Best Gift for a Ukrainian woman

If you’re married to a Ukrainian woman and her birthday or your anniversary is coming up you’re probably searching for unique gift ideas she will appreciate. I’m going to let you in on some facts about Ukrainians. We fiercely love our families and we’re very proud of our Ukrainian heritage. The above are the reasons why my fellow Ukrainians choose my family tree art as special gifts for their loved ones. I’m incredibly honored by this, and I always do my best creating something truly unique for each family. I make sure to personalize each one of my paintings to fit the story my clients want me to depict. Each family painting is a joint effort between myself and my clients. They supply me with the information about their family and I bring their vision to life.

Ukrainian symbols

Since I’m a Ukrainian myself it makes it somewhat easier for me to come up with certain details that represent Ukraine and Ukrainian heritage. I utilize a lot of symbols traditionally associated with Ukraine. Among them are poppy flowers, sunflowers, wicker fences, embroidered blouses and traditional Ukrainian flower headdresses. Of course, there are also other ways to reference someone’s Ukrainian roots. In the case of this particular family tree I did it quite literally.  I wrote the names of the towns in Ukraine my client’s parents were from on the roots of the tree.  Hence Ukrainian Roots!

Details that make the artwork personal

Because poppy flowers are a very popular subject when it comes to Ukraine and Ukrainian art I decided to make my client’s family tree into a ‘poppy tree’. I set the tree against the yellow and blue background to represent my home-country’s flag. As with every family tree I create I try to tell a personal story with my artwork. My client is a very creative imaginative person and I wanted her personality to shine through my work. I guess the best way to describe the style I used for this painting would be magical realism. Or whimsical realism… My mind is still not made up as to which term sounds better!

To go with magical theme I made the tree branches curl. In the sky I painted both the moon and the sun. That idea I actually ‘stole’ from one of Frida Kahlo’s paintings. Kahlo happens to be one of my favorite artist’s and coincidentally one of my client’s favorite artists. Another reason why I chose to have a ‘poppy tree’ was because my client had a painting with poppies in her living room.  I knew she was going to hang my painting in her living room as well. So I decided that poppies will nicely ‘tie’ both artworks together.

Speaking of her living room, I also used several objects she had in it in the painting. One of them was a striped antique chair, another was an elephant statue. She had both as part of her living room decor. In one of my client’s photos I saw a red umbrella which I added to the painting as well. I like using similar shapes throughout my family tree paintings. Another round object in the illustration is a frame with a black peacock in it. My client told me that her mother liked to paint and her favorite bird was a black peacock.

Since my client is a yoga teacher I depicted her standing in a yoga pose. Her son loves basketball, so I painted him in a middle of a throw wearing his favorite team’s jersey. Her niece loves fairy wings, so I painted her looking like a fairy. Even my client’s cat made an appearance. I painted him in the corner of the painting playing bongos. Playing bongos is something my client is in the process of learning.

“Ukrainian touches”

In the painting my client is wearing a yoga outfit with a top she actually designed herself. While I decided not to put her in a traditional Ukrainian outfit I still gave her a Ukrainian headdress made out of poppies.  I chose poppies because they kind of became the theme for the painting….  Poppies are very popular in Ukraine, but so are the sunflowers. Thus I decided to paint a vase with sunflowers on one side of the painting and sunflowers over a wicker fence on the other.  Wicker fences are very common in Ukrainian villages.

In the background I depicted Soyuzivka, a Ukrainian resort in New York State. My client’s parents met there and she spent her summers there as well. Soyuzivka is a nostalgic place for my client and I wanted to make sure it was in the picture. I even managed to find an old photo of what it looked like at the time her parents were young.

Needless to say, my client was very touched by all the personal touches in the painting. Pun intended. 🙂