The Balance of Light and Darkness with Martina Krupickova

The Balance of Light and Darkness with Martina Krupickova

November 30, 2017

Czech artist, Martina Krupickova at work in her studio


Martina Krupickova graduated from a prestigious fashion design school in Brno, Czech Republic, majoring in Textile and Knitwear; this is where she developed her skill of drawing and painting. After graduating, Krupickova spent several months in England and the USA. Her first oil painting was in 1999 as a Christmas gift for her lifelong partner. In 2003 she organised her first solo exhibition.


"Winter Prague", Oil on Canvas, 50cm x 70cm - Martina Krupickova


All her pictures are characterised by strong colour and bold strokes on a black background playing with light and shadow. A palette knife is used in the creation of these paintings. Since that first painting in 1999, Krupickova has developed her own style. The light is the most important part of the painting. It can give the right sparkle or completely destroy it. Krupickova tries to capture the right balance of light and shadow to add depth. Her pictures draw on personal experiences that are a reflection of the visible - landscapes, cityscapes and transport.

Krupickova has held several successful exhibitions in the Czech Republic. The picture Posázavský Pacifik was selected and exhibited at Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition in London 2008. Her paintings are held in private collections in the Czech Republic, UK, USA, Belgium, France, Sweden, Canada and Slovak Republic. I was also interviewed on Czech Television CT1 Dobre Rano and in popular talk-show Vsechnoparty.


"Memory of Scotland", Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 80cm, Martina Krupickova


What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

I studied fashion design, so I was sketching and drawing as part of my studies. I suppose the first moment I realised that I could become an artist was during the time I spent in the USA. There, my American friends seemed to be free to follow their own creative path; singer, artist, guitar player – more Bohemian a lifestyle that my home in Bohemia! On my return I noticed that the poster of Prague, framed under glass, in my partner’s apartment was missing. “Some friends stayed, decided the poster was crooked, tried to adjust it and the whole thing shattered to pieces”, he mourned. That Christmas of 1999, I presented him with my first oil painting – a gift to replace the lost poster.

How would you describe your own personal style?

My pictures are characterized by strong colour and bold strokes on a black background playing with light and shadow.

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

The light is the most important part of the painting. It can give the right sparkle or completely destroy it. I try to capture the right balance of light and shadow to add depth. I’ve experimented with different styles, but always return to my signature look – I just work on improving that.

What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

I’m outside, I spot a perfect scene and I have to paint that.

Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, may be even other artists?

My partner was so enthusiastic about that first painting, I was encouraged to continue. He continued to encourage me, such as suggesting that I enter a painting in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition – and the artist academicians who then chose that painting encouraged me more. This year, a number of Prague auction houses have included and sold my paintings – it’s a great encouragement to see that the art world appreciates what I do and that art buyers are prepared to invest in that.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

I paint the canvas black. After that, I only use a palette knife to apply oil to the canvas.

When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

My time is spent between nature and the city – and my paintings reflect those themes.


"Ghosts of Stations Past", Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 60cm, Martina Krupickova


Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

I sketch something on the black canvas then start to paint.

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

There isn’t a normal day – I just paint when I have the right feeling to paint.

When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

I mostly work on one piece at a time. Sometimes, while I’m waiting for some paint to dry, I’ll start something else. 

Which of your artworks are you most proud of?

That’s like asking a parent “who is your favourite child?” – I’m proud of all of them.

Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

Christian Hook – he can capture movement in his figurative paintings in a way that still eludes me.

If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

I would miss my modern oil colours, unless I could take those back with me. I believe it isn’t possible to go back in time, only forward.


"Mushrooming", Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 60cm, Martina Krupickova


What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

Technology. In the past, there was a value assigned to a realistic painting. Now anyone can take a photo with their phone, there is a trend towards the abstract – but I still believe that realism has a place if the scene is special.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Stay true to yourself and don’t chase artistic fads.

Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is their another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

Again, Christian Hook.

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

I do sometimes put a painting aside for a few days and then return to it – but there isn’t a painting hiding/haunting me at home like Dorian Grey.

Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

I create purely for the sake of expression of my creative nature – that said I do accept commissions!

What are you working on at the moment?

A large canvas scene of New York City – I’m trying to capture that mood created just after the rain, where the city lights reflect on the streets and steam comes from the drains.

When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

I have five paintings currently exhibited in the Passage of Czech Design, Prague. In December, I will have two paintings exhibited as part of a group exhibition in Gallery 9, Prague 9.

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