About Irina


About Irina

Picture yourself standing on the shores of a vast ocean. Feel the sand between your toes. Smell the salty air as you breathe in. Hear the hush of each wave as the cool water rolls over your feet. See the reflection of the sun majestically painting its rays onto the surface, a palette of blues and greens swirling together in front of you…


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Even though now my life is as peaceful as it can be, my days are filled with creativity, calm joy and happiness, there was a time when my hands were literally shaking from stress from the moment I woke up to well into the night until I managed to get a couple of hours of shallow nightmarish sleep.

6 a.m. in the morning, time to get ready for classes :)  My dorm table, Vinnitsa National Pirogov Memorial Medical University , 2007

6 a.m. in the morning, time to get ready for classes :)

My dorm table, Vinnitsa National Pirogov Memorial Medical University , 2007

Not too long ago, I was finishing up eight years of medical training in my home country – Ukraine.

I spent my evenings studying for exams and completing assignments, then instead of turning out the light, I would set up my easel and spend the rest of the night painting. Sometimes until 6am. I’d always wanted to be an artist: medical school was the sensible thing to do, but I loved to paint. Art was my calling and I believe that creativity is the ultimate form of expression.



See ya in 2 years, my beautiful Ukraine..

See ya in 2 years, my beautiful Ukraine..

When I met my husband, Todd, I found in him a source of strength and inspiration.  He encouraged me to follow my heart and become an artist.

Soon after, we moved to the United States, leaving my family, friends and medical career behind.

I was newly married, living in a new city, in a new house, surrounded by strangers whose language was not my own and I found myself overly stressed and anxious.


Author unknown

Author unknown

Then war broke out in my home country. Suddenly, I found myself an ocean and half a continent away from the people I loved, unable to help them.

I became obsessed – calling my mom and my sister relentlessly to check on them.  I lost my appetite. I couldn’t sleep and my mind was in a constant state of turmoil. That was easily the most stressful time of my life, and I didn't see the end to it back then.


A Different Form of Medicine

"No War", oil on canvas

It was during this time that I started taking daily walks on the beach, watching the sun rise above the water. 

I watched the ocean’s steady movement in and out, the glittering light dancing on the surface, the tiny rainbows reflecting off the sand – lulling me into a peace that I’d never experienced before.

I set out to capture this beauty on canvas. The result was a painting I call No War.


"No War", oil on canvas, 37.5"x42"

Then something astonishing happened: every time I looked at the completed painting, I experienced the same calm and tranquility I would feel while standing on the beach.

The painting was just as effective of calming me as the actual ocean.

Through additional research, I discovered that there was a growing interest in the calming effects of fractal patterns among scientists. You can read more about the science behind fractals here.

A Healing Environment

Since then, I’ve developed a painting style to highlight these naturally occurring patterns and colors on canvas. Each painting is specifically design to maximize the calming effects of shapes, colors and scenery.

These paintings have been a daily source of relief and comfort to me, and others, over the years. Now you can experience the calming effect of the ocean and the healing power of fractals in your home or office by ordering one of my original paintings.

Every time you look at your piece of art, I invite you to take a deep breath and feel how your whole body is getting a little more relaxed and your mind more peaceful. Over time the calm feeling will become stronger and more lasting. And maybe one day you will become immune to the harming effects of every day stresses all together! 


What are Fractals?

What are Fractals?

Viewing mid-range Fractals reduces your physiological response to stress by up to 60%.
— R.P.Taylor, Professor of Physics, Psychology and Art, University of Oregon [Fractal Expressionism. Asia pacific conference on vision (2011)]


So what is a fractal?

A fractal is a pattern that repeats itself infinitely across different scales (sizes) – snowflakes, trees, and ocean waves are all fractals.

A 1986 NASA study demonstrated that participants who viewed images consisting of fractal patterns of nature, experienced a 44% decrease in physical stress response.[4]

Since then, other studies have shown even greater reductions in stress in people who viewed various images and artwork containing natural fractals (e.g. paintings containing cloud formations, ocean horizons, breaking waves, and sand dunes).

it appears that people have hardwiring that responds to certain forms of fractals in nature…It seems this stress reduction effect occurs because of a certain physiological resonance within the eye. Some research indicates that certain types of artwork that have such patterns can also produce a relaxation effect.
— Psychology Today

By contrast, according to the same NASA study mentioned above, viewing images that contain artificial geometric shapes actually resulted in a 13% increase in stress response in those who participated in the study.[4]

This is important, considering that in our culture we are surrounded by such artificial geometric patterns: in our architecture and sometimes in the abstract art we hang on our walls.

As we have moved away from nature and into skyscrapers and concrete jungles, we have inadvertently removed ourselves from what calms and comforts us, and have instead surrounded ourselves with shapes and images that increase our stress response.

All of my artworks are created with a conscious intent of highlighting natural fractal patterns.

You no longer need to be near the ocean to experience its powerful benefits. They can be yours, if you simply incorporate them into your own environment.

The effect does not have to stop when you come back indoors, either. <...>
Simply having these fractal patterns in our peripheral vision has a constant soothing effect on the mind and mood.
— George Pratt, Ph.D, Performance Psychologist, author, speaker



1. Lambrau, Peter, Ph.D. “Fun With Fractals.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 07 Sept. 2012. Web. 24 July 2016. .

2. Rosch, Paul J. M.D., F.A.C.P. “Why Stress Is A Far More Important Cause Of Coronary Disease Than Cholesterol.” September 2010. PowerPoint Presentation.

3. Harden, Seth. “Stress Statistics.” Statistic Brain. Statistic Brain Research Institute, American Institute of Stress, NY, 18 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 July 2016. .

4. R., Taylor P. “Reduction of Physiological Stress Using Fractal Art and Architecture.” LEONARDO 39.3 (2006): 245-51. MIT Publishing, 01 June 2006. Web. 24 July 2016.