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The World Through His Eyes

Renowned young artist will showcase his work in McLean.

Like many of Georgie Pocheptsov's paintings, "Lullaby" tells a story.

It contrasts the emotional states of two pregnant women in a swimming pool with their unborn babies. One is happy, thus making her baby happy, while the other pair wallows in sadness.

One might say the sad mother/baby clashes with what Georgie said is his normal imaginative world, where everything is "fun, happy and harmonious."

But one wouldn't make too big a deal about it. After all, Georgie drew it at 3 and a half years.

Now he's 14, and his imagination and painting talent have taken the Philadelphia native to exotic places and to heights rarely achieved by anyone.

His paintings sell for as much as $100,000. He has been commissioned to paint by people such as Michael Jordan, Colin Powell and Celine Dion. He's been featured in magazines including Time and People. He's made appearances on television shows such as "Good Morning America" and the "Today" show.

On Sept. 8-9, Georgie will host a showing of his art at the Wentworth Gallery in Tyson's Galleria in McLean. The show will run from 6-9 p.m. each day. Part of a tour of Wentworth galleries throughout the country, the arrangement came about from a meeting between Georgie's mother, Dubrava, and Michael O'Mahoy, owner of Wentworth Gallery and a great admirer of Georgie's.

"I met her originally five years ago, and we've kept in touch ever since," O'Mahoy said. "I just told her that he's a really, really good artist and that we should do something together. And we did."

Speaking from his home in Wilmington, N.C., Georgie said he doesn't think as much about the success as he does about the joy of the craft he uses to obtain that success.

"When more and more people loved my art, that's when I realized it was more than a hobby," Georgie said. "It's basically what I love to do."

Driven by an active imagination, Georgie takes what he sees and puts it into a complex weaving of images and colors. He'll glance at a swimming pool and see two pregnant women, look around while on a cruise and notice the "beautiful" sea plants and animals, scan cities such as New York and Chicago and get a hint of the many different cultures.

"It's basically the world around me," Georgie said.

Georgie paints mostly with acrylic paint because it dries quicker than oil. He can then see more quickly how the story comes out.

"My world, my imaginative world, is a fruit bowl," Georgie said. "It's abstract, and it has vibrant colors."

Seventeen months into Georgie's life, his career began. One day his mother gave him some paper and a pencil to doodle as he saw fit.

He doodled an antique car parked across the street.

"I just thought, he can't do that, and he already can," Dubrava Pocheptsov said.

Georgie said he can vaguely remember drawing that antique car. What's not vague, however, was how much he enjoyed doing it. So he kept doing it again and again.

"I just kept working and working at it," Georgie said. "When I started, I was just doing what I love."

As time went on and more pieces like "Lullaby" and "Mumbo Jumbo," painted at age 4, came up, people began to take notice. His mother showed his paintings to her friends who commented on her son's talent.

“The said ‘Georgie’s very very creative,’” Dubrava Pocheptsov said. “You should just do something because he’s very very good."

Perhaps the turning point was when Colin Powell commissioned him to do a painting for his birthday.

He was living in D.C. after moving from Philadelphia in 1998. While doing a show at the Discovery Gallery in Bethesda, Md. and receiving coverage from Fox News, Powell took notice.

"He called the gallery, and Georgie did a painting for his birthday," Dubrava Pocheptsov said. "He went to a birthday party for him in the White House."

The rest, of course, is history.

Georgie makes sure to point out that he is a "normal kid." He plays basketball, swims, plays tennis, runs and does web design, among other things.

"I'll do almost anything, like, even little stuff, like playing with a Frisbee," Georgie said.

He takes two hours every day to paint. He will sometimes work on 20 pictures in a day. He said pictures usually take four to six months to complete.

Sometimes he'll be working on a piece while his friends are over. And he uses them, often incorporating up to 10 of his friends' suggestions into one piece.

"If anything, they actually help me with my art," Georgie said.

His mother notes that, even with his calling in life clearly mapped out and explored on a daily basis, his school work has not suffered. Far from it.

"He's an A-plus student," Dubrava Pocheptsov said. "Never got any lower than that."

Nevertheless, Georgie knows that he receives his most important education every time he applies a stroke to canvas.

"This is what I love to do, and I want to do it all my life," Georgie said.