Nataliya Scheib 

This is a painting of a traditional Ukrainian setting – a couple in national outfits near their home nestled in a rural landscape. This image is often painted on decorative plates to be purchased as a souvenir or a gift to hang in a home.

I wanted to paint this scene as a way of reflecting on my growing up in Ukraine in the not-so-distant past.  It will always stay in my memory: my grandparents’ yard, and the house that just looked like the one depicted in this painting. I remember being fascinated by the roof made of straw that was evenly cut to make a straight line. The house also had a space allocated for the chickens in one part of it - before each sunset the hens and the roosters climbed a very narrow wooden board with small horizontal strips to the tiny window on the side of the house.

Naturally, the house didn’t have electricity, gas, heat, or water inside.  We carried in water from a well near the house. The warmth in the winter came from the woodstove, which had a bunk bed above it. It was my favorite place to sleep being that the bed was always warm in the evenings. Because there wasn’t electrical light in the house, we had to go indoors before sunset, so there was enough time to light the kerosene lamp. Usually, we were awoken by the roosters singing in the early morning. 

Inside the house, there was only one room. A wooden table and two wooden benches stood near a small window. An Icon was placed in hand-stitched traditional linens (rushnyku) in the corner of the room, between two small windows. In the opposite corner was the stove, above which was a sleeping place and second real bed stood beside it.  The old-fashioned wooden kitchen cabinet - with the collection of traditional dishware - was the only grander piece of furniture in the room.  

All furniture in the house was handmade. The floor was uneven because it was made by hand from clay. I also remember that in the ceiling, between the wooden beams, various healing plants were placed to dry, for later use in medicines. They spread a natural and pleasant smell throughout the house. My grandmother consistently added the new plants through the seasons and used the dry ones to make natural herbal teas.

I named the painting “Ukrainian Dream” because now it really feels like a dream to me. Everything about this house stays only in my memory.


2016    Cloister Gallery, Houston TX


Nataliya Scheib

Ukrainian Dream, 2016
Oil on canvas
24” x 24”

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