How They See

By Piotr Jastrzębski

How They See - Issue #30: Andrea Ehret on daydreaming and healing powers of art

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How They See

February 6 · Issue #30 · View online

How They See will help you to meet artists from all over the globe and understand their perception of art.

ON VACATION

Published weekly on Saturday.


Vivid, nearly fluorescent colours were the first to catch my eye when I was looking at paintings created by Andrea Ehret. I must say that when I started to examine them closer and longer, I have felt like I am analyzing someone’s deeply emotional dream. And there is the gold. A medium which is nowadays not used very often but in my opinion, it plays a crucial role in reinforcing the otherwordly effect I mentioned. 
Andrea describes herself as a dreamer. She strongly believes that art can heal and awaken. I didn’t know that before interviewing her. However, in retrospective, I think it says all about how she connects with creative practice and explains her visually rich, abstract paintings.
You can follow Andrea Ehret on Instagram and learn more about her art by visiting this website.

I have seen on your Instagram profile, that from time to time you are publishing art quotes. Why is it important to you and what message you are trying to send to the world?
Isn´t that important for every artist? I want my audience to see the stories behind my paintings, sometimes I am inspired by poems , songs or quotes so I would post it.
Which one of the quotes is the most meaningful to you?
There are many,.. of course. I love Nietzche´s quote ´We have art so we shall not die of reality.´ It says it all..
Artworks and aesthetic experience can be as vital to human well being as Truth or perhaps more,… 
Paintings by Andrea Ehret
Paintings by Andrea Ehret
You describe yourself as a dreamer. How is it like to be a dreamer in a fast-paced world?
Well, I haven´t just one day decided to be a dreamer. It is part of who I am. Daydreaming and my imagination are part of my personality and perhaps because they are strong and vivid that is why I am able to transfer them on canvas. Although, sometimes I have the tendencies to drift to my imaginary world when this one feels unbearable or boring and I need to make myself come back to reality. 
Apart from painting, you are also doing art therapy workshops. Can you explain what they are and what is their purpose?
I currently do not actively practice art therapy due to Covid restrictions but I strongly believe art heals and art therapy certainly helps to stay self aware and express things you might not be able to articulate verbally. Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy which helps to improve your mental, spiritual and physical well being. Art therapy can help participants to understand who they really are, reinforce their self image, increase self acceptance and identity. Art therapy simply improves your consciousness, activates our inner mental blocks and helps to come back to yourself. Workshops are organized as group sessions starting with guided meditation to slow down, imagine and breathe, allowing oneself a moment of clarity and understanding, the creative process starts later, once you feel relaxed and safe to share within the group and the process itself is very spontaneous and expressive, rather intuitive. Art therapist usually guides the group but the group itself has wonderful dynamics too. At the end of the workshops we usually sit around the artworks in discussions sharing the reflections and ideas, often this is very personal and intimate, full of unexpected ‘aha’ moments. It is a wonderful tool , the journey to rediscover your creative potential and reconnect with yourself.
How did you become interested in art therapy?
Art is for everyone and has ability to heal and awaken and I have always felt deeply connected not only to the world but most importantly to myself, once in the process, in the flow.. feeling united, …hidden things will come out all the sudden and then, there is this whole secret of staying authentic when one needs to recognize these things, your Light and the Shadow, learn from them.. grow, transform. That is what art therapy does.
Andrea Ehret and her paintings
Andrea Ehret and her paintings
What has caught my eye while looking at your art is an unusual palette of colors you are using. Very rarely I have seen paintings on which you can spot such vivid, nearly fluorescent hues.
Yes, that is because of mixed media unique technique I have created combining organic and metallic pigments, sometimes 24k gold leaves or golden powders.
Gold is tricky, once overused can be almost too much to handle so one should be aware of it.. working with gold is delicate and technically, also artistically challenging at times. Love it.
How did you start to experiment with gold in your paintings?
I was always attracted to the rich color of gold, older I am more playful I become. Liquid media technique allows me to combine expressive structural impasto with more intuitive layers and I sometimes find myself as an observer of the entire process. My unconscious mind meets my artistic knowledge and they are waves, they come and go.
Approximately 10 years ago I received a 100 year old box full of golden leaves with the detailed descriptive handwritten notes of how to work with them.. the whole event was miraculous. The box belonged to an artist who passed away and his wife was selling and giving away stuff from his studio. I happened to know via a friend of a friend, went there,.. talked to his wife and bought a few things from his studio, she was incredibly happy to sell them for a very decent price and mentioned he would be thankful to know someone continues to work with them.
Whenever I work with these gold leaves I still feel privileged and incredibly grateful I have this magical box with his notes and the entire knowledge he collected.
Can you explain how the idea of the 24k Feelings exhibition was born?
The idea of the name but also the entire show came from the curator, Viktória Pikovská, she suggested the name as a symbol of 24k gold leaves I work with combined with my abstract expressive works. This solo show was curated by Victory Art Gallery and took place in The World Trade Center Art Gallery The Hague, Netherlands. Victory Art Gallery represents me in the Netherlands and wanted to create an exceptional solo which happened to be incredibly successful.
Andrea Ehret, MAYBE you CAN TOUCH ME or MAYBE you CAN TOUCH THE SKY, mixed media on canvas, 100x100cm
Andrea Ehret, MAYBE you CAN TOUCH ME or MAYBE you CAN TOUCH THE SKY, mixed media on canvas, 100x100cm
I have read this art event was also accompanied by the performance: you were live painting during the dance show. Quite an interesting connection, can you tell more about it?
The show´s opening act was a live painting performance, this time without the dance. Usually I do live painting with my friend and choreographer Jana Drdácká, we both improvise for 20-30 minutes.. sometimes less, creating together, connected with music,.. it is powerful and beautiful and each time very deep and different experience.
Your process looks very intuitive and spontaneous. Have you ever tried to thoroughly plan painting before actually approaching a canvas?
Of course I did, during University all the time.. Now, I do carry my ideas with me for a long time.. I suppose it is planning too. I have these vivid visions, either in dreams or sometimes even during the days when I know exactly what I need to do, what color to use.. what composition I need to manifest the emotion or theme, .. It is important to sketch it at this point or just write it down, it often happens it disappears and comes back eventually.¨
2020 was very challenging year, I have seen that as a result of the pandemic exhibitions of your paintings are being postponed. What this demanding time changed in your life?
Nothing and everything. It made me realize again how easily we tend to take things for granted. This year (ed. 2020) taught us we have fears we can not control but also that we can only trust our inner peace, because what we have is always enough and always will be.. Pandemic changed my daily routine.. the way I create and need to divide my time between my family, my son and my work. Yes, my shows were postponed but I had two incredible collective shows online and met wonderful artists, colleagues. This year I was selected for artist residency in Chateau Orquevaux in France and awarded with Denis Diderot grant, I still hope I would have a chance to go during summer. I have so many things I am be grateful for this year, every day.
Painting by Andrea Ehret
Painting by Andrea Ehret
You are active in many fields: art, art therapy workshops, family. How do you find time for painting and not leave any of those areas behind?
It is difficult, challenging.. sometimes unpredictable.. and a lot of times I feel guilty to put one or the other aside. Constant battle of the artist mother. But my son comes first, always.
I remember the times I could only do intimate watercolor work during his afternoon naps but I believe it had actually tremendous effect on my work. Becoming a mother not only made me a better person but a better artist as well.
Can you give some advice to any self-taught artist or designer?
Work hard no matter what, under any circumstances, sometimes working hard means to stay quiet, take a step back and observe for a while. Listen. We all have different journeys.
Give yourself lots of time in studio and don´t be too harsh on yourself once you fail, don´t give up on yourself. 
What is your favourite color?
Turquoise ocean blue.
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Have a great week!
Piotr
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