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All Eyes On Katerina Ring – Painting, Colors, Paradise

This week, we talked to Katerina Ring, an artist and one of our tutors, who is fully inspired by the natural world. She is trying to achieve her lifelong goal by being involved in some means of fundraising, activism, lobbying or employment in support of environment protection and the right of all creatures. She wants to get attention and speak for the voiceless with the exciting colours, abstracted and patterned backgrounds of her paintings. In our “Ten Questions“ Q&A session we talked to Katerina about travelling, teaching and painting at home and away.

1. Which trip / tour had the biggest impact on you and your life as an artist? Why?

October 2015, the 10 days tour, in Venice with Ryno Swart from Simons Town, South Africa. He taught us techniques derived from his studies at the art academy in Paris. I learned about "Palimpsest" in painting - layers still visible of past processes  or "something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.". I also loved how we were out the door by 6 am, practically painting nocturnes. I also spent 12 weeks at the Florence Academy of Art, which was not really a trip or tour, but it changed the way I see values and edges now. I started noticing compositions everywhere.

2. Why is travelling important for you as an artist?

I think most artists are curious people. We crave exposure to new cultures and environments. Travelling is the best way to immerse ourselves in "newness". When we return home, we also see our own neighborhood through refreshed eyes. I probably would not be an artist if I had not been around so much. Travelling helps us overcome challenges and expand our possibilities. Limitations fall away.

3. What’s your favourite destination to paint/take photos and why?

I adore painting in South Luangwa National Park (in Zambia) especially in the rainy season: 40 degrees Celsius and a thunderstorm on the way, with turquoise grasses sprouting in the dambos, and elephants strolling by. Sensory overload. Paradise.

4. Is there a destination you haven’t been to yet that you would love to visit?

Madagascar: baobabs, chameleons and lemurs!

5. What motivated you to start your teaching career?

I was asked by friends (members of an art group in Zambia) to show them how I paint a still life. After that, more friends asked for demos and instruction, so I started organizing workshops in my town, and in Zambian's capital, at the country's one (and only) art supply shop.

6. What were those formative days of teaching like?

Luckily I have a blunt friend who were happy to give me feedback. So I was able to improve weekly, to serve my students better. I spent much time reviewing, studying and compiling my notes from 20 years of workshops where I had been the student, mostly at Scottsdale Artist's school in Arizona, USA. I was passing on what I had learned from master painters. I am still just the conduit of that information.

7. What do you like most about the combination of teaching and travelling?

I get to share my favorite places with students and help them appreciate and record memories of nature, architecture, history, culture and art.

8. What was the funniest experience throughout your teaching career?

I had organized a Plein Air Safari in S. Luangwa National Park in Nov. 2013. We were all painting in an open area with a few large bushes, and a couple of trees. After an hour, the safari guide noticed that under one of the bushes a leopard had been chewing on a baby warthog the whole time we had been painting. The cats are quite common, just very furtive and hard to spot.

9. What inspires you and which motifs do you like best? Why?

I have an affection for harbors and ratty old finishing boats. I like grittiness and dilapidation, the passage of time clearly revealed. I also enjoy painting pumpkins and gourds. They have such character and diversity, they add colour to a scene. Demijohns: bulbous shiny green glass, covered by a textured straw basket. And baobabs, of course.

10.  What artists influence your work most?

For colour, I look at paintings by mannerist Pontormo, and graphic artist, painter, architect, and genius (who thought outside the box) Hundertwasser. I am a fan of Cezanne for his still lifes and plein air landscapes, Egon Schiele for line quality, Caravaggio for values and drama. Sorolla for brushwork and showing light. Modern painters whom I admire are several Russians and Ukrainians, for their use of chromatic grays to pop color.  Also Kevin Macpherson (USA) - a modern day master.

11. If you hadn’t become an artist, what would you be doing right now?

I might have worked at a conservation and breeding center for Ground Horn Bills, who are facing extinction in central and southern Africa.

12. You have a course coming up in October in Tuscany. Apart from this, do you have any upcoming shows, collaborations, book releases you would like us to know about?

I have a show in Lucca in September 2018. And I will also be teaching a workshop here in May 2019. I have just been asked by a Danish publishing company to collaborate on a book highlighting my painting techniques and the serendipitous circumstances, which led me to leave USA in 1995 to move to Germany, then Italy, Zambia for 10 years, and back to Italy, and become a full time painter in the process.

Posted in Artists, Painting on May 04, 2018