Born in Ukraine in 1975, Yana studied at the local High School of the Arts. Yana went on to graduate as a teacher of art from the State Art College in Kharkiv, Ukraine. In 2003 she emigrated to Israel. Yana was well known for her paintings under the name Yana Ranevskaya. In 2013 she married her soul mate and emigrated onto the United States in 2013. Since getting married she paints under her married name of Rafael.
Yana Rafael’s style is full of vibrant colors and expresses emotions typically associated with bold life. When violent colors are next to each other they trick the eye into a sensation of movement. Yana uses a thick application of paint, distinctive brushstrokes and real-life subject matter to emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for expressive effect, and to use unnatural or arbitrary color.
Yana paints with a sense of urgency, using the paint straight from the tube in thick, graphic brush strokes. Her choice of color varies with her moods and occasionally she deliberately restricts her palette to only a few colors. Perhaps this very technique is what draws one into the painting: the fulfillment of seeing all angles of the spectrum of life and in turn reaching a deeper understanding of how all living things are tied together. “Painting, to me, is a unique experience. Each work is a surprise and has its own personal and intuitive meaning. My paintings evolve organically from life’s everyday glances. Each layer determines and guides the next.”
The favorite technique of the artist is referred to as “impasto” – a way of applying paint, specifically a thick, textured application of paint where the marks made by the brush or painting knife stay visible. The impasto style is evident in the work of Vincent van Gogh, who clearly is a defining influence of this young and upcoming Ukrainian artist.