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Realising a childhood dream
 
Llewellyn Flores

Doha

The little girl who spent hours drawing and painting what she saw around her, has come a long way from her crayons, pencils and note pads. She now teaches art, giving lessons to students from different backgrounds and age groups. But most importantly, she is a designer and an artist.

œI always knew that I wanted to do art, in whichever form “ as a graphic designer, an artist, an interior designer or as an architect,  Doerte Meichsner said. œI'm happy that I did it.  Doerte says she comes from a family of teachers, at least from her mother's side.

Perhaps the ability to teach is in her genes, for her classes at VCUQ are always full.

But she thinks it is through her father that she got the inclination to art. œMy father was very creative and was often seen drawing.  To awaken creativity, is what she strives for with her students and witnessing their progress is one of her biggest joys.

In her classes “ comprising students of different nationalities “ the output differs vastly despite being taught the same technique.

Doerte said this is not necessarily because of the students' backgrounds but simply due to each person's individuality.

œIt reflects how they see things and what they prefer doing,  she said.

But what she would like her students to keep with them is to always reflect on their work. œAsk yourself again and again what (you are) doing,  she said. œNothing remains without change. If you think you know how to do something, you should always ask if you can improve, if you can learn more. Change your direction because life changes.  Doerte's works change too. œOver the years my style changed, again and again,  she said reflectively. In describing her art, she says, œI have my own language to say what I think (and) what I feel. I wouldn't paint (exactly) like how it (a subject) looks.  Though she derives inspiration from the greats of abstract art, more often than not, her inspiration comes from her surroundings: the beauty of a landscape, the smells and sounds, including that of construction sites. œI think every artist has it,  she said referring to that particular trait.

It is only natural for the local culture to have an impact on Doerte's work. In fact, she says it has a significant influence.

œWhen I go outside, hearing the sounds, the call to prayer; if I go to the souq and smell the different spices, the language, the letters, the heat, the sandstorm, the construction are all very interesting,  she says. All these are reflected in her works created in the two years that she has lived in the country. With men in robes, women in abayas and Arabic calligraphy, patterns and ornaments depicted in her works.

She also finds interesting the tradi-tional culture growing with the rapidly progressing nation. œI like contrasts. It's always something that interests me.  And yet, creativity is yet to come equipped with push-button functionality.

œYou cannot press a button and something always comes out,  was how she put it, adding, œYou will often be at a loss and won't know how to go forward. But that is part of being an artist. It's not easy.  Her way of overcoming such ˜blocks' is to take a break or to work on other projects. She says, œWhen I take a second look later, or, maybe the next day, I know what to do mostly.  She feels there is nothing frustrating about being an artist and the question only amused her. Her experience says œeven if it's not easy and even when you're not happy at the moment, you know that it will end in a good way.  œIf you really want to do something, you have to learn - learn drawing, learn seeing, learn viewing and practice.  She says talent is great but œit's a lot of work to become good and, maybe later on, be successful ¦ whatever that is.  In Germany, Doerte's artworks were exhibited and sold in several galleries but mainly in her studio in Hamburg. That studio has been closed since the family decided to move to Doha. Her works can now be found in different art exhibitions in the city, particularly those organised by International Artists Doha (IAD).

To be able to exhibit their works, she considers being a part of a group significant for artists in Qatar. Joining a group is something she recommends to artists new in Doha. œI think it's not that easy to find a place if you're an expat,  she said. œBut hotels from time to time are interested.  On November 13, her works will be exhibited with 14 other artists at the Grand Hyatt Doha.

Asked what she likes most about being an artist, she says: œYou can develop something really new and it is a part of you. It's a profession and it's a passion as well and it's a great thing if you can work like that.  And in defining art she says, œIf it moves something in the observers view, if it causes to reflect on and if thus provoke thought - its art. 


 
 

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