Marfa Tymchenko was born in a well-known village of Petrykivka in Sicheslav region, where she made her first steps in art creativity. Local teacher Oleksandr Statyva and an outstanding folk artist Tetiana Pata have greatly influenced formation of her as an artist. They have noticed the talent of a little girl Marfa and invited her to study at the Petrykivka School of Decorative Painting. Marfa Tymchenko continued her training in Kyiv at the School of Folk Art Masters and at the Art and Industrial College of Folk Art. In 1941 she began to work at the porcelain factory in the town of Korosten, Zhytomyr region. When war started and the factory was closed she returned back to her native Petrykivka. After the war she worked for almost 30 years at the Kyiv Experimental Art Ceramics Factory.
It would be possible to extend her biographic information, but let us highlight some important moments of the creative phenomenon of Marfa Tymchenko, People's Artist of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko National Prize Winner, the first winner of Kateryna Bilokur Prize, member of the Ukrainian Union of Artists and National Folk Art Masters Union of Ukraine.
Bright talent of this skilled artist has become apparent in different areas and genres of art - decorative painting, landscape and monumental painting, ornamentation of textile, porcelain and wood. Her art teacher Tetiana Pata has endowed Marfa with high professional attitude to creative work, as well as feelings of genetic belonging to Petrykivka school of decorative painting.
The first art works by M. Tymchenko, created on a white paper, were quite close in composition to traditional Petrykivka traditions. They are distinguished by color scale of floral ornaments (Bouquet of Flowers, 1949; Decorative Pane, 1958; Decorative Motif, 1959). Red, green, dark blue and black were the major colours of the artist's paintings - this was influenced by Petrykivka school. Gradually she expands traditional approaches by expanding the color scale, adding images of birds, domestic animals and beasts to her compositions (Bear Looking For Honey, 1963; Ducks, 1964; Where Is The Nightingale?, 1964; Sheep, 1966). In 1970s Marfa Tymchenko became interested in landscape and folk painting, thus she mastered new art means, starting to draw by tempera and oil paints on canvas and cardboard (Bridge Of Lysohub, 1972; Cows In The Meadow, 1977; Under Mums Wing, 1980; The Dawn, 1981).
Creatively developing Petrykivka art traditions, based on the centuries long principles of folk philosophy and world outlook, Marfa Tymchenko succeeded in making her decorative ornamentation quite individual. She has created hundreds of original floral compositions on a paper, oil, porcelain and cardboard, a great part of which can be found in museum collections in Ukraine and abroad. Widely using ethnographic realities of the surrounding environment, interpreting symbolic elements of folk art, authentic folk rites and customs, traditional lifestyles, Marfa Tymchenko creates an artistic ethnic history of her nation.
A special charm distinguishes her paintings of a folklore series (Ivan Kupalo Feast, 1985; Chernihiv Legend, 1952; Cheerful Village Of Sorochyntsi, 1990; To The Sorochyntsi Fair, 2006; Match-Making In Honcharivka, 2001). She expresses her sacred feelings, rooted in the Ukrainian people's traditional culture, genetic memory, in a series of her thematic paintings devoted to village life (At The Threshing Floor, 1993; Girls Co To Harvest Reaping, 1996-1997; The Native House, 2001; Old Woman Named Pavlenko, 2003; The Master, 2004).
In thematic compositions with the depiction of people's everyday life and national landscapes we can trace the memoirs about the artist's personal life and her childhood with a deep psychological analyses (At Our Court Yard, 1992; Kozaks Wake Up At Dawn, 1993; Girl, Give Me Some Water To Drink, 1996; With My Mum At The Fair, 1996-1997).
Marfa Tymchenko's creative heritage is full of lyrical landscapes in which the artist aspires to recreate an image of the protogenic nature, ecologically safe environment, harmonic relations with the world of plants and animals (Willows, 1985; Morning In Village, 1985; Wind, 1989; Spring, 1991). Original romanticism dominates in landscapes with motifs on the Taras Shevchenko's poetry (Dnieper River At Storm, 1998; The Family Has Supper By The House, 1999; Before Cocks Singing, 2002). Recently Marfa Tymchenko has concentrated upon her recollections on the childhood, native village of Petrykivka, which resulted in her new art series (My Teacher Tetiana Pata, 2000; Housework With My Mother, 2001; / Mould And Draw, 2002).
Finally, it should be noted that Marfa Tym-chenko's creativity is deeply rooted in national background, history of Ukraine and Ukrainians. Her figurative ornamental-symbolical language, aspiration to create a unique world of beauty, harmonious relations and love, is followed by her daughter, grand-daughter and other modern folk painters. Such artists as Marfa Tymchenko are a phenomenon, a God's gift to the nation, and their high mission is to reveal the beauty of national soul and generosity of human heart, to promote and enrich spiritual tradition of their native people.
Yevhen SHEVCHENKO, Chairman of the National Folk Art
Masters Union of Ukraine, Honoured Man of Arts of Ukraine

Translated by Ihor POSHYVAILO