Elena Degenhardt is a German-Russian portrait and marine artist living in Malta, specialising in pastels.
During The Trail Elena will be working on a new piece of art and demonstrating her various techniques, paper types and the materials she uses. She is excited about the opportunity to meet people and talk about her work, particularly since, like most artists, she loves to escape the solitude of her studio to meet with her audience and answer their questions. “It is an opportunity for me to further introduce pastels to art collectors and artists and show that a work in pastels, correctly framed, will give joy to its owner without ever needing restoration,” Elena smiles.
“Since my recent move to Malta, light has become an important part of my artwork. The intensity and vibrancy of light is exceptional here. I have also become absolutely fascinated with the sea and now paint it in all its moods, en plein air and in my studio, in the hope that more people will take proper care of it. My own attitude towards the sea has always been one of both awe and fear, inner freedom and a longing for bonds and borders.”
Elena’s series Fleeting Memories was part of the multi-sensory exhibition Perception, at the Malta Society of Arts in Valletta in August 2018.
Elena is currently working on a series of pastel pieces exploring sea waters, which she calls ‘Meditations’. “In western European culture, time is a rapidly moving river, unavoidably leading us to the end – a rather frightening image,” she says. “Through these paintings of calm waters I explore time as something continuously moving with and around us, present in all its aspects in the here and now.”
She is also working on a series of large waves. “Painting breaking waves is an attempt to grasp a beautiful moment and hold it forever. A wave is a visual metaphor of time standing still.”
Elena is a Member of Association of Professional Artists of Austria, the Pastel Society of Malta and Malta Society of Arts. Her artwork can be found in private collections in Germany, UK, Russia, France, Switzerland, USA, Finland, Austria and Malta and exhibited internationally. She is also currently exhibiting with the Royal Society of Marine Artists at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London.
An art school graduate and MA degree holder in literature and languages, she became a professional artist in 2016 after 15 years of a successful career in teaching and translation. Elena had her first pastel classes with the British artist Jo Hall, SGFA, in 2015 and has been in love with them ever since. It is a very challenging medium, since pigments are mixed directly onto the painting surface and mistakes cannot easily be painted over as they can with oils or acrylics. Elena uses pastels of the highest quality, handmade in the UK. She works in various pastel techniques, in pure form and by combining pastels with charcoal, acrylics and watercolour, and she loves experimenting and moving between genres.