Art with a global conscience: at an exhibition near you soon…

Petra Rðhr-Rouendaal has worked all over the world, and this is reflected in her art, which draws on global themes and influences.

She is exhibiting in the RBSA’s Members and Associates exhibition, which opens on 23 November.

Her interest in art started from an early age, as she told ART BLOG…

“From early childhood I wanted to be an artist. My father was a Sunday painter: he bought me a little folding chair (which I still have) and an easel. Sometimes we went out together to do landscape paintings.

My family fled to what is now Poland during the bombing raids on Hamburg. We lived there on a farm and as a little toddler I started to draw the farm animals.

Later, back in Hamburg when I was about eight, I went to the local station to watch people coming off the train. My sister had to come with me, and I remember I told her the name, age, profession, habits etc. of all these people.

This of course was all made up.

Later still, when I wanted to go to art school, I went into local pubs (Kneipe, in German) and sketched the guests, charging them about one pound per drawing.

I raised enough money to pay the art school fee.

I also often went to the Reeperbahn, the Red Light District in Hamburg, to draw prostitutes as they rested during the day. My interest in faces, body language and people of all cultures and ethnic groups still continues.

I lived in Botswana for ten years. That time had a profound impact on my life and I keep on going back, sometimes for three months at a time.

Living in South Africa, then Botswana and many other African countries made me love the continent and gave me a bit of understanding of African people and their way of living and thinking.

I try to express my feeling and understanding of Africa in my work.”

“Last year I stayed with friends in a village where I met Louis, a Zimbabwean refugee. She managed to find some work there and I spent quite a bit of time with her, teaching art to her children.

I painted her in a way which I hope shows her strength but also her suffering.

Another time, in Botswana, my husband and I drove past a bus stop where I saw the woman holding a small child, both looking for the bus. I made a two-second sketch…

I did my first sculpture with a potter friend in Botswana. I loved the process so much I decided to give up my illustration work completely and focus more on sculpture than painting. Working with clay is relaxing, meditative. I love it!

I recently dug out that two-second sketch and now, years later, I have made it into a sculpture.”

Petra has designed around 50 book covers, illustrated more than 80 educational books and 14 children’s books, numerous posters, educational comic strips, leaflets, logos, postage stamps, greeting cards and T-shirts for charities and NGOs.

She is a member of several art groups and says:

“I decided to join the Midlands Potters Association to learn more from experienced potters. They are very supportive.

I also joined the Birmingham Art Circle. We all know each other, and we learn from each other in our monthly meetings. I also like to support the local art Society in Sutton Coldfield, and I am an RBSA member too.

Being an artist is a lonely existence, I think it is important to get feedback from other artists from time to time.”

Petra’s advice to artists just starting out:

  1. Keep a sketchbook with you at all times

  2. Note down visually or in text what you see

  3. Learn to draw properly, even if later you do not work in a representational way

  4. Look at other artists work, get inspired

With most works of art for sale, our Members and Associates Exhibition is an ideal opportunity to find that unique Christmas gift.

You’ll find a beautiful selection of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, portraits, sculptures, abstracts, prints and more!

#RBSA #contemporaryartinBirmingham #contemporaryart #birminghamgallery #birminghamartexhibitions #artforsale

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