110 days: Nikita Ivanovich

Today, amidst the serene backdrop of St. Petersburg's Summer Garden, the fresh air mingled with the scent of blossoming flowers, painting a perfect scene for artistic inspiration. I chose this location hoping to capture the interplay of light and shadow on the ancient sculptures and winding paths. As I set up my sketching equipment under a young birch tree, a local man, Nikita Ivanovich, approached me with a friendly curiosity typical of the residents of this town.

Nikita, a retired marine engineer, spends his days as a part-time gardener. His deep connection to the city's history and his stories of the garden's transformation over the decades provided a living narrative that no guidebook could offer. His story of witnessing the garden's restoration and his role in bringing it back to life was deeply moving and added layers of meaning to each stroke of my pen.

Our conversation drifted from art to history, then to the shared joy of creating, whether through brushstrokes or tilling the soil. The connection was an unexpected gift, reinforcing my belief that each person we meet adds a unique hue to the palette of our experience. Nikita's story, interwoven with the history of the Summer Garden, inspired today's sketches and will surely echo in my future work. Today was not only about creating art, but also about discovering the soul of Saint Petersburg through its people.

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