Boriana Kantcheva currently resides in the Boston area and is an artist at Mix-It Studios in Somerville. Her whimsical approach to her craft is truly a feast for the eyes. As a painter and print-maker, her work is often inspired by the natural world, small things in the forest undergrowth, birds, patterns, colors and all things magical, creating an exquisite menagerie of earthly delights.
Boriana Kantcheva, originally from Bulgaria, has lived and worked in the Boston area for over 20 years. She has received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University joint degree program. She has worked as an assistant teacher at the Carpenter Center for Visual and Environmental Studies where she has received several Harvard University Certificates of Distinction in Teaching awards. She previously managed Chandler Gallery at Maud Morgan Arts Center. Boriana has participated in numerous art shows in the Boston area and beyond. Currently, her work can be seen at 13 Forest Gallery in Arlington.
Boriana Kantcheva has taught the Develop Your Sketchbook class in the last few years. It has attracted artists of all levels, students who would like to re-start their art practice as well as students who are new to art. Boriana dives deepens to explain how she uses this sketchbook to inspire others:
You have a very intriguing, whimsical style. How does your sketchbook inspire and influence your finished pieces? Do you also find that it is a stand-alone meditative practice?
I use the sketchbooks as both - places for new ideas and a stand - alone meditative practice. In addition, the sketchbook is a place where I try new materials and techniques. Because sketchbooks are so unassuming and inviting, I never feel any pressure to create a “finished” work of art. I feel free to follow any idea and try any material or technique without restricting myself.
Each one of your sketchbooks is a unique work of art. Describe your process?
My process tends to be intuitive and organic. For example, I often start with watercolors. It is a wonderfully fluid medium. I usually use it to create very organic looking shapes and loose backgrounds. Afterwards I use pens or markers to outline or define different shapes. I really do not have any rules when it comes to what materials I use. It often starts with an idea and the idea usually dictates what materials I might use.
Sketches are a wonderful way to explore different techniques and ideas. In fact, you teach a class on the subject. Can you describe what you cover in your class?
Here is a short description of what students can expect in class: We will focus on exploring variety of materials from micron pens, markers; acrylic paints, acrylic inks, watercolor and collage. Each week will focus on a different exercise that will allow students to enjoy the process of art making while working with color, line, shapes and found images. Students are encouraged to work in their sketchbooks to create vibrant, “messy” and experimental spreads without the pressure of creating a “finished “piece. At the end of the class each student will have a visual diary of ideas to take to the next level.
Students we will explore themes like gathering inspiration from vintage images, focusing on personal narratives, finding inspiration in art movements, exploring the written word as both a source for ideas and using handwriting as a basis for mark making. Each exercise is designed to encourage students to try new ideas and variety of materials.
This class is for students who are new to art and students who would like to re-start their art practice. All students are welcomed!
I will be teaching “Develop Your Sketchbook” again in January, 2022 at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown. Please check their website later in November. I will also post the dates on my website and my IG account.
Do you have any suggestions on how people can develop their own sketchbook at home?
I think the best suggestion is to not be afraid to experiment! Start even if you think you are not ready, use materials you might have on hand. Sometime even few simple things are all you need. Maybe you have a few watercolors and some color pencils or a few markers. Think about what inspires you or maybe start sketching things around the house. The most important thing is to be consistent and do a little bit if not daily at least weekly. Working in a sketchbook is great because you can take it everywhere in the kitchen, living room or outside.
Artist contact information:
About the Inside-Out Gallery
Initiated in 2009, The Inside-Out Gallery is located in the CVS Window in Davis Square, a unique space that allows the public to view an eclectic array of works from artists and local organizations each month. The mission of the Somerville Arts Council is to cultivate and celebrate the creative expressions of the Somerville community. Through innovative collaborations and quality programming we work to make the arts an integral part of life reflective of our diverse city.