I live in South West England. Snow it is a luxury here. Last time I saw it very shortly, only once, a year ago. Having been grown up in Russia, snow is one of the things that I miss here. Even though there is probably no snow this Christmas again, I have decided to design White Christmas myself with my little students. Here you are the tutorial on how to make giant 3D snowflakes with very little materials. I make my snowflakes of ordinary A4 white sheets of office paper, but you feel free to experiment with colour and glitter paper. I imagine silver snowflakes would look gorgeous.
Here it is what you need:
• 6 sheets of A4 office paper
• sticky tape
Fold each sheet of paper diagonally and cut off the rectangular edge that sticks out. You will end up with a square folded into a triangle.
Then fold the triangle again in half.
Now it is where the scissors come to action. Measure trice and cut once. So make sure you cut the right side of the triangle. Find the side of single folded crease and double folded crease. Take about 1 inch from the long side of the triangle and start cutting through the SINGLE FOLDED crease along that side. Cut almost all the way up to the double folded crease, but not quite. Keep about the same distance of 1inch between each cut. I do 5 cuts in total.
Now unfold the triangle. Roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Fix the tube with a small piece of tape.
Flip the whole thing to the other side. Take the next to paper lines and pull them up on the opposite side of the first tube. Fix them with tape again. Repeat the same action flipping the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite sides until all of them have been joined together.
When the piece is ready repeat all the steps with the other 5 sheets of paper.
After you have prepared all six pieces, staple them all together at the top like in the photos below.
The snowflake is almost done. Now you just need to staple together every pair of arms and it is ready!
I’ve decided to get really challenging and give a very difficult task to my little art students. The task was to draw with both right and left hands simultaneously.
This task is great for exercising both sides of your brain. First I demonstrated this myself on the board in front of my audience. I presented it as my superpower and immediately grabbed their attention.
Then my superpower was magically passed onto my little artists. You can see it for yourself how proficient they have become at drawing with two hands at the same time.
• Tape. If you need to keep the paper in place tape the corners of the paper onto the table or easel.
• 2 markers of different colours. I think different colours make drawings more fun.
• Pick subject matter that have simple shape and design and is symmetrical.
• We practiced drawing a flower, butterfly and fish.
• Start in the middle of the paper and draw out from there.
When I was searching the web for new interesting techniques to introduce to my little students, I came across the so-called ‘blow painting’. As you may have noticed from my own art I am very much driven by happy accidents in painting. No wonder this technique hooked me up. When I tried it myself, I couldn’t stop blowing paint around paper with a straw. As a result, I went to bed only in the very early morning. The stream of air stretches colours into wriggle lines resembling tree branches. This is one of those magical art activities that you never get tired of because the result is different every time.
Here above is my humble creation. If you were to compare my painting with the ones created by my little students, you wouldn’t be able to tell one from another. And that is what I like the most about this technique. You don’t need as many years of education as I had endured, to create a true piece of art!
I decided to introduce blow painting to both groups of children: Reception and First Grade. But the tasks for two groups were at different levels. Whereas the First-Grade group was drawing Japanese Cherry Blossoms; the Reception group blew paint into funny monsters and pretty flowers.
Here are the materials that you need and basic principles of Blow Painting with Straws:
• Paper. We used simple printer paper, and it worked fine. If you take blow painting very seriously, use heavier paper.
• Liquid paint. At the lesson we used tempera paint mixed with water. Watercolour should do as well, but paintings my come out not as saturated as with watered-down tempera paint.
• Drinking straws
• Protect you working surface with plastic cloth and anything you are not afraid to be splashed with paint.
• Prepare our liquid paint in small dishes or special paint cups.
• Take one drinking straw and dip one side into the paint. Hold it there and cover the top eyehole of the straw with your thumb. The straw would take little paint inside.
• Hold your thumb there, move your straw to the paper and release the thumb. See, you don’t need a dropper or pipette to transfer droplets of liquid paint to the paper. ☺
• Blow through the straw at the paint drops, forcing the paint to move along the paper in tiny rivulets.
Two weeks in two minutes. This is a hare I painted for the Cotswolds Hare Trail 2017. His name is Bolt. He was sponsored by Cricklade Leisure Centre where you may see it until around October 2017. Special thanks to my daughter Sophia and her friend Karolina for helping me paint it.
I had a wonderful meeting with the director of Cricklade Leisure Centre, Mr Gary Walker, and their designer, Alison Fisher, to discuss the artist brief around sport, and ‘heritage’ that is the theme of this year’s trail. The hare features famous Cricklade’s landmarks: the Jubilee clock erected in 1898 in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, historical St Sampson’s church dating back to the 12th century, and North Meadow that preserves some 80% of Britain’s Wild Snake’s Head Fritillaries.
There are also three groups of people present in the hare’s composition.
The group of runners is the most important one as it has the key to the name that I gave to the hare – Bolt. First of all, Bolt is the name of the renowned, one of the world fastest runners, Usain Bolt you can see him with his charismatic smile as the leader of the group of runners. Secondly, the word ‘bolt’ means to run away, to spring forward, and also a lightning. That is to reflect how fast hares run. By the way, did you know that there is the annual Cricklade Fun Run, which is held in the first Sunday of October and raises funds for local charities?
The second scene is the illustration of a swimming pool – elderly people doing their aquatic workout and a very fit swimmer jumping off a diving board.
Finally, the third scene shows children playing a ball game in the park.
All in all, I painted people of all ages, of both genders, and of different physical abilities, as Cricklade Leisure Centre welcomes all members of the community. I was deeply touched by the story of the Leisure Center that was saved from closing by Cricklade residents. In the end of 2006, North Wiltshire District Council tried to close the leisure centre. After a campaign, local residents took over the running of the centre and were successful in turning its declining fortunes around. It now has a swimming pool, squash courts, sports hall, climbing wall, bar and lounge area with balcony and barbecue, skate park, and play areas for children.
I have spent about two weeks trying to work out the design of the hare in flat profiles. I must confess, I failed. When I began working on the actual 3D sculpture, everything that I sketched on paper seemed completely out of place. So I put my primarily drawings aside and attacked the hare with the pencil and my ideas in the head. I then felt much more comfortable as I used to be a mural painter and I take large painting like a duck to water.
The hare shows some of many more sport activities provided by Cricklade Leisure Centre for the community. It was a real feat for me to complete the painting over one month as I have a “full-time-job” to look after my dearest 9-month-old daughter Sophia. I could not have dealt with the challenge successfully without my husband’s support and our wonderful nanny Karolina. I can’t thank these two enough for their help with little Sophia.
The hare is now installed at Cricklade Leisure Centre and is greeting the visitors at the entrance. It is waiting to be auctioned in October this year in the aid of the National Star College in Cheltemham, UK, that provides specialist education for people with disabilities and brain injuries.
Very soon I will be able to show you a time-lapse video of the whole process of creation.
A RUSSIAN-BORN artist, who creates much of her work on an iPad, has been announced as the first winner of a new annual award from Cirencester Arts Society.
Nadja Ryzhakova won the inaugural John Benjamin Palmer Memorial Trophy for the best painting by a member of the society.
The award was named after a former member who died in June 2014 and presented by renowned artist Jake Sutton at his Fairford-based gallery.
Jake, a graduate of St Martin’s School of Art, has been exhibiting in London since 1979, and critiqued each the competition’s 40 entrants’ work personally.
He said: “Nadja was given the award for the two paintings she submitted.
“The qualities I admired were firstly the attack and confident handling of paint in her landscape and secondly the originality and successful use of paint and collage in the self-portrait.
“These works combined to reveal a considerable talent and I wish her well with future work.”
Cirencester-based Nadja moved to the area last year and works from her home studio in experimental mixed media, combining painting with stitching as well as traditional acrylic and oil painting.
She graduated in 2009 in Moscow with a degree in monumental-decorative art production, moving to London in 2010 where she discovered the iPad as a creative medium.
iPad art has since become her new form of artistic engagement, which she defines as ‘iPainting’.
Since then she has been recognised by the national press and TV, as well as various art organisations, and runs a series of Workshops on iPainting in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
She said: “Jake Sutton is a man of genius.
“Fabulous drawings and paintings. I am so happy I had this chance to meet him in person. It was very inspirational for me.”
For more information about Nadja’s work visit: www.ipainting.pro
Laurence Stephen Lowry himself said: ‘I am not an artist. I am a man who paints’. Nevertheless, for me he is an embodiment of a genuine artist for whom creating was a real necessity equal to physiological need for breathing. This is the reason why I want to write about L. S. Lowry: about his approach to art, and what influenced him. This post is based on my recent visit to Lowry’s exhibition last week at The Lowry gallery in Manchester.
The Lowry gallery claims to host the world's largest collection of his work. It houses 55 of his paintings and 278 drawings.
‘… You get used to painting and you paint, and you
paint, and you paint. Whether you are in the mood of painting makes no
difference. You can be not in the mood when you start and get used to it, and
you carry on just the same. I think, from my own experience, the lesser the mood for painting, the
better pictures you paint…’ - L. S. Lowry, 1957.
The development of Lowry as an artist closely relates to and derives from his childhood. His state of mind was traumatised by his mother since his very birth. The woman wanted to have a girl and was greatly disappointed about having a boy. Her son was a disappointment to her for all her life. She never encouraged his love for art and thought of it as merely avocation. During her lifetime Lowry painted only secretly in his room at night, while working as a rent collector during the day. Being very much attached to his mother, all his life Lowry was seeking her appreciation, but all in vain. The broken relationship with his mother laid foundation for unusual relationships with women in his adulthood. He, it seems, was never romantically attracted to any woman and never got married.
‘… Had I not been lonely, none of my work would have happened. I should not have done what I’ve done, or seen the way I saw things. I work because there’s nothing else to do. Painting is a marvelous way of passing the time, and very interesting when you get into it…’
He never sought recognition as an artist. When in his later life he finally got recognised and started to command large sums for the sale of his works, he purchased a number of paintings and drawings by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was obsessed about his romantically idealised female portraits, which he hung all over his bedroom. Lowry considered Rossetti to be his chief inspiration, while himself predominately depicting grotesque portraits of low-class society, industrial landscapes dominating people, and empty land- and seascapes.
Lowry is an artist who locked himself in his inner world full of ghosts. He could free himself from them only when painting, picturing his fears on a canvas. Therefore, his creativity was his way of survival, his physiological need, without it he could not exist.
‘… When it came to painting I really liked to do imaginary compositions in my room. I used to start in the morning in front of a big white canvas, and I’d say: “ I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, but by the evening I’ll have something on you.”…’
I have come across a month long 30WORKS30DAYS project where artists should produce and submit one work every day for the month of April 2016.
This was like a flashback into May 2012 when I came up with a similar project, which was called 31 DIGITS: https://www.flickr.com/…/79719914@N…/sets/72157629578277616/ . By then I had just discovered iPad as a creative medium and was amaized by its mobility, accessibility, liberalism and relevance in the Age of Mobile Devices. The aim of the project was to discover its creative abilities, take iPad art more seriously, and to discipline myself. Since then, many good things have happened and a lot have been achieved with an iPad as my creative tool that I could not even dream about in the beginning of my creative journey.
Now, 4 years later, I find myself at the same spot, but at a new level of creative development, which I guess, as many things in life, evolve in spirals. Having overgrown iPad, I am discovering new art mediums. Rich textures and mixed media techniques are my main focus of interest now. Through collective 30WORKS30DAYS project I hope to explore as much in that direction as possible. It feels great that so many people are taking part in this project, which does not limit artists in size or medium of their work. I look forward to the end on the project when I will look back and see how far I have progressed. In my opinion, nothing helps an artist to evolve better and to achieve that mysterious and elusive creature called inspiration than pushing yourself to be disciplined about your work every single day.
In this post published selected images in mixed media that I produced in April as part of the project.
With an iPad as her canvas, artist Nadja Ryzhakova painted these digital pictures of the Tube using an app as her palette and her fingertips as paint-brushes.
The works, which she calls iPaintings, show surreal scenes from the Underground. They were created as part of the Londonist Underground series, which is celebrating the network’s 150th anniversary by showing works inspired by it.
Ryzhakova interprets the atmosphere of the Tube in one of her paintings, above, as an underwater platform populated by fish using not Oyster cards but actual oysters, with a shrimp wearing a hoodie and a fish holding an umbrella.
The former student of Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry said: “From the moment my fingertips hit the screen, my digital creations become quickly absorbed into the expanding realm of social media.”
We have had this plain chest of drawers for a year. It looked good in the contemporary white interior of our previous flat. But then we moved into a beautiful country-style house and it looked totally out of style.
So I decided to change it with my oil paint in hands.
I found inspiration in Chinoiserie – artistic style that reflects Chinese artistic influences.
The original drawer hardware was too plain and I decided to change it too. I removed handles before beginning my painting and then replaced them with bolder and more beautiful ones of bronze colour.
I bought bronze oil paint to create a few bronze branches and a strip of the chest top.
The painting covers three sides of the chest and flows from the front to the left and right sides.
Last touch is the coat of varnish over the dried paint to protect the painting.
New handles went into places when the varnish had dried.
LONDON Let’s try to guess how this night glimpse of Waterloo Bridge, from Victoria Embankment, with a timid moon between the London Eye profile and the Big Ben Clock both illuminated, was drawn. Would you say it was painted with an iPad? It’s called “new media art” and this term includes all the artworks created with the support of digital technology, then even iPhones and iPads. Somehow, artists must deal with the digital/virtual world as it’s becoming every day more important for everyone’s ordinary real life. It means not only to create a Facebook Fan Page and share the own works on Flickr or other socials. It also means to understand how to use technology for creating Art, like it normally happens with Music for instance. I was curious to know more about this new mobile and internet-orientated approach, so I interviewed the author of the above “iPainting”: Nadja Ryzhakova, a young Russian-born London-based “iPad artist”.
When did you start “iPainting”, Nadja? I made my very first iPad drawing with one of the free finger drawing apps after I saw David Hockney’s “A Bigger Picture” at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2012.
At the exhibition I was captivated by a room with at more than a metre high colourful landscapes going from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling. Each of landscapes was dated in a chronological order with enviable for an artist frequency. I was wondering how it is possible for a painter to create nearly an artwork a day at such scale and quality?! I was totally hooked up by the fact that all of them were made right there on the spot with an iPad. On the same day after the exhibition I downloaded a free hand drawing app and made my very first iPad drawing. This was the beginning of my new journey.
How long does it take you to draw one? The time I spend on a drawing varies. It depends on the goal, character of a drawing and even inspiration. Some drawings take minutes to create, some hours and days. But I believe that the character of drawing on mobile devices with finger painting applications dictates “alla prima” approach. In other words, quick sketches conveying first impression, rather than finished ‘masterpieces’. From my perspective, the attempt to substitute traditional mediums such as drawings and paintings with iPad drawing is pointless. It is another esthetic, which is something in between drawing/painting and photography and it calls for seeking out new styles and languages.
What do you use for iPainting?Just your fingertips or other instruments? What’s your technique? Since I started drawing on the iPad, for very long time I was drawing with my fingertips only. I was experimenting and learning the creative boundaries of an iPad. Some of my first drawings are detailed and realistic. For instance “Thomas”, a very realistic drawing on my cat against absolutely plain background. I was challenged to recreate the texture of cat’s fur, its softness. To achieve such effect with the fingertips only was possible because of the ability of the finger drawing/painting app to zoom in. I would probably still be drawing with fingertips only, but a few months ago I had to create a series of drawings for a commercial project on an app that doesn’t have the ability to zoom in. So I had no choice but to buy a stylus. It took some time for me to get used to it. But very soon I could not imagine myself drawing without it. Now I use it even drawing on professional finger painting apps such as “Brushes”.
Is it correct to define you “iPainter” and “artistic-reporter”? Why? Mobile digital art is a very recent phenomenon. Therefore, its terminology, as this new art form itself, is just taking its shape. However, it seems that the term “iPhoneography” – which is the capturing, editing, and processing of photographic images with Apple iPhone devices – unlike “iPainting”, has become commonly accepted. By analogy with iPhoneography, I define my practice as iPainting. Other mobile digital artists name their practice as iPad/mobile drawing, iPad art, iPad painting, etc. iPainting is a medium and artistic-reportage is a genre I most often work in. So I can be defined as iPainter as well as artistic-reporter.
How much is iPainting known in the Art world? Where/when did the digital painting start to be considered? Even though iPainting is only struggling to find its place in the contemporary art world, I have no doubt it will take no long time and it will be commonly accepted. It is most known in the U.S. – the country of invention of mobile wireless technology. No wonder iPaiting is most developed and most known there than in the rest of the world. Looking back in history of arts, the interconnection between art and technology is obvious. Technology always served art. The “camera obscura” is probably the best known ancient device that was used to create works of art. Photography is a pioneering art medium of the 19th century. In the 20th century the invention of the computer trigged new digital art forms such as net art, computer art, and others. Smart phones and other handheld devices are today’s newest medium in art. I believe this 21st century innovative form of digital art – iPainting – was born when first finger drawing app was created.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014 - 8:06PM ANASTASIA DENISOVA
It all started two years ago, when Nadja Ryzhakova visited an exhibition of the works of celebrated English painter David Hockney and found out the 76-year old artist had surprisingly embraced modern technology, inspired to create his now critically acclaimed instant iPad art.
"He was one of the first artists who could afford to buy an iPad,” Nadja jokes. "I really admired what Hockney did because he showed that iPad is not merely a computer, but a canvas.”
Nadja started experimenting with iPainting (a word she would get official permission to use from Apple) and has been using iPads as her primary sketch pad ever since. Using apps like Brushes and ProCreate, Nadja produces beautiful pieces inspired by poetry and life in London.
"Being an artist in London is not easy – very few of us can afford their own studio. Most people rent tiny rooms for living and the iPad becomes a genial solution, given the space constraints. Not to mention that it is always with you, whenever inspiration strikes”
iPads allow Nadja, a graduate in Monumental Decorative Art production from the prestigious Stroganov Moscow State Arts and Crafts University, to be even more creative than when using a classic canvas.
"To me an iPad is more of a wall than a canvas – a wall has no limits, while a canvas is constrained by its borders. An iPad allows you to build up the size of a digital canvas, zooming in and perfecting the tiniest bits of my paintings. At any given point I can return to the bigger picture and see the result in full.”
Nadja’s most successful work up to date is her hip take on the London underground, which she created as part of a competition organised by the Londonist website to mark the 150th anniversary of the Tube. Her Mind the Carp piece – which reimagined the underground as an underwater world – was published on the Evening Standard and TimeOut and mentioned by various other websites.
Since then, Nadja has been under the spotlight. The V&A has asked her to run iPanting workshops, while composers and poets interested in artistic collaborations vie for her attention.
Meanwhile, she continues to explore the possibilities of her favourite medium. She is currently working on a series of mini-films focused on the artistic process behind the creation of a painting, all realised with her iPad.
Each film allows the viewer to see how Nadja creates, erases and recreates, turning iPainting into a convergent multimedia art format at the very edge of technology-enabled artistic expression.
Having lived in London for four years, Nadja feels a part of London art scene, but remains strongly in touch with her Russian self. In the past she has painted commemorative postcards for Russian veterans of the Great Patriotic War, and is preparing to create posters for the upcoming 9 May anniversary of the war.
"I am not jealous to see other people try themselves in iPainting – on the contrary, I would be glad and am encouraging more artists to use the iPad as a new medium for their self-expression,” Nadja says.
"Together we can fight scepticism and develop this form of art.”
I recently caught up with a good friend and upcoming artist who has been receiving a lot of attention for her project entitled “iPainting”. Nadja Ryzhakova is a Russian-born professional iPad artist. Now based in London, she has turned her back on her traditional fine arts education and chosen the iPad as her canvas instead. Since 2012 Nadja has been creating detailed and technically skilled works of art that resemble paintings, except for their medium. All of her works represent elements of her daily life and the world around her – in other words, London and its many different faces.
When asked what her inspiration was for this project, Nadja revealed that it was in fact being confronted with the i-pad works of David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts. Determined to try it out for herself, Nadja attempted to re-create the technique using her cat as a subject (depicted below), and soon realised that this was her medium and she was “destined for the iPad and iPainting”. She then challenged herself to create a new image on her iPad every day for the month of may, something I remember witnessing when we were both going through work experience at the same Shoreditch art gallery. Nadja is ambitious and, after 31 days of uploading her images onto social media sites such as Flickr and Facebook, proceeded to turn her month’s worth of images into a project entitled 31 Digits. This project marked the beginning of the progression of iPaintings from simply a concept to using the iPad as a visual diary, and sharing it’s contents online.
Although for Nadja it is to a large extent simply aesthetically satisfying to work with an iPad and see the final results of her work, there is also a deeper and more personal meaning to it all. Since she started her professional life as an artist, Nadja has always used traditional media to express herself, and describes her discovery of the iPad’s creative abilities as exciting and liberating. The choice of technological medium, and its potential to reproduce the same “iPainting” over and over again also touches upon the debate of “art versus technology”.
There is no denying that the iPad is a much better designed canvas for the contemporary attention span, and allows art to be shared and interacted with faster than before, but does using digital tool take something away from the authenticity of the work? Nadja passionately disagrees, and hopes that by combining the popularity of handheld mobile devices and social media with her love of art, she can how technology can transform art and that art and technology can work hand in hand. This goal does seem promising, as the near future already holds a lot of exciting things for Nadja. March will see her first solo exhibition in Saint Petersburg, followed by a talk in April at the Tablet Symposium at the University of Sussex.
Some other questions I asked Nadja:
Would you ever move on to another medium, like painting or photography?
Well, I am already in painting, or iPainting as the case is now. I do appreciate a good photograph, but I have fingers and my iPad to draw any picture I want.
On average, how long does one iPainting take you to complete?
It all depends on various factors. But, as a rule of thumb, a sketch could take a few minutes to capture. Whereas a complete iPainting could take me a day and longer. And lets remember I’ve got no brushes to wash and no canvas to change!
To people who say that digital art is not real art or on the same level as traditional fine art, what is your response?
Snobs! Whatever Dali could get away with, he broke all the rules there were.
To find out more about Nadja’s exciting work, or to contact her, visit her website: ipainting.pro
Russian artist Nadja Ryzhakova will be in attendance at the fest to make art of the event’s comings and goings.
London — A one-day festival on the banks of the River Thames promises to deliver an "interesting and engaging" glimpse into contemporary Russian culture.
Russian Wave, scheduled for Sunday at the Riverside Studios in London, will feature a 12-hour multimedia program that includes films, literature, performance and games, and is designed to appeal to kids and grownups alike. Visitors will also get the chance to sample traditional Russian cuisine, from borscht to blinis and sour-cream meringues.
The festival is run by Academia Rossica, a London-based organization that seeks to boost cultural links between Russia and the English-speaking world through various projects and events.
According to founding director Svetlana Adjoubei, the festival is one
such intercultural project that strives to create a relaxed and informal environment where people can meet and have fun, while at the same time discovering the best of what Russian culture has to offer today.
"We want to contradict Russian culture's reputation for being hard work," Adjoubei said.
At 12 p.m., the festival will showcase the best in contemporary Russian animation, followed by consecutive screenings of four very different award-winning films: a documentary about Cuba by famed director Vitaly Mansky, a historical drama; Pavel Lungin's "Tsar" starring Pyotr Mamonov; "Gromozeka" a tragicomedy about three friends who meet at a school reunion and "Indifference," starring Fyodor Bondarchuk, which was inspired by Italian cinema and which won best film at the Kinotavr festival in 2011.
During the day, the venue will be transformed with live performances of English and Russian poems. Moreover, as part of an open culture project in London, a series of discussions on contemporary literature will take place between literary specialists representing both the English and Russian language. A book stall will introduce a selection of literary works on Russia, from Russia or in Russian, while all the books can be borrowed, bought or won in a special raffle.
Other entertainment includes contemporary art, music and Russian zabavas (fun and games) for the whole family. In a celebration of Russian food, the festival will also offer a wide selection of dishes prepared by local chefs. The menu boasts traditional Russian staples, such as meat and cabbage-stuffed pirogi, as well as more unusual delicacies.
This brief snapshot into Russian culture strives to not only show its vibrant side, but also to reflect the dynamic processes taking place in modern-day Russian society.
Speaking of Russian culture in the United Kingdom, Adjoubei cited the high-profile case of the punk trio Pussy Riot, which garnered huge international attention last month. "People in countries like the U.K. are now more interested in Russia, but our role is to show that Pussy Riot is part of a bigger and more varied culture," Adjoubei stressed. "This culture reflects Russian society today."