Five questions to Karin Czermak

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Karin Czermak, born 1977 in Steyr, is an Austria based artist. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi. Karin’s work is inspired by natural areas. Based on numerous outdoor sketches her paintings are a representation of feeling a landscape, rather than a record of seeing it.How did you get into art?

Since I was a child, I have loved to express myself by artistic means – dance, music, taking pictures, painting, etc. I grew up traveling the world, exploring new cultures and places – with an endlessly growing desire to capture the beauty of these places. I quickly discovered the power of sketching and painting as tools to not merely document the outside world but rather creating emotional and visual memories. This is where it all started for me.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

My work is rooted in the natural world but goes beyond depicting a landscape as such. I use loose brushstrokes, combined with gestural pastel marks to reinvent my very own vision of a place. I aim at creating atmospheric and timeless paintings – wavering between abstraction and realism.

My paintings invite you to look closer and discover places made up by open brushwork and vibrant colours. In my paintings the landscape remains fragmented yet expressive. Shapes and colours invite you to find your very own landscape: mountain views, coastlines, purple lavender fields…How do you go about developing your work?

My creation process starts on walks and hikes, immersing myself in the landscape around me. There I love to do quick plein air sketches. Drawing directly from life gives me a chance to experience nature with all my senses. The spicy scent of pine trees. The dense fog covering the grass. The sun highlighting the autumn-coloured trees. I appreciate these impressions and collect them as colour notes and shapes from nature. Back in my studio I translate these sketches onto large canvas. I love to keep the brushwork loose and open using contrasting pastel lines to further define the landscape. Who or what influences you?

Nature inspires me. My love for mountains, seascapes or woodlands stimulates my creative process and influences my work. I cherish the moments outside – where I can explore light and shadow in my sketchbook and create colour combinations which fascinate me.

Works by contemporary landscape artists keep me curious. I love how some artists construct landscapes with only a view gestural brushstrokes and I am intrigued by the details of realist landscapes.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

I plan to further explore the treasures of nature in my work - may they be small, hidden or screaming for attention. I love to experiment with different techniques and materials and discover new ways to express myself artistically. Recently I discovered the magical world of Cyanotypes. I love the unpredictable outcome and imperfections of these prints. Combined with using gold, this technique has opened a whole new palette of possibilities to me to bring nature in all its senses on paper. I am hugely excited to further immerge myself in all kinds of creative processes to construct pieces of art which bring nature into people’s homes.Learn more about the artist: