She paints quite a picture.
Hermosa Beach resident Olga Krimon is a project manager at DIRECTV—now AT&T, the single mother of two boys, and an accomplished, award-wining artist. How she balances these three roles and expands her creative artistry is definitely not the stuff of a paint-by-numbers approach to life.
The mother of two boys, Casey, age 10, and Trevor, 7, Krimon says the key to equilibrium is to eliminate “all the unnecessary things in life.” She treats her art as a second serious job with its own weekly schedule.
“Whether you are tired or ‘uninspired,’ you go to the easel and work,” she said. “I am a strong believer that there is always a way—maybe you sleep less, or give up watching television, but there is always something that could be cut, and there is always a way to plan the time.”
Some activities Krimon wishes she didn’t have to cut, such as missing some of her children’s baseball games, but she says her children are understanding. Krimon’s ex-husband pitches in when art show deadlines become too intense. And, she doesn’t mind juggling her day job and her art.
“I am very fortunate to have a dual career. My job allows me to provide for my kids and live near the beach,” Krimon said. “I am also fortunate to be selling my paintings, yet I don’t have to rely on gallery sales alone.”
Krimon, born in Russia, has always been an artist. She had her first solo art show in kindergarten, and in fifth grade, enrolled in a formal academic program at the hundred-year-old Kazan Art School on the Volga River east of Moscow. That provided Krimon with an intense four-year art curriculum. The program included drawing and painting, sculpture and art history. She calls the experience grueling on top of regular classes, but doesn’t regret it.
“Those who finished the program had strong skills and freedom to create,” Krimon said. “I am both so glad I went through it and so amazed at how serious the education and time commitment required from a young artist.”
On top of the technical skills taught, Krimon said the program helped her to develop discipline, which serves her in good stead, now. During her last year in the program, Krimon won second place in a live watercolor still life competition. Despite her dedication and her successes, Krimon did not pursue art as a formal career after graduation, although she continued to study art history, draw and paint. Instead, she graduated from college with an MBA, and became a successful technology professional.
“Yet my need to draw and paint was so strong, so ingrained in me, that I had to find a way and discipline to pursue art as well,” Krimon said.
And so she has. In April, she received first place in the Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition for her drawing “Yin and Yang.” She’s recently exhibited at Denver’s Abend Gallery, and at the Oil Painters of America (OPA) National Show at Southwest Galleries in Dallas. Represented by Vanessa Rothe Fine Art in Laguna Beach, and on the East Coast at Reinert Fine Art Galleries, Krimon also exhibits with the American Impressionist Society and American Women Artists.
Working in oils primarily on Belgian linen, archival panels, and copper panels, and creating drawings in charcoal and graphite, Krimon’s studio is her re-purposed garage, although she also paints in an upstairs room of her house.
“It’s all about the right light on both the model and the easel,” she said. “You employ everything in your power and in your vocabulary to create a living piece of art.”
Krimon’s children often serve as models, and she pays them a commission. They also function as sophisticated art critics.
“My first big recognition was for a painting of my older son Casey. I feel that he, in a way, launched me onto the right path. Both of my children give honest critiques, they’re quick to say if a concept seems boring to them.”
Her younger son, Trevor, has actually pointed out elements in Krimon’s art that need revision.
“There was something not quite right with my last piece, and it took my younger son just a minute to point out the series of horizontals that were going against the overall concept—removing them was exactly what was needed,” she explains.
With many impressive figurative works and still life paintings in her quiver, Krimon’s current favorite piece is “That What I Dream.” A figurative portrait of a child, the folds and the movement of depicted fabric are as important as the child figure itself.
“It moved me into a different direction—reality bordering abstraction. The folds move and envelope space, the point of view is top down, and this commotion and movement of lines and shapes is fascinating to me. It’s a 2016 piece, and I’ll continue to work in that direction.”
For more information about Krimon’s work, visit her website at olgakrimon.com.