By Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
A Special Light Shines through Art
GUMRI, Armenia — When artist Hakob Hovhannisyan returned to Armenia in 2008, after having lived and worked for years in St. Petersburg, he started looking for a place near his native Gumri to set up his studio. Among the many locations he surveyed was Gusanagyugh, a small village about 20 kilometers outside Gumri. It was the particular quality of light that fascinated him; in the morning hours it had one color and mood, at noon, quite another, and as afternoon faded into evening, further nuances emerged and the properties of light underwent further mutations. Convinced that this was where he had to settle, he found a small house that served as both home and studio: a kitchenette, one sitting room with a bed, heated by a small wood-fired stove, and a second room, his atelier, full of paintings.
To paint outside in the magnificent natural surroundings, he would pack his painting materials into a cart, equipped with an umbrella (in case of rain) and a large case containing his paints and brushes. Hauling the cart by its long handle, Hovhannisyan would venture out into the vast countryside, select a landscape, place a canvas on his easel and begin to paint. No sooner had he traced a few brush strokes than he noticed he was no longer alone. By ones and twos, then in swarms, children would approach and surround the painter, awestruck by what was the magic of creativity. With wide eyes and gaping mouths, they would stand or sit and stare, following every magic stroke of the brush with fascination. They considered him a miracle maker.