The Hidden Garden: A Story of the Heart
Picture book—all ages
Published by Conciliar Press
Release: February 2013
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936270-38-5

Meet the Illustrator

a few questions for masha lobastov...

Why is this your favorite illustration from The Hidden Garden?

I have 2 favorite images, and both of them differ greatly in emotional implication. First is page 14, where the man is tormented, almost crashed by the realization of how much "dirt & waste" he accumulated in his life, and how desperately lonely and helpless he is without God's help. The second is page 29, where the same, already old & wise man's face, is glowing. His soul is transformed from nobody - tosomebody, and the Heavenly Light of God is shining through.

When you were little, did you want to be an artist when you “grew up?”

When I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I was writing & home-printing my own novels until I came to the U.S at the age of 25. The language barrier closed the dream door upfront of my curious face, and I turned my energy into continuation of my classical art studies, and here we are.

How often do you paint, and what are your favorite things to paint?

I paint almost always, and my main "thing" is portraiture. I love to understand my models' personality along with physical features. The portrait will not work until there is a clear composition visible in my mind. And the best part: when you see the person - looking back at you from the canvas.

What is your favorite thing about gardens?

My favorite thing about gardens is the practical one - fruit. I care for a few young fruit trees, and only in the last two years have they started to thrive. What a joy! Also, as an artist, I really appreciate various colors & flower shapes - they make amazing abstract images.

What do you most want people to experience when reading The Hidden Garden?

When people read "The Hidden Garden" I would like that they read it slowly, like a poem. It will take them on a difficult journey, which, unfortunately, most of us are too familiar with. Casual life, practical celebrations, forgetting the meaning of most spiritual events and supplementing them with festive parties ("Easter dinner deals," to mention a few) leaves our souls dry and empty. We lock ourselves behind solid walls, and then it's hard to realize that we need to do exactly opposite of what we are doing: break the walls, open the gates, repent & with a deep humility ask for help. If we do - the help is here, and the light of God will turn us into lights ourselves.

masha lobastov