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“My painting is lively, multifaceted and expressive – like a singing voice in JAZZ! I create Art for the soul…”

Petra Stelling: A Journey from Constraint to Creative Liberation

Petra Stelling, a self-taught German artist born in 1968, has a story that resonates with the transformative power of artistic expression. Living in Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein, she initially pursued social work, a path chosen due to familial circumstances. Despite this divergence, her inherent passion for art remained undiminished. This dedication to art was not just a professional choice but a personal one, as it offered a means to navigate and reshape the contours of her life. Stelling’s creative journey, marked by a transition from a structured life to one of artistic freedom, illustrates the profound impact of environment on an artist’s work.

The pivotal moment in Petra’s artistic evolution came with her move to a new studio in April 2022. This change catalyzed a dramatic shift in her style, which became more expressive and unrestrained. The spacious studio environment provided Stelling the liberty to explore her “inner rebel yell,” a metaphorical release from the confines of societal expectations. Now over 50, Petra embraces this newfound artistic freedom with vigor, demonstrating that self-discovery and radical change can occur at any stage in life. Her story is a compelling testament to the idea that it is never too late to redefine oneself and pursue one’s true passions, even in fields as demanding and unforgiving as the arts.

Petra Stelling: Roots in Inspiration and Artistic Beginnings

Petra Stelling’s artistic inclinations were nurtured from a young age, inspired by her Grand-Uncle, Rudolf Stelling, a professional artist known for his vibrant landscapes and cloud impressions. His influence set the foundation for Petra’s initial foray into art, where she emulated his style, working primarily with oil and acrylic to create figurative landscapes. This familial connection not only seeded her artistic interests but also connected her to a legacy of artistic expression, grounding her work in a personal history that she would later expand upon in her unique way.

Stelling’s professional art career took a significant leap in 2003 with her first solo exhibition at a local gallery-restaurant, which garnered both public attendance and media attention. This event marked the beginning of a series of group and solo exhibitions, culminating in her expanding her reach to digital exhibitions, including one in Miami in 2023. Petra’s progression from local exhibitions to digital international platforms showcases her evolving artistic presence and her ability to adapt to the changing landscapes of art distribution and appreciation. Her journey reflects a dedication to her craft and a willingness to embrace new methods of sharing her work, illustrating the dynamic nature of a modern artist’s career.

The Evolution of Petra Stelling’s Artistic Style

Petra Stelling’s art is a vivid reflection of her internal world, characterized by lively, multifaceted, and expressive creations. In recent months, her work has evolved into a more abstract and expressive form, mirroring the tumultuous state of the world. This shift is indicative of Stelling’s sensitivity to her surroundings and her ability to channel her emotional responses into her art. As a highly sensitive person, Petra uses intuitive painting as a means of self-exploration and personal development. Her work, therefore, becomes not just a form of expression but also a tool for spiritual connection and healing. The act of painting, often accompanied by music ranging from heavy metal to mantras, allows her to transform the vibrations of sound into visual energy on the canvas.

Stelling’s artistic themes are as varied and profound as her style. She delves into subjects like emotions, mental health, female empowerment, and what she describes as “profound soulful landscapes.” This thematic richness is matched by her use of diverse materials – acrylic paints, gouache, oil pastels, and even unconventional items like coffee, glitter, and gold paper. Petra’s hands, which she refers to as her “magic hands,” become instruments that bring these materials together on the canvas. Through layers of paint, added textures, and deliberate markings, her works become tapestries of life, capturing its scars, shadows, and vibrancy. This approach to art-making not only showcases her versatility but also her deep engagement with the process of creation, where each piece is a journey through the complexities of human experience.

Petra Stelling: Artistic Influences and a Healing Creation

Petra Stelling’s creative process is significantly influenced by her artistic environment and the need to manage distractions. Her art studio, a cozy 30 square meter space near her apartment, serves as her sanctuary. It’s a place where light and warmth foster creativity, further enhanced by the presence of a small drum kit, which she uses as an emotional outlet. The studio’s location amidst various musicians adds to a vibrant, creative atmosphere that Petra thrives in. Listening to music, especially heavy metal, helps her focus and silence her inner critic, allowing her unfiltered creativity to flow onto the canvas.

The artists who have shaped Petra’s vision are as diverse as her own style. She draws inspiration from the raw power of American abstract expressionism and admires the works of strong women in art, like Joan Mitchell, Nikki De Saint Phalle, and Frida Kahlo. The melancholic themes of Edvard Munch and the intense colors of Mark Rothko also resonate with her. This eclectic mix of influences is evident in her work, which balances strength and vulnerability, color, and emotion.

One of Petra’s significant artworks, “Ghostbuster,” holds a special place in her journey. This piece, her first large canvas measuring 160 cm, encapsulates an intensely emotional and therapeutic process. The creation of “Ghostbuster” involved a spectrum of emotions, from tears to laughter, echoing Petra’s journey of confronting and releasing her inner ghosts. This process of artistic healing is further symbolized by her use of white color, which she likens to a “wound cream” for the soul. Petra’s approach to art as a medium for healing and self-discovery is a central theme in her work, offering a glimpse into her profound connection with her creations.

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