Elena Degenhardt is an award-winning German-Russian portrait and marine artist specialising in contemporary realism. She is a member of the Association of Professional Artists of Austria, Pastel Guild of Europe, Pastel Society of Malta and Malta Society of Arts. Born in Russia in 1977, Elena spent her early years in Germany and Latvia. Graduated from Irkutsk Regional Youth Art School in Russia with a certificate of excellence, she went on to do two Master degrees in languages and literature, and then to work as a teacher and translator in various European countries for 15 years. It was whilst living in England in 2014 that Elena joined a local art society and started exhibiting with them. Having won the art society's Annual Exhibitrion Award for the most innovative artwork at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead, Elena took time out from teaching and spent a year attending art classes in soft pastels, acrylics and drawing. Elena had pastel classes with the British artist Jo Hall, SGFA, and has been in love with this versatile medium ever since, working in various pastel techniques, in pure form or combining them with charcoal, acrylics and watercolour.
In 2015, Elena and her family moved to Vienna, Austria, where she continued exploring various media, techniques, styles and genres finding her way back to art. In 2017 she applied for a juried membership in the Austrian Association of Professional Artists, was accepted and started working as a full time artist. Elena's multicultural and multilingual experience and change of citizenship in 2003 after moving to Germany have definitely influenced her artistic choice of themes such as (lost) identities, a sense of belonging, displacement, loss, memory and time.
Elena is currently based in Malta but exhibiting internationally. Her work has been shown in juried or curated art shows with the Royal Society of Marine Artists at the Mall Galleries, London, UK, Contemporary Art Gallery KreativRaum Galerie, Vienna, with the Association of Professional Artists of Austria at Schonbrunn Palace, at Malta Society of Arts, Valletta, as part of multi-sensorial European art project AMUSE, at the International Watercolour Convention in Fabriano, Italy.
Elena's artwork has been accepted into the International Association of Pastel Society's 34th Juried Exhibition at the 2019 IAPS Convention Pastel World Exhibition, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her work has been featured several times in national press and media and internationally, in the award-winning pastel blog by the Canadian artist Gail Sibley, FASO Informed Collector and Artists&Illustrators Magazine, UK. Recently she was invited to write a guest blog for Pegasus Art, UK. In November 2018, Elena's painting 'The Breath' received the 'Outstanding Pastel' award in the BoldBrush Painting Competition, while her other work 'Mediation V. The Subconscious' won the 3d place in the Pastel Guild of Europe's winter competition. Besides creating artwork for exhibitions, Elena works on numerous portrait and seascape commissions. Her artwork is in private collections throughout Europe, the USA and Canada. She is planning to begin teaching workshops in her Malta studio in the nearest future.