Here is a brief introduction to Lena, how I saw her and her city last year and today:
Lena Ulanova lives in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the greatest city in the Northern world. All the artists and clowns north of the 43rd parallel make the inevitable journey—and right now on earth, I doubt there is a more opportune city anywhere for dreamers to be.
I know nothing about Lena but through her painting and kindness. I know she is a traveler, a gypsy, a perambulator along the canals of the Russian Venice. Her paintings hang on my blue dining room wall, and I dream of October skies, the golden Autumn, and the two most colorful characters in Knut Hamsun novels, Nagel and Bobi. I know that her work makes me happy to see, and that we could be great friends in some future or past, or dimension that has yet to be named.