May 2023 Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Anastasiya “Ana” Combs grew up surrounded by art, culture and history. Since her early childhood, Combs has been honing her craft and developing as an artist. Presently, Combs is an accomplished artist here in Indiana whose commissioned work is highly respected and sought after. Combs’ collection, created out of her studio in Greenfield, boasts extraordinary pieces that cannot be simply categorized into just one artistic style. What is noticeably consistent in her collection is her ability to transport one directly into the scene, where the energy and emotions of the piece are profoundly felt by the person staring into it. INSPIRED BY HISTORICAL BEAUTY AND ART Combs’ father is a woodsmith and has spent most of his life restoring precious antiques in the palaces in and around St. Petersburg. As a result of being immersed in his work and the work of his artist friends who restored ceiling frescoes or palatial paintings throughout her youth, Combs’ passion for art was ignited. And though she graduated from college with a focus on computer sciences, her thirst for exploring her artistic and creative side has never been quenched. Combs was about six or seven years old when she began drawing. Her mother had enrolled her in music school as a child, but Combs’ passion lay in a differentartistic discipline, and at around age 12, she, along with a childhood friend, secretly took the entrance exam to the neighboring art school, where she was accepted. During the 1990s, when Combs was in college, the competition among artists in Russia was fierce. She spoke about how much more competitive the creative industries were than any others in her native country at that time. “I wanted to go into the art direction , but the competition to be a artist was really high,” Combs explained. “Now, it’s a little bit different, but back then, it was super hard. There are a lot of talented people but not so many colleges.” Combs continued to paint throughout college to make extra money and sold paintings and portraits to friends and acquaintances. “In that time space, I started painting with oil,” Combs said. “Before, I had been doing more graphics, watercolors and pastels. In college, I started painting with oils, and because of my dad’s friends who restored a lot of the museum and palace paintings, they would give me oils and materials to paint with. Buying art supplies in Russia during ‘perestroika’ was hard if you did not belong to the ‘artist society.’ They gave me an easel, paints and brushes, and I started experimenting.” Having lived abroad and in the U.S., this talented wife, mother, computer programmer and artist has accumulated many life experiences and portrays many of these in her paintings. “I did a lot of experimenting and learned a lot on my own when I came here to the U.S. when I was 22,” Combs said. “I married John , and when my son was about 10 or 11, I got a little studio . That’s when I started to get more serious and got involved in art shows, and began getting commissioned work.” Combs’ work has been featured in local art shows, including the Carmel International Arts Festival, and her requests for commissioned work keep her content and busy. She also offers private and group art lessons for adults in her spare time. EVOKING EMOTIONS AND MEMORIES “I paint in a few different directions,” Combs shared. “I am passionate about cityscapes, and what I want to bring out of the cityscape is not just the architecture and details, but I am also focused on the energy that you feel in the place. I’m focused on what the person will feel — do they feel the hustle and bustle of the place or do they feel a kind of serenity? I’m always trying to bring that emotion into a piece.” It’s not too early to start thinking about the most memorable and unique holiday gift for your loved ones and family. A commissioned portrait or painting created by the talented hands of Anastasiya Combs is a wise investment as well as a beloved heirloom to be enjoyed for generations to come. If you are considering commissioning a portrait or painting and would like to work with Combs, contact her on her website and be sure to follow her on her social media accounts. To see a sampling of Combs’ exquisite collection and for more information, visit livewithcolor.net. Be sure to follow Combs on Facebook at: AnastasiyaCombsArtist or her personal FB page at: anastasiya.combs/ and on Instagram at: anacombs75.