Clara Berta started painting in 1988, but as many of us do, she let it slip away. One day, while going through some personal and difficult experiences, she returned to painting as a way to heal and found it very rewarding. It was then that she was hooked, again.
Around 2003 her creativity began to soar, and in 2008, in hopes of learning more about technique and composition, she took off for Florence, Italy to study at the Santa Reparata School of Art.
Today she teaches art at the Berta Art Academy in Studio City, California and has gallery shows throughout the United States.
Alyice: You mix abstract art with mixed media in your paintings, can you tell us a little bit about both forms of art?
Clara: Abstraction is the meaning of the word: an abstraction of reality or the point of view, you look at a tree and you interpret it in an abstract manner.
Mixed media is a process of adding found objects, textures from wood chips to using coffee grounds, tea bags and other organic and inorganic materials to create texture in a painting that may not have any aspects of reality, but interprets reality in an abstraction.
Alyice: There’s a lot of mixed media collage work and abstract art on the market these days, how do you differentiate yours from the rest?
Clara: I am a unique person and therefore my work is unique. My approach is bold, deconstructed, sensual, and passionate. I like using offset primary colors and I’ve never adhered to using a color chart of primary colors to bind me to convention as the example in my work.
Alyice: How has your style changed over the years?
Clara: I began my career as a printmaker studying with Lynne Bernay. She guided me to express beautiful works of collage and monoprints. It was a great privilege to work with her for her artistic knowledge and then I went on to study at Santa Reparata School of Fine Art in Florence, Italy.
My work has evolved from monoprints to mixed media works on large canvases.
I have enjoyed my enlarged visual vocabulary which apparently speaks to my audience. You can learn more about that by watching my latest video.
My gallery has been encouraging me to expand my work to create large canvases meeting market demand.
It’s important to understand that I am not driven by the demands of the market, I am encouraged by my own desires to create what I love as well. I have been described as being in “Blue series” and tomorrow will be. . .
Alyice: Since abstract art is non-representational (without recognizable shapes or figures) how do you find your inspiration?
Clara: I find it in nature, people, teaching. I have a mentor who guides me in my process through suggestions and subtle teachings which does not suggest a solution, but rather offers a pathway.
Alyice: What is your creative process like?
Clara: I don’t practice each day, but allow myself to do what I do.
My mentor says, “Do anything, but start in the middle.”
My personal guide suggests that I use the rule of thirds, the golden mean and let the good times role. . . I love small surprises that evolve from evolve from whimsy and free spirited thinking.
Alyice: Why don’t use adhere to the principle of color theory?
Clara: I do not feel that color theory is important in my art as I paint from emotions.
What is important is that I explore texture, color, collage, and line explorations which I think of as my “niche.” My work is personal and it comes from my history. . . my culture. My Hungarian roots have helped me to explore a classical approach to art.
Alyice: Abstract art evokes a lot of emotions through color and composition. Can you tell us how you use color and composition to evoke emotion in your pieces?
Clara: No. . . it is an evolution of happy accidents that culminates in and express how I feel in the moment.
Alyice: What is the most challenging part about creating abstract art?
Clara: Starting the project and having no blue print, no guide marks, no net beneath me and allowing myself to step into the stream and go where the current takes me. . .
Because I must.
Alyice: What do you wish you knew about painting abstracts before you got started?
Clara: I wish I had known how all consuming the process would be when you start with a bare canvas and must bare your soul to complete it.
When faced with a canvas 5 ft x 8 ft I begin with texture and I end when a small voice whispers, “You’ve gone deep enough.”
Alyice: What has been your greatest difficulty as an abstract artist and how did you overcome it?
Clara: Staying the course and allowing myself to enjoy the moment and the process.
Alyice: How do you come up with a profitable pricing structure for your abstract pieces?
Clara: I rely upon the guidance of the gallery which represents my work: Claudia Deutsch, Artspace Warehouse.