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Ovanes Berberian

Fall Landscapes by Ovanes Berberian

Ovanes Berberian – Background

Ovanes Berberian (1951 – ) is a Russian Armenian, who received his first art education under the guidance of his Russian father who was a member of the Armenian Artists’ Society, as well as a theatrical set designer and college art professor.

Ovanes’s main art education was at his father’s school. In the summer of 1977, after his father’s death, the young Berberian and his three brothers and mother emigrated to the United States, settling in California.

In 1981, Ovanes was awarded a scholarship to study with the late master painter and noted teacher, Sergei Bongart. “I was influenced by Sergei more than any other artist. He led me in the direction I needed to go, it was like a light bulb finally came on”.

In Idaho near Bongart, Berberian built his home and studio from which he runs summer workshops. You can recognize his painting style by his confident blend of color and brush work as depicted in his dramatic landscapes and still lifes. Ovanes is admired by artists for his mastery of color.

He mostly paints plein air, sometimes doing 6 or more paintings a day, but does some of his larger pieces in the studio.

For Ovanes Berberian, the most important thing is color harmony. Ovanes’ use of color, combined with his dynamic, painterly style, makes each landscape and still life come alive.

Ovanes Berberian
Pacific Grove, California where I painted with Ovanes Berberian

I studied with Ovanes Berberian in the early part of my career, and we later became good friends, painting together in California and in Tuscany.

It was only after painting with Ovanes for quite a while that I began to recognize when colors in the light and shade were harmonious, and began to understand and see the beauty in the concept of poly-isochromes. For years when painting together, he would point at a part of some of my pictures and say: “that color is good”. The implication was the rest of my colors were not harmonious enough!

More than anyone else, Ovanes Berberian set the standard of color harmony that I have always been aiming for in my own work. His small 6″ x 8″ paintings are jewels of color harmony.


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