Pencil portrait or a caricature from a photo

A pencil portrait or a caricature from a photo would be a great gift for your friends or relatives. Professional Russian artist Nikolai Alekseev can make a day for people who are dear to you: for a donation of 25 USD he can portray your friend or relative by enhancing his/her inner state. To have Nikolai draw a pencil portrait or a caricature, please send several good quality images to the following e-mail:

MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com

When the pencil portrait is ready, a high quality scanned image (600 dpi) will be sent back to you. As social networks are quite popular nowadays it will be easy for the portrait receiver to post it to his/her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Inasmuch as the artist lives in Russia, it would be rather expensive to send the original work to your country. However if that is your preference, please be prepared to cover the postage expense.

By ordering a pencil portrait or pencil caricature, you will not only make your friends and/or family happy, but also support Nikolai and me – as all the money received will be used for our artistic projects whilst traveling to picturesque places throughout Russia to bring you new photos and paintings to enjoy.


Pencil Portrait Drawing – #1

Photos: Alex Markovich.

Camera: NIKON D3100.

March 21, 2015.

Belgorod, Russia. Cafe “Calipso”.

Artist: Nikolai Alekseev.




Continue reading “Pencil Portrait Drawing – #1”

Abstract Mood #5

Photo: Alex Markovich.

Camera: Microsoft Lumia 550.

July 9, 2016.

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Artist’s inspiration

Photo: Alex Markovich.

Camera: Microsoft Lumia 550.

July 19, 2016.

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Spring Poetry #6

Photo: Alex Markovich.

Camera: SONY SLT-A55V.

May 7, 2015.



Photo: Alex Markovich.

Camera: SONY SLT-A55V.

June 11, 2016.


Markovich Travel

I have started my Travel to Russia project where I offer potential visitors to my country the opportunity to return home with a warm pictorial record of their trip to Russia.

In the following category “Markovich Travel” I am posting the pictures from my trips to different parts of Russia:


I will greatly appreciate it if you were to share, via your social networks or blogs the links on my trips along Mother Russia. Only a few fortunate adventurers might travel to Russia; but those who are interested in my country might be given the opportunity to have a virtual tour through these pictures. By sharing, you also help me in my new endeavors to promote my services.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkovichTravel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/MarkovichTravel

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MarkovichTravel

If you enjoy my photography and feel that you get inspired by the pictures I take, I would appreciate any voluntary donation. All the donations will be used for my artistic projects and traveling to picturesque places to bring you more images to enjoy. All the pictures I take (including reportage or event photography) I do on the basis of pure enjoyment and getting interesting material on various subjects. For me – photography is a passion, not a profession.

Modern Russia

Written by Al Lawrence (an American with whom I used to work as an interpreter in 2008), following a journey through the heart of Mother Russia.

What was Churchill’s quote……. “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”……. got that right! SNAFU (for those of you who can remember the old WW2 expression) describes conditions most succinctly. Russia is two countries: Moscow and maybe St. Petersburg tacked on and then. There is the rest of Russia. On several occasions, people have said to me “Went to bed one night and woke up in another country”.

Moscow: unabashedly boisterous, extravagant, awash with oil and gas profits, garish, choked with traffic and pollution and populated by the neuvo-rich and wheelers and dealers of the “new” Russia. An embodiment of the old adage “The good, the Bad and the Ugly”; mostly good – I reckon! The Rest: confused, poor, sometimes angry, disillusioned, disenfranchised, and saddest of all, holding out little hope for the future. And why shouldn’t they be all of “the above”…….  In the span of a few short years, their Motherland did a 180 degree turn from communism to capitalism.

Also, in that same abbreviated timespan occurred a seismic shift from secularism to religion. It was not unusual, during social occasions, for some to reflect upon the “old days”, and one got the sense that at some level, there was a nostalgia for the old ways, i.e. communism. This usually played itself out along demographic lines, with the older generation most often expressing these views.

I couldn’t help but to harken back to the darkest days of WW2, with Moscow under imminent threat, Stalingrad decimated and the siege of Leningrad, Stalin somehow had the wisdom to appeal to Soviet Patriotism, rather than Communism to rally the people, and by God, it worked: Mother Russia was the rallying cry. Interestingly enough, in spite of “all of the above”, by and large they approached life with a wry, stoic, earthy good humor, which seems to be the quintessence of the soul and character of the Russian people. They were both engaged and engaging. An expression which I heard on several occasions exemplifies their outlook: “And that’s how we live” – resigned, but still determined to live life to the fullest, and by and large they do. It could conceivably take two, perhaps three generations for them to sort out the conundrum that they are now experiencing.

The people with whom I came into contact were with few exceptions, friendly, inquisitive and outgoing. The risk is, that historically unaccustomed to freedom and democracy (of a sort), and rife with disillusionment, they may revert back to a more familiar (comfortable) mode, such as some sort of totalitarian government. Democracy is fragile and must be tended. Alas, I fear, some form of totalitarianism is the more historically natural state of mankind, in spite of all the recent, Pollyanna-like comments emanating from different sources. The Russian elite does not consider the current status quo as final. All the countries of this region are highly unstable, and subject to unpredictable events. No one here believes that the transition of the post-Soviet configuration has reached its final disposition.

Dramatic geopolitical changes are threatening a return to hot war, involving enclaves of ethnic Russians within ex USSR territories (Georgia, Ukraine, etc.). This time with an oil-rich, stronger Russia standing unambiguously behind the separatist movements. Historically, Russia has always had a siege mentality, in many cases, with good reason. NATO’s real and planned extension Eastwards is currently viewed as a threat.

Disclaimer: These comments are my personal observations.

Al Lawrence, 2008. 

The Golden Ring of Russia. Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life. Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia. 50 images

The Golden Ring of Russia is a ring of cities northeast of Moscow, the capital of Russia. They formerly comprised the region known as Zalesye. These ancient towns, which also played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in Russian history. The towns have been called “open-air museums” and feature unique monuments of Russian architecture of the 12th–18th centuries, including kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals, and churches. These towns are among the most picturesque in Russia and prominently feature Russia’s famous onion domes.

Suzdal is a town and the administrative center of Suzdalsky District in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Kamenka River, 26 kilometers (16 mi) north of the city of Vladimir, the administrative center of the oblast.

Suzdal is one of the oldest Russian towns. In the 12th century it became the capital of the principality, with Moscow being merely one of its subordinate settlements. Nowadays Suzdal is the smallest of the Russian Golden Ring towns with population of just 9,978 (2015), but a major tourist attraction.

Museum of Wooden Architecture of Suzdal keeps numerous examples of old wooden architecture and is considered to be a little corner of classical ancient Russia.

The museum was founded in 1968 on the place of the former Dmitrievskiy monastery, the oldest one in Suzdal. The wooden constructions from all over Vladimir Oblast were brought to the museum. Noteworthy that all buildings are actual constructions that people lived and worked in. Apart from the churches there are typical houses of peasants, wells, mills and barns in the museum. Today the museum of Wooden Architecture is a venue for various Suzdal festivals.

Photos: Alex Markovich.

Camera: SONY DSC-R1.

October 2014.




Continue reading “The Golden Ring of Russia. Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life. Suzdal, Vladimir Oblast, Russia. 50 images”

Winter Poetry #3

Photo: Alex Markovich.


February 6, 2015.