainting 


21. 02. 2024

Just finished reading the book 'Existentialism is Humanism' by Jean-Paul Sartre. It's an interesting text that explores the philosophy of relativity. Even though my own artistic work mainly expresses absolute philosophy, I find relativity just as compelling.


I suppose these two philosophies present opposing viewpoints on the world: The absolute philosophy says we live in one shared world with the same patterns, while the relativity philosophy suggests there are many worlds as each person sees their own reality. That reminds me of classical physics vs quantum physics.


Personally, I don't find either of these philosophies wrong. Because I believe that the world is just made up of contradictions. I suppose that idea might seem counterintuitive to you because our physical experience tells us that two contradictory things don't happen at the same time. But when we look at facts about the Universe, it seems to be true. For example, the Universe is absolute with the same patterns, but every point in it is its centre. Seems contradictory but true.


So, I really took much pleasure in reading Sartre's book. I must also say that the book was truly easy to read compared to most philosophers I’ve read. There was even no need to read it twice, like I always do with philosophy books. A process that taught me Schopenhauer.


I also mostly agree with Sartre's philosophy, except maybe the idea of free will. But it is another big question that I want to discuss further in one of my next texts.


#philosophy #jeanpaulsartre #sartre #existentialism #humanism #universe


20. 02. 2024

Yesterday, I nearly finished putting the drawing with a rose line. It took me longer than I had imagined, like applying the creamy white layer to conceal the charcoal line. Instead of one semi-transparent layer I thought to put, I needed to apply three layers before achieving the desired result.


Painting, like most other goals we set for ourselves, often takes much longer paths to reach than we first imagined. The paths we could never share with others. Because to understand a path means to experience it. And no one can experience a path of another one because our paths are all unique.


#paintingprocess #artprocess #existencialism


19. 02. 2024

I am finishing reading a book about School of London artists by a very famous UK publisher, and it makes me think. There is a very low number of 'perfect pictures' created in the world. By 'the perfect picture,' I mean an image that achieves a “perfect” balance between opposites like straight and curved lines, fullness and emptiness, vividness and paleness, and so on. "Perfect" for a human for sure. It's akin to how a perfect plate should contain a good proportion of sweetness, saltiness, and fats.


I noticed only two painters in the book who created these kinds of pictures: Lucian Freud and one of my favourite artists, Francis Bacon. Other painters in the book produced visually appealing, high-quality, and psychologically charged images, but they don't fit the criteria of 'the perfect picture' because they don't achieve the perfect balance of opposites. Their paintings seem unfinished to me or perhaps too narrowly focused.


I am pondering: Does a picture need to be 'the perfect picture' to be considered among the best images created by people? I don't have an answer yet, but I'm continuing to think about it and will update you on the development of this idea.


#perfectpicture #schooloflondon #lucianfreud #francisbacon


18. 02. 2024

Let me share some of my fears with you, stemming from the escalating political situation in the region.


Two days ago, I learned that one of the bravest men on this planet and the main political opponent of the Russian government, Alexey Navalny, was killed in a Russian prison.


Yesterday, I learned that Russia plans to attack Europe starting from Estonia in April-May 2024. Various sources, including the Estonian government, have reported Russian forces concentrating near Estonia's borders.


Living near the Estonian-Russian border, I've long been aware of Russia's intentions to attack Estonia. Russian propaganda has targeted Estonia in recent years. That's why I've already made the decision to leave Estonia in June 2024. The news of a potential Russian attack in April-May is deeply distressing.


I am asking myself, would I have enough time to leave Estonia? Would I need to abandon all of my stuff here, including half of my paintings and art materials?


The sun is shining, making for wonderful times outside. I've returned to my work on painting and feel good. Painting is therapeutic, or maybe just therapeutic for me. I feel such pleasure while painting.


I've sketched the drawing with charcoal on the canvas, and then covered it with the first semi-transparent layer of acrylic. It's a slightly creamy white, mixed with Titanium white and a pinch of Ochre light, to hide the charcoal lines and give the painting this hot shining effect.


Next I'm going to make a new drawing with a pink line that will remain visible in the finished painting.


#humanity #painting #paintingprocess


17. 02. 2024

I am at the beginning of a new painting and reflecting on how making pictures involves a highly optimised production process. Many people think that paintings happen quickly. But typically they don’t. The development of paintings is often a slow process that follows a specific path. The more an artist refines what we call their visual style, the more they optimise their process, making it smoother, more accurate, and thus quicker. Just like with any other production, making pictures requires much optimization to be successful.


#paintingprocess #picturesmaking #picturescrafting #artprocess


16. 02. 2024

I'm really happy to start my first painting in this series, with figures of cubes and houses in the background. I've missed working with tangible materials like pencils and canvas, which provide a physical sensation that brings me immense pleasure. Moreover, finally beginning these paintings, which I had planned to start much earlier, brings a sense of relief, easing the tension that had built within me.


The quite large canvas, 130X150CM, was tricky to put on the frame. But with J.'s help, we managed it.


Currently, I'm testing a new way to transfer the digital sketch onto the canvas. I've made two key improvements: First, I don't print sketches anymore. Instead, I copy the drawing from my laptop screen directly onto the paper. Second, I'm using fewer A4 papers for sketches. I put multiple drawings on one sheet using colour pencils to distinguish them. So now, I only need 4 A4 papers instead of the previous 28 papers. Even though it's a bit tricky to transfer the drawing, split into 8 parts, onto the canvas, this new approach saves me a lot of paper.


For the moment, I am happy with these changes that seem to make sense, making the process much quicker.


An interesting detail I noticed and want to share with you: the colour pencil sketch, where 8 drawings are split on one paper, take on a quite pictorial look, reminding me of a kind of geometric abstraction. So amazing!


#paintingdeveloppment #paintingprocess


15. 02. 2024

I've finished reading Van Gogh's letters, all of which I could find. It's about 1500 pages of text. So now I can share with you my impressions of the man and his story found in these letters. 


Van Gogh was not the crazy genius the world imagines him to be. He was a very smart man, with a good sense of commerce (likely due to his early work as an art dealer), who knew what he wanted and what he didn't. He deliberately prioritised the development of his artistic vision over sales, fully aware of the challenges in selling such innovative work.


Van Gogh's cleverness is clear to me in how he promptly found an art dealer and sponsor, his brother Theo, who supported his work financially and sought collectors. Thus, Van Gogh could focus on his art without worrying about money, using Theo's—who worked at Goupil and Cie, a powerful art dealership of the time— connections to his advantage, for example, in collaborating with other great artists of his time.


Moreover, Van Gogh was very sociable and paid close attention to details. These qualities helped him create paintings that feel very human and are well-crafted, which is important to last in art history.


However, Van Gogh's struggles, as revealed through his letters, left a heavy impression on me. As an artist, I experienced a sense of melancholy upon discovering his artistic path, which is, I know, shared by many artists. The tragic end of his story, when he took his own life just before gaining fame, only intensified this feeling.


#vangogh #vangoghletters #vincent #vincentvangogh


14. 02. 2024

The sky's colours are stunning this time of year in Estonia, thanks to the Northern Lights. Yesterday, I saw an amazing sight: a broad green stripe near the horizon—fluorescent yellow mixed with a touch of cobalt. It was framed by a purple-grey sky, making the green incredibly vivid, impossible to replicate on canvas. I couldn't take my eyes off the sky.


I continue to think about art, which, for me, is all about communication. Pictures are a non-verbal language spoken by a small group of people who struggle to communicate with words, like myself.


Pictures help us express our feelings and thoughts in a non-linear and non-narrative way, unlike verbal language. When I experience something, it's not like walking along a path, but more like being surrounded by many different elements all at once. When I try to share my inner world with you using words, I have to translate this place into a linear path, which is not a simple task.


Imagine my thoughts are like a forest inside me, and I want to share it with you. Using words, I have to choose a specific path to guide you through, offering just a glimpse of what's in my forest.


But with pictures, I don't need to create a path because I can show you the entire forest at once. So, the language of pictures is in some kind of a better way to express the complex feelings and thoughts inside us than verbal language.


However, both verbal and picture languages are not about the world but only about what we're focused on in this world. Like any verbal language is because there are no languages that have words for everything that exists. Any language has only words for the things people pay attention to.


Comparing two languages, such as French and English, you'll notice that French speakers and English speakers perceive the world differently. French see things that are not noticed by English speakers and vice versa.


For example, the French term "dépayser" doesn't have a direct equivalent in English, possibly because English speakers don't often think about that concept. "Dépayser" conveys the feeling of being out of place or disoriented in a new environment. 


This example demonstrates how any language, including picture language, only reflects what we feel or think and doesn't capture the world.


Thus, when we listen to a person or look at pictures created by a person, we only perceive what a person is focused on. And this is what interests us. What other people are focused on.


#northernlights #sky #artist #art #language #artiscommunication


13. 02. 2024

While working on the digital sketches yesterday, I suddenly realised I can't develop the whole series without considering how they'd look on a real 130X150CM canvas, which I planned for four paintings. So, I decided to create one painting first and then return to the digital sketches.


I retrieved the disassembled subframe from the mezzanine and assembled it. All that's left is to attach the canvas, but I found out I didn't have the required stapler, so I'll need to buy one first.


Feeling squeezed, perhaps due to the isolation of being in this remote forest in Estonia, I reflect on art and the artist's journey. I remember when I was 15, I once travelled to Siberia where I discovered isolated wooden houses amidst snow-covered landscapes. I aspired to live in such a place when I became an adult, creating paintings to sell in a city.


Today, I find myself in a similar place, though I'm staying in a flat in a small settlement, not an isolated house. But it's not what I imagined when I was young. I feel lost and abandoned.


Perhaps it's because I didn't choose to be here initially, fleeing from war and a dictatorial state. There's no way to showcase my paintings. I gave up exhibiting in totalitarian Russia, and here, in Estonia, there's no art market. I also lack connections to art enthusiasts from other countries, failing to connect with them even through social networks. Social networks have become highly compartmentalised, showing my posts only to disinterested locals. My previous followers are blocked due to the war, rendering my online presence futile.


I feel lonely, and I question why I continue to make pictures. I've always considered art as a language, a way to communicate with people. Making pictures when there are no people around me who speak the language of pictures feels like speaking to a wall in front of me. It drives me crazy. How long may this continue? I don't know. But I feel more desperate every single day.


#artistslife #artistsjourney #artway


12. 02. 2024

I really dislike what I've been writing in my artist’s journal lately, physically dislike it. And I know why. I've stumbled upon yet another internal conflict that my subconscious was hiding from me. This conflict revolves around the fact that my perception of myself contradicts how I actually appear. I see myself as a typical white person, whereas I am of mixed race.


Seeing this internal conflict now, I understand why I avoid looking at myself in the mirror and taking photos of myself. Because I might have to see myself as I am, not as I've imagined myself since childhood, confusing my appearance with those around me.


I think my subconscious was right, as usual. There are things about ourselves that we humans shouldn't know. Now that I've come across this inner conflict between two opposite self images, I have no idea how to resolve it.


I want to stop thinking about it and get back to action, like creating pictures. I've been thinking too much about myself lately.


#psychology #identity #artist


11. 02. 2024

The further I progress in writing this journal, the less I appreciate myself. Because there are things we should never know about ourselves, and writing makes them visible. Writing reveals who we are, not who we imagine to be.


10. 02. 2024

I envy those who can easily articulate their thoughts. For me, it has always been a kind of torture. When I try to translate what I think into words, it usually ends up as something incomprehensible, to the point where no one would bother reading it.


Reflecting on why this happens to me, I see two types of people who are good at expressing their thoughts: those with simple ideas that are easy to explain, and those who are so smart that they can translate complex ideas into simple ones.


Regrettably, I don't fit into any of these types of people. That means I may never be able to share my ideas with others. All that's left is to accept this truth, no matter how bitter it is.


09. 02. 2024

Yesterday, I worked on my digital sketches for the series of paintings featuring figures of cubes against townhouse backdrops. I made progress on the third sketch, using my recently repainted watercolour sketch as a reference.


I placed the watercolour in the background and then superimposed a figure of cubes I'd drawn in ink onto the foreground to introduce the figure of cubes to the scene. Then I digitally increased the contrast of the watercolour because this medium inherently has a low contrast, and that wouldn't translate well to acrylic.


Next, I compared the three digital sketches I've developed so far and noticed that the lack of self-shadow on the figure of cubes is genuinely concerning. It makes the figure look artificial, even though you could say the same about the human representation, which is entirely constructed from cubes.


Therefore, I returned to 3D graphics to address the self-shadow issue. This proved challenging due to the complexity of 3D programs, but I believe I've made some progress.


Today, I plan to experiment with different types of self-shadows on the figure of cubes and see how they affect the overall impression.


Just finished our daily walk with J. The weather outside is breathtaking. The amount of sunlight reflecting off the snow creates so much brightness that I even donned sunglasses.


We reached the river, finally frozen over. It's a chilly -10°C outside. To think, in France at this time of year, the trees are starting to bloom!


The ice on the river appeared to me to be around a metre thick, thick enough to walk on! J. was so happy about this prospect, like a child. He joyfully navigated the surface, while I was fascinated by his "southern person" attitude of finding such joy in something so ordinary like river ice. 


To me, a northerner by birth, it seemed rather commonplace. I playfully teased him about his southern delight, realising my own "northern snobbishness" might be deeply ingrained!


Reflecting on the differences between northerners and southerners has led me to ponder how much we are all shaped by the place we grew up. But the more I thought about this, the more I thought we are also shaped by the people we grew up with.


My own story is a great illustration of that. For more than 30 years, I believed I was a typical Caucasian. When a few years ago, AI identified me as Asian, I first didn't believe it. My conviction to be just a simple white was very profound. Only after much reflection, I realised that AI was right. This revelation made me wonder how I could be wrong for so long.


I remembered how I grew up. It was just me and my mum. I never knew my dad, and my mum hardly ever talked about him. People around me were white Europeans, so I saw myself as them.


Another story appeared in my mind. We lived in Thailand when Y. was a baby. Once, we travelled to Poland for a week because of my job there, and we noticed something strange about Y.'s behaviour. She seemed scared of white people. That was not logical because she's white too.


When we were leaving Poland, at the airport, Y. perceived an Asian man for the first time in a week. To everyone's surprise, she ran to him and held his hand. It was like she was finally reassured.


Could Y. have identified herself as Asian because she lived among Asians? I think so.


The mine and Y.’s stories demonstrate that we see ourselves through people around us. Even if I have always felt that others see me like a stranger, I only supposed it was because of my personality traits.


Anyway, I still can't switch to seeing myself as a mixed person instead of just an ordinary white northerner. I suppose I will always remain the image of all those people I grew up with.


07. 02. 2024

Why do we need people who create pictures, like artists? Every human sees billions of pictures every time their eyes are open. These pictures are also artificially created by their own brain—we now know it thanks to discoveries made by psychologists and neuroscientists—which doesn't show us the world but recreates pictures of the world for us. If we see so many of our own pictures, why do we want to see more pictures created by artists?


Perhaps we want to see the world in different images than those our brain creates for us. It's just a game. When we look at pictures created by artists, it's like playing with ourselves.


Or maybe pictures created by artists are more detailed than those created by our brains. So, these pictures contain more information about the world and help us learn more about it. But for what? To be more aware of reality and better prepared to survive in case of a disaster? 


Maybe we like looking at artists’ pictures because we are perpetually searching for something perfect? I mean perfect to us, humans, for sure. A perfect picture for us has a perfect balance between several different things like vivid and nuanced colours, highly detailed and empty surfaces, straight lines and curves, and so on. 


A perfect picture is like a representation of a perfect human life where several things are balanced, like work and free time, communication and privacy, reflection and action, and so on. 


Maybe when we look at a perfect picture, a perfectly balanced picture, we like to look at our perfect life where everything is perfectly balanced.


All artists are driven by their need for fame, and the best way to achieve lasting fame is to be remembered in art history. Even though I think it's a silly notion because when you are dead, you don't need to survive. Being famous is merely a survival strategy, nothing more. But well, it's one of these numerous funny human paradoxes.


To remain in art history, an artist should create perfect pictures, but not only that. There are a few other conditions that must be met.


An artist should provide information about themselves as a person, because most people are only able to connect to humans. I mean, anonymous artists have no chance of staying in art history because people can't connect to them. 


To illustrate this idea, I invite you to look at anonymous artists of the Renaissance, for example. Their pictures were perfect, but they didn't remain in art history.


An artist's flaws, such as drunkenness or other personal quirks, must be known because people better connect to individuals who are like them rather than different from them.


To endure in art history, an artist needs to possess profound knowledge about the world that they articulate. People need to learn, and we learn better from other people. Yes, we are still somewhat primitive monkeys.


Only by respecting these conditions can an artist hope to remain in art history, fulfilling their deepest and most meaningless desire ever.


#pictures #paintings #art #artists #artreflections #fame #arthistory


06. 02. 2024

I've been continuing to work on sketches for the painting series depicting figures of cubes against backdrops with houses. Yesterday, I re-drew one of the watercolour sketches I made last summer in France, which I need so much to achieve a digital sketch I am working on.


The watercolour sketch doesn't satisfy me in terms of drawing and colours. Additionally, there was a large pine tree in this scene that I struggled to depict, as I hadn't drawn pine trees before. Now, after creating several ink drawings of pine trees a few days ago, I feel more confident in portraying them.


However, I still needed four attempts to achieve the right watercolour sketch! 


My first attempt was poor in both drawing and colours, so I quickly abandoned it. In the second, I tried a new technique I'm considering for my paintings, using a rose separative line between colours.


I came up with this technique about two years ago and tried it making landscape drawings with coloured pencils and acrylics on paper. The separative rose line technique turned out to be fantastic! It gives landscapes a very modern look, adding to the picture truly colourful and solid. I'm surprised no one has thought to use it yet.


The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, who found out how to create the most vivid pictures possible, used a separating black line that makes colours look brighter. My rose separative line also helps colours look more vivid, but it does so more delicately.


The second attempt to remake the watercolour sketch was messed up almost immediately, with the very first line. I inclined too much the roof’s line using a rose acrylic marker that can’t be erased once put on paper. So I made another watercolour sketch on the back. 


The rose line was wonderful, and I realised that I truly need to use it in my paintings. However, other colours turned out to be inaccurate. So I made a third watercolour, which was not good enough in terms of colours and drawing either. Only the fourth attempt finally turned out almost good.


In the fourth watercolour, I also increased the tonal contrast, telling myself that Van Gogh was right. Painters need to increase the contrast compared to what we see. This makes pictures look richer.


The only thing I don't like about the fourth watercolour is the colour of the shadow side of the house. I tried to fix it with acrylics, but this trick didn't work out well. 


Now I am thinking whether to use the fourth watercolour as it is for the digital sketch or whether I should redo it. The drawing and most of the colours are great, but this ruined shadow wall irritates me. Although I know it probably won't interfere with the digital sketch.


#watercolour #painting #sketches #paintingprocess #impressionists #postimpressionists #vangogh


04. 02. 2024

This morning, my mind is filled with thoughts about procrastination, which, I believe, it's not a form of laziness, as many people think, but a manifestation of fear.


I had plans to complete 10-12 paintings in a medium format before moving to France this summer. However, the progress is slow. Not only because I have to carry out a lot of preparatory work, including watercolour, ink, and digital sketches, but also due to my procrastination.


Developing paintings is a very challenging task, and I am afraid that I am not good enough to bring to life the images I see in my head. I am scared that the accomplished paintings won't please me and will become only a huge waste of time. 


To avoid moving forward in this unknown terrain, I prefer to escape by doing something simpler, like writing, cleaning my flat, reading, or anything else that could convince me that I am doing necessary things and not procrastinating.


But deep down, I know that I am just procrastinating, and this has to be changed immediately by the only possible path—starting to work on my paintings.


#procrastination #artist


03. 02. 2024

For many, social media is about fun, but for artists, it often involves unpaid work.


Selling pictures is a challenge. This is why artists go to great lengths in the hope of eventually making a living from their art.


When social networks, owned by big tech companies, promise us connections and exposure in exchange for our images, we tend to believe them. However, after posting our artworks, we realise that no one sees them.


It turns out that art often doesn't reach people on social media, and I see several reasons for that, including:


- Limited reach: Social networks want us to pay for ads, hiding free content.

- Bad format: Physical pictures, like paintings, lose impact on small phone screens.

- Short attention spans: People scroll for quick enjoyment, not for the complex ideas often offered by artists.


We share our pictures, but ultimately, our work doesn't get much attention despite the promises of high-tech companies. Once this happens, the high-tech companies tell us it's because our images are not good enough (a classic manipulation often used by sects.)


We engage in learning and working more, but we still find that we are not good enough for social networks, as our pictures still don't attract people's attention.


While caught in this cycle, we may lose sight that participating in social networking may only lead artists to losses. For example, I've noticed that algorithms struggle to recognize art. They think it's art when they notice a single visual style. So, to show the algorithms that you post artwork, you need to share images in the same visual style.


However, for artists, sticking to one visual style is like professional death, as art is all about exploration, risk-taking, and a human response to the changing world. Making images in the same visual style only shows that an artist doesn't explore, take risks, and doesn't respond to the world, meaning they are not an artist.


Many artists, including myself, confess that creating social media content is just boring. We become artists because we are amazed by making images. But instead of creating pictures, we run for attracting an audience. We spend our time making uninteresting things that give us no satisfaction.


Yet, avoiding social media for an artist isn't a good choice either. Without social media representation, artists have a slim chance of being noticed by other professionals. Art institutions also strive to grow their online audience and favour artists with many followers that they hope to share.


So, artists find themselves creating more free pictures than ever. Free images attract people, and people mean social networks can sell ads to them, thus making money that goes to big tech companies.


#artists #art #socialmedia #socialnetworks #techcompanies #unpaidwork


02. 02. 2024

I received a message from the artist, @steoville, who made the image remarkably similar to my picture about social media. While I initially suspected plagiarism, the artist kindly demonstrated that they created their image in 2018, confirming a shared idea rather than any copyright infringement. As is often the case in the realm of creativity, independent minds can arrive at similar concepts.


I truly appreciate @steoville's clarification, which shed light on the situation. It's fantastic how artists can be so supportive of one another!


However, I haven't received any message from the page, @thewhitecube. This reinforces some of the thoughts I shared in my previous journal entry about.


#artists #artistssupport #artistscommunity 


01. 02. 2024

Back in Estonia for less than a day, I already feel like a different person than the one who wandered around St. Petersburg. The environment has completely transformed my personality. 


I know that the concept of a "solid" personality is a mental illusion. So, I enjoy noticing how many different "me"s exist within me, emerging as reactions to various situations the world throws my way. 


The more I observe, the clearer it becomes: I am just a collection of reactions, a survival machine adapting to the environment. I am both many and nobody.




31. 01. 2024

Could I have been killed by a drone explosion last night?


I was woken up at around 4 am by a massive explosion. Everything was shaking, including the buildings and me. I looked out the window. It was yellow outside. A completely yellow glow, as if a yellow filter had been applied to the scene.


I tried to feel if my building was about to collapse after the explosion. The building seemed to be stable. I rushed to the window to see if there was another building that was collapsing. Thankfully, there wasn't. I watched out the window. The cityscape had stopped shaking and seemed calm. City workers were carrying on with their business as if nothing had happened. "Okay," I said to myself, and went back to sleep.


During the day, a friend of mine sent me non-official information that St. Petersburg's air defence shot down a combat drone entering the city from my South district tonight. Fortunately, there were no casualties.


I am wondering if I really could have been killed tonight, but I suppose I'll never know for sure. Dictatorships, like the current regime in Russia, don't provide the public with information about what is really happening. For the night's explosion, the Russian government only said that there was a "loud clap" in the city tonight. Really?!"


I am on a bus leaving St. Petersburg. The high-rise buildings outside the window have already been replaced by rural ones, which means I am getting closer to my small, quiet Estonia, which I have come to love so much. The fear that hangs in the air of totalitarian St. Petersburg, and has permeated me through and through, begins to dissipate. With every kilometre away from St. Petersburg, I feel calmer.


I am leaving Russia with a heavy heart. I think about what will happen to all those people who remain in the city. Mass repressions, when people are indiscriminately imprisoned, have not yet begun, but they could happen at any moment. There are constant explosions in the city. People are intimidated. 


Russia invaded Ukraine, and I support the Ukrainians, but I know that many Russians are against this aggression, which was imposed on them by their totalitarian government. For me, these people are also victims of war, although they are unlikely to ever be considered victims by anyone.


I am writing these lines in the hope that readers will think of these Russians as victims, at least once. Because these people were just unlucky enough to be born and live in an authoritarian-totalitarian era, which each of them tried to resist as best they could.


#war #ukrainewar #dictatorship #autocracy #artist #stpetersburg #russia


30. 01. 2024

I'm in St. Petersburg, Russia, finding how strangely calm a dictatorship can seem from the inside. On the surface, everything here looks perfectly fine, if you forgo that it isn't.


I spoke to my flat owner. The conversation seemed normal. But I know that it's a false front. People who live in dictatorships are wary of saying anything, so you don't have to listen to what they say, but rather observe their body language.


When I mentioned the "war", my landlord's face changed. Her eyes got big, and her body tensed up.


I understand why. The Russian government doesn't want people to realise that they're waging war on their neighbours. So they've been trying to prohibit the word "war" from being used.


Using the word "war" instead of the government's invented term "svo" could get you eight years in jail. It's like a dark joke, but it's true.


My landlord was so frightened that, I believe, she didn't realise that I deliberately used the word "war". From the start of the war in Ukraine, I made the decision not to play the "I'm scared" game that the Russian government tries to force people into. Because I refuse to be scared.


28. 01. 2024

I woke up at 5am to the sound of loud voices inside my head. My mind had improvised a theatrical play for me, with two faceless actors discussing my failure as an artist. I couldn't escape, so I had to listen.


One voice berated me for not living up to the expectations that were placed on me as a child prodigy. It kept reminding me that I had been drawing since I was a baby, that I had chosen to pursue art professionally at the age of 13, that I had passed the exams for one of the two best art schools in my metropolis, and that I had graduated with an A-level at only 15.


The voice continued, "People had high hopes for him as an artist and supported him, but he is already 39, and he is still not. He failed the people who believed in him and himself."


A second voice timidly interjected, "But he has achieved things: his paintings are widely exhibited, they're sold, and he has won many awards."


The first voice shot back, "That's not enough! Art still doesn't pay his bills. He doesn't have a powerful gallery machine behind him. He is flitting between countries, which prevents him from building a solid art business."


It added, "He is just not good enough to be among the best artists. He is not talented enough. He will never be a great artist. Because he wasn't risky enough, sociable enough, or smart enough."


I suddenly felt that he was right. I am a "not good enough" person. This revelation hurt me so much that I tried to beg my brain to stop tormenting me and make silence so I could continue sleeping. But the voices kept repeating the same thing over and over again.


Only after about an hour did my mind finally take pity on me and I fell asleep.


Waking up two hours later, the daylight was starting to creep into the room. The theatrical piece in my head had stopped. I felt a little better. 


27. 01. 2024

On the bus, I am heading to a table tennis competition in Aseri, a small Estonian village. I have been playing table tennis since I was 25 yo and I still enjoy it immensely.


Table tennis helps me to get some necessary physical exercise, but also to learn about myself. For example, I have learned that I love to tackle difficult things well (even though I don't always succeed with them). I am a risk-taker in short distances, but a coward in longer distances. I freeze up when I am scared. And many other interesting things. It's amazing how much we can learn about ourselves through sports.


When the table tennis competition is over in two days, I will return to Estonian Narva. After a short night's rest, another bus transports me to Russian Saint Petersburg, which is only 2.5 hours from Narva. I will stay in St. Petersburg for two days on business.


Honestly, I am not happy to return to Russia. After its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the country has been teetering on the brink of autocracy and dictatorship. And those two are not really my cup of tea.


You, who have lived in a democracy, may imagine that it is nobody's cup of tea. However, I have recently discovered that there are many people who are happy to live in autocracies, and even dictatorships, for various reasons.


Some people are happy to see their smarter competitors eliminated. Some are happy to live in a dream carefully crafted for them by propaganda where they are like smart, kind, and strong. Some people are happy to take advantage of the darker side of their nature, like in the famous experiment at the Stanford prison where the professor transformed his students into persecutors. I see so many options… 


Anyway, personally, I feel much better in democracies and republics, like Estonia, not because they are so different, but because there is less violence. That's the only thing that really matters to me.


#sport #tabletennis #politics #democracy #republic #autocracy #dictatorship


26. 01. 2024

The only way for an artist to guard against plagiarism is to be famous or rich. Those of us who aren't, like myself, are destined to see our pictures and ideas stolen. It has happened to me several times before, and today, there's a new case.


While scrolling through Instagram, I paused on an image shared on @the.whitecube 's page (https://www.instagram.com/the.whitecube?igsh=MWN2bnkwbnkyZWFraw==) by an artist named @steoville. The picture showcased a classical painting where the artist used black squares to hide the nude parts, highlighting the censorship of nudity on social networks.


I immediately recognized my idea that I turned into an image about three years ago and shared on Instagram and Facebook. The only difference is that I used a Hieronymus Bosch painting.


How do I feel about that? Very frustrated.


I work hard every single day on creating pictures. I know that I will probably never make much money from my work. I keep doing it because I like to create impressive and meaningful images and then share them with others. And when I find out that my pictures benefit others, it saddens me, because I feel liked it is unjust.


However, after a short period of disappointment, I tell myself that there is no need to be sad. Because I have known for a long time that the idea of a fair world where everyone gets what they deserve is an illusion. The strong exploit the weak and reap the fruits of their labor. It has always been like this, and it probably always will be. At least as long as our world exists. This is the law of life, and I accept it.


Here is the link to my image: https://shorturl.at/chuGL


#plagiarism #artplagiarism


25. 01. 2024

I've just finished my third ink drawing study of a pine tree. 


Placing it next to the first two drawings, I can confidently say it's much better. There are more accurate details that faithfully capture the patterns of pines.


While drawing, I noticed these patterns:


1. Trunk Tilt: The trunk leans to the left because there are more branches on that side.


2. Right Side Balance: Despite the leftward lean, the right side has thicker branches that offer a counterbalance.


3. Branch Thickness Hierarchy: The widest part of the tree is the trunk, followed by the right branches, with the left branches being the narrowest. 


4. Branch Proportions: The stoutest right branch is about two-thirds the width of the trunk. Thinner branches relate to thicker ones in approximately the same proportion


5. Branch Shapes: Smaller branches are sharp and pointed, while larger branches are curved.


6. Projections: Branches and leaves have many different projections.


7. Facing Branches: Some branches face outwards. Notably, these "face branches" differ at the top and bottom of the tree. Those at the top reveal the branches on their bottom, while those at the bottom don't show many branches, which are situated in the middle of the foliage, hidden by its density.


8. Branch Shadowing: Bottom branches are often darker underneath due to their own shadow, while top branches are darker on top from the shadow cast by the denser foliage above.


9. Trunk Coloration: The lower part of the trunk is green, transitioning to orange at the top.


10. Camouflage Pattern: The green-to-orange shift on the trunk creates a subtle camouflage effect.


11. Trunk Texture: The greener section of the trunk has a rougher texture, as if covered in long wrinkles.


12. Amazing Detail: The center of the tree looks like a tied knot.


So, happy with my pine drawing, but next time I'll trim some fussy bits.. I want to focus on capturing the essence of the pine tree, just like Van Gogh, Sezanne, and other painters did.


Days spent studying pine, I am feeling confident now. Ready to draw another one in my watercolour sketch.


If that goes well, I can finally jump back to digital sketches and move forward on developing my new painting series with houses and figures made of cubes.


#drawing #drawingtechniques #drawingtree


24. 01. 2024

The writing of this journal makes me feel better. There's definitely something therapeutic about writing. It helps all these thoughts that turn inside me in loops find a way out and free me.


Writing is also probably a way to better see who we are. But this isn't entirely a good thing. While writing these notes, I noticed that I rarely talk about people. 


I've consciously known I'm not a social creature for over a year, and probably unconsciously for my whole life. But seeing with my own eyes that I'm mostly interested in processes or my own impressions is quite something.


This uninterest towards people feels like my missing chromosome, a flaw that's always made me feel different. I can't connect to others like most humans do, create relationships through constant grooming, or take a place in the social hierarchy. I can only be an observer who gazes at humanity like it's another species, as if I'm a hedgehog living near monkeys. I can see their actions, but I would never fully understand their meaning.


That's probably one of the main reasons I don't put people in my pictures. I only include a kind of collective image of humanity that comes from constantly observing.


The image, I know, people who are able to see beyond this appealing Minecraft-like picture, would probably hate. Because it makes them look at this unflattering side of themselves, which they avoid so hard facing for their whole life.


You may notice, "you wrote above that you are a hedgehog who might never understand monkeys. So, can your image of monkeys show them something different from how hedgehogs imagine monkeys?” I would answer that, "Seeing a pine tree is simpler than you're not that pine tree."


I'm now starting to understand that painting is always about exaggeration. Because we constantly try to see the world better than it is. We are dreamers, dreaming all life long.


23. 01. 2024

Today I started the third drawing of the pine tree that I see through my window. The first two drawings don't satisfy me. I am still struggling with leaves and some other details. But I am progressing at understanding pine patterns, and hope soon to be able to return to my watercolour sketch with a pine to move forward on my painting series with houses and figures composed of cubes.


22. 01. 2024

My demons still whisper in my ear from inside my skull. One coos about my kindness, another trumpets my greatness, others preen with tales of my brains, bravery, and justice.


I listen, of course, but their voices are honeyed lies. I'm not kind, not brave, not brilliant. I'm just a puppet dancing to the strings of circumstances, a creature clawing for survival, however ugly the means.


These demons in my head, they're just echoes of my own mind, a chorus singing survival anthems to keep the animal within me alive. My brain, a tireless computer calculating things endlessly. And me, I am doomed to listen to its clicks for half my days. A veritable torture.


I'm a chimp who swallowed a calculator that ticks and whirs inside me. And let's be honest, aren't we all a bit like this?


Nothing so special, nothing so serious. Just monkeys with calculators, tapping our way through life.


There is a big pine tree outside my window, staring at me as if laughing. It whispers, "You'll never be able to draw me, because your vaunted brain isn't even capable of calculating such a complex thing as I am. You are a loser. You'll never succeed in this painting with another pine tree. You'll never paint this series with cubic figures and their homes. Just accept it and do more easy things than painting, the things you are able to do.”


Many people think that drawing is simply about copying what they see, but that's only a small part of the truth. Drawing is more about understanding the world through its patterns.


When I draw a tree, I discover that its trunk is inclined because there are more branches on one side, that it's thicker closer to the ground. I notice different projections of leaves, and so on. This knowledge helps me create a more truthful drawing of that tree.


Copying that tree, detail for detail, is doomed to fail because there are billions of tiny elements in it that we simply cannot capture and accurately put on a sheet of paper.


21. 01. 2024

Right now, I'm immersed in reading Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. There are 668 pieces in total, and they're quite something. The stories about Van Gogh's life are captivating. 


I believe anyone who appreciates art should give these letters a read because they add a certain mental volume to art that may not be perceived only by looking at pictures.


Van Gogh's letters highlight how much hard work and challenges, such as health issues, financial struggles, and the loneliness of not being understood, artists often face while creating good pictures—ones that most people would never even be able to distinguish from bad ones. 


Van Gogh’s life also makes me think that artists who create original and well-achieved pictures rarely receive rewards for their work in the form of money, fame, or social status, unlike artists, or even just people, who create ordinary things. It's another sad truth about great people's lives that goes against the common belief that those who create unique and excellent things are rich, high-status, or famous.


While I am writing these words about Van Gogh and other great people, I am conscious that I am writing about myself. Something in me still wants to believe that I am a great artist, as if someone is whispering in my ear from inside my skull that I am also great. And then another voice tells me that this was only my demon who tempts me with illusions.


#Vangogh #Vangoghsletters


20. 01. 2024

Today I drew a pine tree with ink on white paper. The technique of inversion that I used to draw a pine tree the day before remained too difficult. So, I tried using a classic approach.


The result is even worse than using the inversion technique. I'm not satisfied with it at all. However, I discovered some important details about pine trees.


The tree's trunk leans towards the side that has more branches, and there's often a side with fewer branches.


Pine trees are old and young at the same time—that's probably the discovery that excited me the most—because newly protruding branches are yellow-orange, while old branches and parts of the trunk are grey. This contrast between hot orange and cold grey is very interesting. 


While drawing a branch in the middle of the tree, you need to draw three projections of the branch: profile, 3/4, and face. This will make the drawing look more realistic.


I think I'll retry the drawing with ink, focusing more on these elements, but maybe with a different isograph. My 1. 0 Rotring isograph that I used for the first time performed very poorly. The ink didn't flow well from it, meaning that one-third of the time, the line I put down was without ink and only scratched the paper. I had to draw many other lines before the ink started flowing out of the tool again. This was annoying and frustrating because I couldn't control the strokes, and therefore, couldn't control the drawing.


For the next drawing, I'll test my Rotring 0.7 isograph. I hope it performs better for this kind of work.


#drawing #inkdrawing #drawingtechniques #inktechnics


19. 01. 2024

It's a heavy snowfall outside. Snowflakes are quite large and falling enough quickly to highlight the picture window like a white canvas, where it's difficult to distinguish the outlines of objects.


I woke up tired today. Yesterday's pine tree drawing probably took me more energy than I thought. Creating art is a very energy-consuming act, as most artists know. For others, drawing may often remain a pleasurable pastime, labelled as "rest" and not work.


How many things, all the things, must we experience to truly understand them. Yet, how little time we have for such exploration, leaving us teetering on the edge of grasping almost nothing about this very life.


I am reflecting about myself. For many years I had been thinking that being an artist is a privilege, something special, as if you'd been given the chance to be born talented instead of the many others born "just ordinary." It's like I pulled a one-in-a-billion lucky lottery ticket. Today I see that I was only born with these rare parameters, like someone with an extra or missing chromosome. 


Nature always creates rare variations in case the world changes dramatically. I am here, just in case. My life feels like a vain wait for a disaster, when I might become useful. But probably never. And I need to constantly keep myself occupied with something, and in my case, it's picture-making. Just because I do it better than anything else.


"Rare parameter" creatures like me, we have a one-in-a-billion chance of becoming famous and loved by people, thanks to the rare stuff we create. But we also have a 999,999-to-1 chance of remaining "just in case," an unused cog in the machine, doomed to produce unuseful things and live by what is generously given to us by others.


18. 01. 2024

I went to the spa yesterday and lost three hours of work time. Determined to catch up, I tried to complete the two drawings I'd planned. However, despite hard work, I only managed to finish one and a quarter pieces.


As I suspected, the spa visit disrupted my work schedule, and I fell short of my goals.


The good news is that I finally made my first drawing of Estonia, and it turned out even better than I'd imagined. While I'm not entirely happy with some elements, like the trees (I'm still struggling with those!), I think the overall impression is quite good.


The drawing features a wooden house in the foreground surrounded by several pine trees. These are some of my favourite trees, but also the most difficult for me to draw. I'm still having trouble with their foliage and the colour of their trunks. I need to find a solution quickly if I want to progress with my watercolour sketch, which also features a pine tree that takes up a third of the composition.


I think I'll start by looking at how Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Chinese painters tackled pine trees. Then I'll do a few studies of my own pine tree using white pen on black paper (inversion aids shape comprehension.) Only then will I return to my watercolour sketch, which will advance my series of paintings with cubic figures and houses.


Today's the rare day when I'm home alone for several hours. J. moved to Tallinn for three days, and the flat's become wonderfully silent. I love listening to this 'ringing silence'—I can't recall who coined the term, though. It was only disturbed for about an hour by a vacuum cleaner that goes about its business every day—a curious artist in its own right, wouldn't you say?


I spent the whole day drawing a pine tree. Seven hours of work and two-thirds of a white gel pen later, the drawing is finished, but it still doesn't satisfy me. That's the reality of the artist's life: pouring hours, days, and years into something that's more likely to end up in the bin than on the wall.


Despite the urge to toss it right now, I'll keep the drawing to track my progress, even if it feels like a failure. It's important to approach it with fresh eyes later. Pieces that seem awful right after completion often reveal their merits later, and vice versa.


17. 01. 2024.

Wednesday brings a full workday for me. I aim to create a watercolour to refine my digital sketches for a series of paintings I'm currently working on. Additionally, I plan to draw the landscape outside my window using white pen on black paper, as the frigid -10°C temperature makes outdoor sketching impossible.


Being in Estonia is a wonderful experience, and I would regret not capturing Estonia's beauty in my artwork. Over a year has passed, yet I haven't drawn a single thing, despite the stunning landscapes revealed during my daily walks.


An invitation has arrived for me to spend three hours at a spa—Estonia is renowned for its delightful Nordic spas. My month-long subscription is ending soon, and a spa visit might be a tempting option. However, it would likely encroach upon my full workday and disrupt my drawing plans. This has happened to me far too often.


I need to make progress on my paintings and adhere to my scheduled work time. Only by doing so do I have a chance to complete ten paintings in four months and also create a dozen drawings of Estonia.


But then, a question arises: can I truly call my artistic pursuits "work"? Here in Estonia, I have no exhibitions, no income from my artwork. This brings my activities back to the realm of a hobby.


The "hobby" label sticks in my head, eroding my motivation. "Spa, or anywhere really," I tell myself, "since I have no actual work, just a hobby."


Yet, I know I will regret not painting. Procrastination and an inability to say "no" to temptation will gnaw at me, diminishing my self-esteem and professional integrity as an artist. My drawing technique still requires refinement, and I'm not seizing this chance to be surrounded by nature, create multiple drawings, and progress in landscaping—crucial for my upcoming paintings.


In these moments, I feel trapped, weak, and indecisive. A failure in the making, I fear my weaknesses will forever hold me back from achieving true artistic greatness.


16. 01. 2024

I just found out that Ello, a social network for artists, shut down a few months ago. I wasn't using Ello a lot, but the news made me think about how things work in the world.


Ello was a well-made platform with a strong community of dedicated artists. It tried to run it without making a lot of money, unlike most popular social networks. Ello didn't have ads or promoted posts, which was great for artists but probably a financial problem for the owners. Maybe because of this, Ello stopped working one day, showing that you can't survive without making money.


Ello's story showed me that it's not enough to create great things if you want them to keep going. The economy is important. If you don't pay attention to the business side, you're going to fail! Just like many great artists throughout history have failed because they didn't know how to manage the business side of their art. It's crazy to think about how many great works of art we've never seen because of this.


On the other hand, there are a lot of artists who focus more on business than on their art. That's why there's so much mediocre art around today.


Focusing too much on business means you don't have enough time to develop your artistic skills. It also often leads to making the same kind of art over and over again, which gets boring quickly.


So, I think the business side is important for everything, including art. But finding the right balance between making art and being business-minded is tricky. It can lead to either art that never finds viewers or buyers, or to art that is too low-skilled and repetitive.


#socialnetworks #ello #ellosocialnetwork


16. 01. 2024

It's 10 o'clock. Time to get to work on my paintings. About a week ago, I decided to plan out my work schedule, hoping to boost my progress and improve my organization.


In a typical week, I have six working days. Saturday's my day off, the only one when the whole family's free, so we spend it together. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays are my most productive days. I've calculated I have ten hours to work on those, so I call them "full-working days." Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are "half-working days" with only three or four hours available.


The plan's still rough around the edges, but it's already cleared my head about work organization. Even though the same question keeps turning in my brain, "What for?". I've been staying in Estonia for a bit more than a year now, a country I deeply appreciate, especially for its stunning Nordic nature. But Estonia's too small for a robust art community or market. Making art here feels like, as the French say, "pissing in a cello."


Art is a form of communication. If it's not shared, it becomes just a collection of molecules sharing space. Like anything in this world, it becomes nothing without a conscious mind to observe and give it meaning.


Creating art in a place where art barely exists is tough. But the possibility of moving to London next year fuels my painting, driving me to finish my series with cubic figures and houses. I don't want to arrive in London empty-handed, and finding a studio space there worries me—it's an overcrowded and expensive city.


So, back to work! Hopefully, this new schedule will tame the chaos in my work process and bring some much-needed stability, allowing me to create about 10 paintings before I leave Estonia in four months, in July.


#artschedule #timeschedule


15. 01. 2024

It took me a few hours to find the perfect bush, an element crucial to the middle ground I sought for my painting series. The middle ground separates the white figure made of cubes in the foreground from the white houses in the background.


I'm talking to you about the series of paintings with cubic figures and their houses that I'm currently working on. Sometimes, the sheer length of artistic research like this surprises me, especially when I consider if viewers will even notice the bush!


So, I wanted a bush typical of French gardens, as I made sketches for this series in the French town of Niort. I envisioned it with cold green leaves and dense foliage to cast contrasting hard shadows, highlighting the white cubes of the figure through the stark contrast between light and dark.


I also desired a variable top contour for the bush, allowing me to adapt it to different backgrounds in future paintings. My requirements proved challenging to meet. Perhaps research would be easier if I were in France now, exploring directly instead of relying on the internet.


Regardless, I scoured online images. Google kept pushing Estonian websites, offering little information on French gardens. It's a curious thing—we often think of the internet as global, but research platforms and social media track our location, restricting us to content from our immediate area.


I employed various tricks to immerse myself in the French online space, like VPNs and fake locations, but they yielded little success in easing my research.

Finally, I turned to BARD, a Google AI language model I find helpful at times. BARD's solution worked magic today. I found my ideal bush: the Laurus Nobilis. It seems to tick all the boxes. A quick digital sketch suggests it's a perfect fit, but only transferring it to canvas will tell for sure.


The next step? Taking my digital sketch and turning it into a living, breathing painting on canvas. The most exciting and, at the same time, the most daunting step of all.


#sketch #sketches #paintingprocess


15. 01. 2024

I am having my first daily coffee. I love coffee. I have always loved coffee so much that it is probably my favorite drug. Coffee has something special. It is bitter and unpleasant, but every new sip gives me the desire to drink more. Life is like that. Every disappointment gives the desire to survive.


I am writing to you while I should be working. I had planned to start painting a new series of paintings in September 2023. Today is January 2024 and I still haven't started painting. It's true that I have been sketching all this time, but I think the real reason I haven't started painting is my fear of it. I find the task of painting landscapes with gardens too difficult. I'm still not very confident in my ability to paint nature.


I also have problems with the cubic figure I plan to bring to the foreground. I wanted it to be white, like the houses, to create a link between people and their homes. However, while I was making computer sketches, I realized that the white figure blends in with the white houses in the background. The composition also lost its focal point.


A few days ago, I came up with a solution of integrating a kind of green bush behind the cubic figure. However, I am still looking for the best type of bush to use.


Even though the feeling of fear to suppose is present, I am moving forward, even if it is much slower than I had originally imagined for the series.


I am working on overcoming my fear of painting landscapes, but I suppose that the human fear of nature is indestructible. 


14. 01. 2024

I am 39 years old and feel like everything is too late for me. Writing is too late, my new artistic path in London is too late, developing my art technique is too late. And what for?


These days, artists become famous young because there are people who can make a lot of money from a young artist and half as much money from an artist of 39 years old.


We all love what is young and new. We love freshness and innocence, not old and sad. We are attracted by the energy of life, like by young trees, not by half-lifed trees.


A sad reminder to myself that I am like one of these trees in the forest that will keep living like all the other trees in the forest. And that will die one day, while the forest would not even notice.


14. 01. 2024

For me, writing is one of the most difficult tasks. I have always struggled to accurately express my thoughts in words. In desperation, I decided to try my hand at writing and start to put my thoughts down on paper. Because there are far too many things that need to be shared that, I feel, are dying inside me.