Friday, August 3, 2007

Artist Profile: Kristina Gehrmann

I remember when I first stumbled across the gallery of Kristina Gehrmann. After taking a women’s art history course over the summer, I had a newfound appreciation for the classics. Upon seeing Kristina’s work, I was awestruck by the lighting and composition she managed to pull off in her pieces. Known as Maidith online, Kristina was born in Leverkusen, Germany on May 12, 1989. She currently resides in Meerbusch, Germany and is getting ready to take her A-level exams in 2008. Her artwork is reminiscent of the great Baroque painters such as Rembrandt and Artemisia Gentileschi. Kristina shows great understanding of different techniques and style and certainly has the potential to become one of the great ‘classic’ painters of our time.

How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been doodling since I could hold a pencil and simply love doing it. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different media and I’m still looking for my favorite kind. Though right now, I currently work mainly with my graphics tablet and oil paint. I’ve been doing digital art since 2002.

How did you get interested in art?

I have no idea what exactly got me into art. It was just something fun to do, but also a challenge from the very beginning. I remember trying to copy Disney images closely when I was about 6 years old. I wanted them to look "right", which didn't always work out but I kept drawing anyway. Pictures in general often made me want to be able to draw like the pictures I saw too. When I was very young, I saw an old master painting in a museum, I can't remember how it looked like, but it left me extremely impressed. In general, I could say: I always wanted to be able to draw or paint - pictures proved to me what was possible, so I just had to keep trying. I'm working to improve my techniques and drawing abilities in order to to achieve what I want with a certain work.

Who are your influences?

I would have to say, the paintings of the old masters. They always impress me when I see them in museums. I love how they tell stories or manage to get the character of a person across to the viewer. I also admire their ability to express religious sentiments. Influences for certain pictures can be all kinds of things, such as poems, songs, even a number, or the atmosphere of a European town. The painters who have influenced me would be J.M. William Turner whose paintings I adore and Eugène Delacroix, as well as the Baroque painters.

How would you describe your style?

I'm still looking for one. It’s hard to tell :). But so far, I'd say: Baroque, it’s sometimes colorful and shiny and sometimes dark-ish. I'm still experimenting with everything.

Can you describe your general approach to creating a picture?

I try to imagine the picture first. The better I know in advance what I want to paint, the less frustrating it will be trying to get everything "right". Color and composition are the most important things, so that's what I think about first - they'll determine the mood of the entire piece. Then, when I know what I want, I look for references. One can't get everything to look very convincing when drawing from imagination, especially if you go for realism. If I want to paint figures, I take photos of myself or a friend, and make a line drawing from those. (Sometimes, it also happens that I doodle along and suddenly a picture evolves, and the figure looks promising but not quite right - in that case I have to look for a reference too). I always paint on a colored background. On top of the line drawing, I block in the final colors with all light and shadow, until the picture is - very roughly - already there. Everything else is merely detailing, refining and correcting mistakes.

What programs do you primarily use for you art?

I use Photoshop 7 mostly, sometimes also Painter IX. But my Aiptek HyperPen 12000U graphics tablet is most important to me.

What's your favorite traditional media?

It's oil, I think. I love the smell of oil paints, and the rich, thick texture. I'm also working more with watercolors and colored inks. They can be hard to control but such beautiful colors are possible with transparent layers. The paintings can have a very nice glow.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to be an illustrator for fairy tale books, like Kinuko Y. Craft (who is also one of my idols) or a portrait painter. I'm working on my oil painting skills so I can become good enough for that. I also would love to be an instructor at a traditional art academy (one that focuses on drawing and painting realistically), teaching people who love painting and truly want to learn.

Your work shows that you have a lot of skill in traditional painting. How do you feel about the apparent divide between digital art and those done with traditional media?

Traditional media
works are best seen in person, like when they hang in a gallery - on the Internet, they always look different. Digital art, on the contrary, is made on the computer and viewed well online (though it is possible to make really, really good prints from digital paintings). But then again, digital art can also include other areas, not just painting. For instance, photo manipulations, fractals or 3D art which is like sculpting. This is a completely new medium and maybe, some fifty years from now on, we will have books about the history of digital art, just like there are books about the history of watercolor. Who knows? :)

Any advice for other aspiring artists?

Always challenge yourself. It'll help you to become better at what you love to do. Paint what you truly love to paint and copy the artworks you admire, not to imitate the artist but to learn about their technique. Don't worry about your own unique style, it will come, you can't avoid it. Also try to draw a lot from nature, figure drawing classes work wonders. Most of all, paint, sketch and doodle all day long, or at least as often as you can.

If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be?

Uh oh, good question. I'd probably want to meet all the great artists I admire, and watch them paint, and ask them lots of questions. But if I have to pick one, it'd be Michelangelo. I’m sure, he would be very interesting to talk to, not just because of his artwork but also his era of time, the people he knew, and general gossip :).

Any other comments or things you'd like to address?

Just an advice I can give to all artists out there: Do what you love and push yourself to become good at it. I'm also looking forward to what the future will bring for the art world, especially when it comes to digital painting. We will see =).

To see more works by Kristina you can visit her online galleries at: - Homepage
http://maidith.deviantart.comdeviantART account

You can also email Kristina at kristina[at]


Becky said...

Hey, this is a great idea! I'll definitely be keeping up with this blog.

Rococo Flow said...

Thank you!:)