Mila Bakhirev is a Russian born artist and a scientist who has been living in the Land of Enchantment since 2007. Mila signs her artwork with an acronym MiLAB – a reference to her career as a medical educator and a researcher (she is a Professor at the University of New Mexico). She has been living in the Land of Enchantment since 2007 and is a member of the New Mexico Art League (NMAL) and Rio Grande Art Association (RGAA). Mila has studied watercolor and oil painting with established artists from Europe (Elena Groubar) and New Mexico (Maria Cole, Carol Carpenter, J. Waid Griffin, and Albert Handell). Her paintings in oil are in private collections in Utah and New Mexico. Mila’s paintings have been selected for multiple juried exhibitions in New Mexico, including “True Likeness”, “Flower as Still-life”, “Biologique”, “The Art of the Flower”, “Lay of the Land” at NMAL as well as RGAA’s “Encantada” exhibit in 2019 and “Masterworks” in 2021.
While art has always been an important part of my life, I have started painting only in my forties when I enrolled in a series of art classes. What a life changer it was! I learned how to get immersed in the magical process of art making and let my imagination run free. While certainly influenced by the Russian Impressionism, especially by ““mood landscapes” of Isaac Levitan, instead of expressive brushwork, I prefer painting in oil using impasto technique with a palette knife, which results in a looser, textured style, and creates a dimensional effect. I am also fascinated by the color of light and exaggerated temperature diﬀerentials seen in Joaquín Sorolla and Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky works. Southwest magnificent light, landscape, history, diversity, and culture fascinate me. I certainly can relate how Taos landscape reminded Nicolai Fechin the beauty of Siberia (where I am originally from). I enjoy both en plein air painting on location and working in a studio from my own photographs taken on numerous hiking and biking trips throughout Southwest. Applying thick, sweeping blends of color by a palette knife help me to find a freedom of expression and to play with light and color. I also enjoy doing portraits in the alla prima style for its vivid expressiveness. Many of my art pieces are inspired by the New Mexico unique landscape and people. Through my work I am trying create a feeling of connection and a sense of serenity, harmony, and piece.