Born in Berlin, Germany, Regine Legler was raised in a household where one parent encouraged self-expression and the other parent viewed “the arts as a waste of time.”
“My mother encouraged family members to draw at home on a kitchen door,” she said.
As a youth, every surface was a place for Legler to draw, including her schoolbooks. This led to her first artistic commission: a classmate asked her to help him complete a homework assignment by “drawing a portrait of Napoleon,“ she said.
Legler studied portraiture, landscape and still life under instructor Walter Hergenhahn at the prestigious Staedelschule in Frankfurt. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Freie Academy in Mannheim, Germany.
She uses bold colors and active brush strokes to convey deeply felt emotional states. Her drawings are the influence of both her German Expressionist roots and the imaginative possibilities of Fantastic Realism.
“(My) exuberant paintings have a distinctive and sophisticated personal style that reflects both the exterior world of nature, and my own luminous, interior world,” she said.
From early on, Legler said that her “artistic endeavors have been a form of contemplative emotional work.” She would process her feelings through her “radiant drawings and paintings.”
Her move to the United States was a liberating experience, she indicated. She discovered new thematic territories, including wildlife and the “emotional states” of Native Americans.
The Westchester resident continues this creative focus. As a member of the Culver City Art Group, Legler participated in the 23rd Holiday Art Exhibit Nov. 10 at the Playa Vist CenterPointe Club in Playa Vista.
On exhibit were a variety of art expressions.
She said she can go through a phase in which she is consumed by a specific theme. Her portrait series on the Aborigine people is both vibrant in color and striking in facial expression.
“My feelings are the subject of my art,” she said. “My intention is for my paintings to express how I feel about the world and people, and my relationship to them.”
She said that what stirs her soul ranges from a “joy, like the extraordinary bond between mother and child. Or it may be the sadness and pain of growing up in a time ager the war, like I did.”
When she paints, it puts her in touch with who she is. “It helps me process what I might not otherwise understand or memories and thoughts I might not be able to let go of any other way.”
She said that she allows her feelings to flow brush to canvas, without judgment or fear.
“The other day, I said to a friend, ‘the real reason I paint is to stay connected to the part of me that knows instinctively the truth,” she said. “It is part of the universe and all living things. When I can go to that place inside, I feel at peace with the world.”