Artists capture life at ‘Painting in the Shade’ event in Havana

Tucked away in the trunk of her car, impressionist painter Natalia Andreeva recorded the vast Alaskan wilderness that surrounded her. She captured the mountainside in vibrant shades and tints of blue and green, her sweeping brushstrokes outlining the topography.

The remoteness of the location meant bears and other wildlife stalked nearby, so Andreeva took safety precautions with this particular outdoor adventure – plein air painting.

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Natalia Andreeva

“I thought it was better for me not to wander too far because I was alone,” says Andreeva, who has had several close encounters during her many years of nature painting, from South Africa. South to the Smokey Mountains.

“Once I went with some artists in a canoe to paint, and after a while I saw a water moccasin near my boat. I had never encountered anything like that in the studio.

“Painting in the shade” in Havana

Last year, Andreeva participated in the Havana Main Street “Shadow Painting” event and won first place for her painting from the Downtown Historical Museum. His second image of a century-old red barn is the cover image for this year’s second annual outdoor event which will take place from Thursday May 19 to Saturday May 21.

Artists are invited to paint throughout the community and showcase their work in a “Wet Room Gallery” at the Havana Springs Annex. Guests can purchase an artist’s ‘dry’ work at any time, but new ‘wet’ work will only be available during the closing gala.

Tobacco Museum by Natalia Andreeva.  She will participate in the 2nd annual Plein Air Painting in the Shade event from May 19 to 21, 2022 in Havana.

Andreeva is looking forward to Saturday’s “Quick Draw” event which invites everyone to complete a painting in two hours.

“It’s a challenge, but I encourage everyone to try it,” says Andreeva, who advises newcomers to start with a smaller canvas. “My only warning is that being outdoors is truly addictive. Once you start doing it, you do it over and over again. Sometimes you meet people you would never otherwise meet and you can soak up nature at his best.

paint around the world

Andreeva cherished every double rainbow, every early morning sunrise, and every animal – deer, butterflies, foxes, spotted wasps and bobcats – that she painted over the years.

While Tallahassee has been her home since 2004, Andreeva first became an artist in Novosibirsk, Siberia. She studied the canon of classical art in Moscow, Russia, and honed her skills in depicting nature, still life, portraits, and figures with a mixture of expressionism and impressionism.

She holds Signature Membership of the American Impressionist Society and believes that nature has been her greatest teacher.

For five years, Andreeva ran a local studio in Tallahassee. It organizes bi-weekly drawing and painting days, as well as workshops and seminars with internationally renowned guest artists.

“I have workshops with other outdoor artists that I have met on my trip, and if anyone wants to participate in these workshops, they are always welcome,” says Andreeva. “We have live drawing sessions twice a week in my studio with a group of artists and are always open to new members.”

Natalia Andreeva will be part of the 2nd annual Plein Air Painting in the Shade event in Havana, May 19-21, 2022.

“Painting from nature”

Much like a musician spends hours on his craft, Andreeva says continued practice with a canvas and paintbrush has helped build his skills as an artist. She was drawn to Impressionism because she likes to “paint from nature”.

The rougher, unpolished look isn’t an exact rendering of his surroundings, but rather captures his observations in those fleeting moments as a landscape shifts and changes.

Timing is all too important outdoors, and Andreeva keeps a close eye on the sun, which notably changes position every seven minutes and can manipulate the way light and shadow fall on any given subject or landscape. Sometimes the topics that first sparked her interest disappear once she starts.

“If I want to paint a boat or a car, they go away, so I basically try to paint a feature of that subject that I absorbed in the first few minutes, and even though it will disappear, I somehow have it kind,” describes Andreeva.

“I also like to paint animals, birds, or even people sometimes, which is another variable and an element where you have to very quickly get an idea of ​​their shape and form. Because it’s visual art, you like to have some kind of precision, but you don’t have a lot of time to have it all.

Old and new by Natalia Andreeva, one of the "Paint in the shade" artists.

Difficult conditions

Plein-air painting challenged Andreeva both in her style and in her preparation for this type of painting. When working in hot and humid environments the paint is sticky which can change the texture of the work. Bugs buzz around its head, and sometimes in urban environments people will be curious and approach it with questions.

On hikes, Andreeva brings light, brings water and wears sunscreen. While researching venues for this year’s Havana outdoor event, Andreeva was drawn to the brightly colored police station building.

She hopes that more events like these, and subsequent paintings done during “Painting in the Shade,” will not only archive Havana’s history, but bring more people to town.

“I have traveled and painted all over the world and I have not seen [Havana] right under my nose,” says Andreeva of the hidden gem, just 20 minutes from Tallahassee. “I hope people enjoy seeing what I saw and that it inspires them to get out and enjoy what’s around them.”

If you are going to

What: Shade Painting 2nd Annual Outdoor Event

When: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. May 19-21

Or: 7th Avenue and Main Street, Havana

Cost: Artist registration fee $35

Contact: For more information, call 850-755-2999 or visit To learn more about Natalia Andreeva and her studio workshops, please visit

Amanda Sieradzki is a feature writer for the Council for Culture and the Arts. COCA is the Capital Region’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (

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