Elena Degenhardt is a Russian-German portrait and marine artist, currently living and working in Malta. She is a Member of Pastel Society of Malta, Malta Society of Arts and Association of Professional Artists of Austria. Her artwork can be found in private collections in Germany, UK, Russia, France, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Austria and Malta. She is exhibiting her work both in Malta and abroad, with two collective exhibitions currently on in Vienna, Austria.
An art school graduate and an MA degree holder in Literatures and Languages, she became a professional artist in 2016 after 15 years of a successful career in teaching and translations. In 2014-2015, while living and working in the UK, Elena had her first pastel classes with the talented British artist and tutor Jo Hall, an honorable member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art and its former president and has been in love with this versatile medium ever since. Soft pastels are one of the oldest but comparatively rare media nowadays. It is a very challenging medium as pigments are mixed directly onto the painting surface; mistakes in pastels cannot be easily painted over so technically it is a very difficult medium to master successfully. Elena uses professional, handmade pastels of the highest quality made by the British company UNISON. She draws and paints in various pastel techniques, both traditional and experimental, such as pastel wash, dry on wet, applying pastels with a paint brush, combining with other media like charcoal, acrylics or watercolour.
Elena is fascinated by the sea, people and light. Although mainly working in soft pastels, she also works in watercolour, acrylics, pencil and charcoal, usually from life and en plein air. Elena loves experimenting and easily moves between different media and painting subjects. At the moment, she is working on a series of pastel paintings exploring sea waters as a reflection of human psyche, a transcendental place and different concept of time. She is also working on a series of graphite drawings respresenting a human only through hands and feet exploring memory and time. These drawings are part of the European multi-sensory art project AMuSe and will be shown in the upcoming exhibition of the Malta Society of Arts 'Perception' in Valletta from August 2nd - 30th, 2018. Another project Elena is starting to work on is an environmental one dealing with the problem of plastic pollution of the sea and people’s escapism.
Just recently, Elena attended a three-day portrait master class with Gareth Reid, the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017, and life drawing classes with the artist and printmaker Jesmond Vassallo.