Elena Degenhardt is a Russian-German artist working mainly in soft pastels but also in watercolours, acrylics, pencil and charcoal. She is currently living in Malta. Elena specializes in portraits and landscapes, working usually from life and en plein air. An Art School graduate with a certificate of excellence and recommendation for further art studies, she obtained MA degree in English, Russian and Literatures in 2001 followed by 15 years of teaching and translating in various countries in Europe. In 2013, while living and working in the UK, Elena joined a local painting society, exhibited with them and, having won Adlington Award for the most innovative artwork for her piece 'Cafe in Barcelona' at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead, UK, in 2014, took time out from teaching and spent a year attending art classes in soft pastels, acrylics and watercolour illustrations led by British artists and tutors Jo Hall, Karen Carter, Gary Spencer and Erica Sharp. Since 2016 Elena has been working as a professional artist. In 2017 she participated in the ArtWalk18 group exhibition in Vienna, Austria. In 2017, after the evaluation of her selected artwork by the jury, Elena was elected a Member of Association of Professional Artists of Austria/Berufsvereinigung der Bildenden Kuenstler Österreichs (www.art-bv.at). She exhibited with them in Palace Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria in January 2018 and in the juried, themed exhibition 'Aufbruch zum Licht'/'Towards the Light' in Otto Mauer Zentrum, Vienna, Austria in March 2018. Elena has recently become a Member of Malta Society of Arts and Pastel Society of Malta and regularly participates in their exhibitions. To further develope her portrait skills, Elena took part in the 3-day Portrait Master Class with Gareth Reid, the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017, and attended a four-month Life Drawing Class with artist and printmaker Jesmond Vassallo, at Malta Society of Arts, in Valletta, Malta in October-January 2017/18.