15/07/2013 09:11 BST | Updated 12/09/2013 06:12 BST

Love Alive in Art: Creative Love in Our DNA

Ana's Thought: "Artist - stop searching for perfection. Creativity is a natural gift."

Before I knew a career in art was waiting in my future, I could feel that it was my calling. The urge to create was a latent gift in my heart, remaining unopened until the perfect moment. When I first began to paint, it was before no audience but myself. It was my private sanctuary, a place for me to grow before reaching out to the world.


Detail from Ana Tzarev's Merchant Ship Arrives.

Little did I know that, at this same moment, my sister also answered the creative call growing louder within her own heart. Before this time, our desire to paint was unspoken. We pursued the goals of education, love, and family - I lived all around the world, she remained in our home country of Croatia. In a single, precious instant, we discovered our shared destiny. Our divergent lives led to divergent styles, as distinct as can be: my work glistening with joyous flowers and cultures of the globe while hers swirled with heady seascapes and expressive portraits. Today, we can proudly stand to offer our visions to the world. We are sisters bound by the art pulsing through our lineage and casting colour into our DNA: Ana Tzarev and Milijada Barada, painters of emotion and of life.


Detail from Milijada Barada's Jedrenjak po uzburkanom More.

Milijada and I are part of a grand tradition, a familiar tale. As we gaze upon records of art history, we find that this phenomenon - the drive to create being coded into sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers - is more common than one would imagine! In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, art families were scattered over Europe, as 'artist' was viewed as a trade like any other. One of the more famous among these families, the Brueghel clan, spanned four generations.


Detail of floral work by Jan Brueghel the Elder and The Corn Harvest by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Starting with patriarch Pieter Bruegel the Elder, this Flemish family found success not only through serious dedication and training but also through their inherent aptitude for painting. If we are to look upon this family's body of work as a whole, our eyes fill with gorgeousness: bright flower arrangements, lush landscapes, skillfully rendered scenes from myth and reality. Their gift is one to be savored for all time.


Detail from Octave Tassaert's The Temptation of St. Hilarion.

From the mid 15th century to the early 17th century, the Tassaert family was a strong presence in the realm of visual arts. Among the numerous relatives who made their careers as artists, we find painters, sculptors, engravers, and miniaturists, providing the world with decades of elegant beauty. To find such adeptness in bloom along the branches of a single family tree, we muse, "It simply must run in their blood!"

How glad I am that my sister and I did not ignore that call within so long ago - without taking a leap of faith, the gift in our DNA would never be opened and shared with others. I encourage you to listen close to the longing in your soul, the gentle song of destiny that guides each of our paths. You will be amazed at where your abilities can take you - even into history!

To learn more about the art of Ana Tzarev, visit

To learn more about the art of Milijada Barada, visit