My DPW Spotlight interview

DPW Spotlight Interview: Christa Friedl
Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.


coconuts, oil on panel, 8×8 inches, give away painting

From Christa’s DPW Gallery:

Living part of the year in Europe (Vienna) and part in the US (Florida) I try to express the beauty that I see around me. I like plein-air painting most. The colors, the atmosphere are exceptional when painting on location. Each painting is a new opportunity to explore and learn and is like a new journey. It is very meditative, a peaceful time, a time of deep concentration. It is also alone time and nothing seems as important as the motive I am focusing on. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started drawing at an early age, and it was always my favorite subject in school. At the age of seven, I won an art contest. My painting was exhibited in the Vienna City Hall and an article about me was written in a well-known Austrian newspaper. Since that time, I desired to become an artist.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I wish I could have persuaded my parents to send me to the University of Arts in Vienna to get a Fine Arts degree. Instead, I studied economics and ended up owning a business with my husband. But I never stopped improving my skills in drawing and painting and took art classes in the evening at the college. Since 2005, I am a full-time artist and since two years, I have my own studio in downtown Vienna. My studio has become quite popular and has given me much joy.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I have experimented with nearly every medium and each has its own charm.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

My two preferred mediums are watercolor and oils. Both mediums are ideal to paint plein air, which I really enjoy. I love watercolor for its looseness, spontaneity, and transparency. For me, it is a very spontaneous medium. Many times I have had to react quickly and impulsively, without thinking too much about details, in order to create wonderful results. When painting with oils, I like the buttery consistency and luminosity, the blending of colors, and the shiny finish.

Cafe Schwarzenberg Vienna, watercolor


Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I definitely look forward to exploring mixed media on different surfaces.

Who or what inspires you most?

There are a lot of artists I admire, especially the impressionists. Above all, Monet, but also John Singer Sargent who was excellent in both of my favorite mediums. I have a high regard for Sergei Bongart for his rich colors and emotional brushstrokes in landscapes, still lifes, and portraits.

sardine, oil on panel, 8×8 inches


What does procrastination look like for you?

Procrastination is rarely an issue for me but time management is always a battle.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

My best time is in the morning, so I get up early and start each new day with painting. Believe me, that is the best way to start a new day. When the weather is fine, I go out for plein air painting; otherwise, I paint in my studio in the morning. In the afternoon, I teach some art classes at my studio.

Long Shadows, watercolor, 30×24 cm

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I get my inspiration by going out into nature to do some painting or sketching. When I am outdoors and nature surrounds me, all my senses (visual, audible perception, sense of smell) are awake and that affects a painting. I get all these impressions from nature, and it is an ongoing process that I want to express in my paintings. Copying nature is not my goal. Catching the special moment of the day, the light, and the color I see is what I want to relate to my audience.

How do you keep art fresh? What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I enjoy reading the many art books I have. Visiting art museums is also a great inspiration. Across the street from my studio is the famous Castle Belvedere. In its museum is a permanent show of some of my favorite painters, including a few paintings by Monet. Therefore, I am just five minutes away from enjoying some of the most interesting and beautiful art.

At rest, oil on panel

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I want to observe more intensely, get totally connected with the subject, and slow down the painting process a little bit.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Of course, I am excited when the viewer connects with my art and I get positive responses, but above all, I love the creative process when I get the rhythm in a painting and the brushstrokes come by themselves without too many cognitive interruptions.

Thanks, Christa!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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