Johanna Hildebrandt Series: Enhancing Artistic Talent

Whilst a good dose of Artistic DNA is probably essential to the making of a successful artist, training of some kind, be it done formally or informally, is essential. Today in our post on Johanna Hildebrandt we look at her training background and how it helped produce the breadth and depth of talent in this artist.
Sketching up ideas (Photo: Johanna Hildebrandt)

Johanna was born in Grainau, a small Bavarian town in Germany.

Grainau is a municipality in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in southern Bavaria, Germany. It is located at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain, the tallest mountain in Germany in the sub-mountain range of the Wetterstein Alps which is a branch off the main mountain range it is connected to, the Alps. Lake Eibsee in Grainau lies at the foot of the Zugspitze surrounded by forest. 1

Scenes of Grainau (Photo by Joshua Kettle / Unsplash)

Given the breathtaking surroundings of her upbringing, it's natural for a young, creative individual like Johanna to seek an expressive outlet for her profound passion and connection with nature.

After spending three years at art school in Germany specialising in sculpture, she migrated to Australia in 1970 with her husband and young child. 2

From 2009 - 2013 she completed a Diploma in Visual Arts (Ceramcis), TAFE Collage of New South Wales followed by graduating in 2015 with an Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts, TAFE College of New South Wales.

Examples of the beautiful ceramic creations Johanna produces are shown below. The same colour palette and themes as appear in her paintings can be seen in these works and her skill as a painter of Australian wildlife and vegetation is used to bring a touch of class to the objects.

Johanna Hildebrandt's Studio Shelf (Photo: Johanna Hildebrandt)

Whilst formal training is extremely valuable, nothing beats the learning which occurs as being part of an environment in which you feel at one - and as Johanna has said: During my first years in Australia, I discovered the seductive beauty of my newly adopted country.

Johanna has spent thousands of hours observing, sketching... and being at one with the rich landscape she has come to love so much.

Getting the swag ready, sleeping under the stars (Photo: Johanna Hildebrandt)

Johanna goes on to emphasise that: The exotic flora and fauna that inhabit my work is a direct response to this captivating world around me. For me‚ creating art is a natural and intimate process which keeps my work fresh and spontaneous.2

And as you can see below in Under the Milky Way - a brush filled with magic and a little fantasy!

Under the Milky Way by Johanna Hildebrandt (Credit:

At the end of this post we have included a video showing Johanna demonstrating the processes and skills she uses in creating a painting. In this video she emphasises that she doesn't seek to reproduce an exact image of the landscape she is observing but rather uses it as a base on which to create her interpretation.

In her bio Johanna tells us that: With my paintings I try to convey happiness and pleasure; a respite from daily stress and anxiety.2

And looking at one or more of her paintings is a wonderful way to enjoy the bountiful world this land called Australia offers in astonishing shapes and colours in the living creatures, plants, grasses, bushes and trees.

Wild Orchids in Bloom by Johanna Hildebrandt (Credit:

These native Australian images also appear on her ceramic pieces which have the stunning colours of the Australian landscape

Examples of ceramics by Johanna Hildebrandt (Credit:

Most artists will admit to having been influenced by another artist - usually someone in the past. Johanna's favourite artist is Henri Julien Félix Rousseau (1844-1910) and you can see the influence of his style in Johanna's paintings.

The Flamingoes by Henri Rousseau (Credit: Public Domain via

Rousseau was a French post-impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner as we discussed in the first post in the Johanna Hildebrandt series which you can check out by clicking here.

He was also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer), a humorous description of his occupation as a toll and tax collector. He started painting seriously in his early forties; by age 49, he retired from his job to work on his art full-time.3

Ridiculed during his lifetime by critics, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality. Rousseau's work exerted an extensive influence on several generations of avant-garde artists.3

Exotic Landscape by Henri Rousseau (Credit: Public Domain via

Johanna has said of Rousseau: He was the greatest Naive painter. A self taught artist, who constantly doubted himself and still managed to transcend many art movements and artistic styles to stay true to himself and his vision. His beautiful work represents his yearning for exotic places, which was his escape from the conventional life in the suburbs. His amazing, dreamlike, often large-scale jungle scenes are the most enchanting creations. During his lifetime he was ridiculed by critics for his work, and he died a lonely death as a poor man. Now he is recognised as a genius and the paintings hang in the famous museums of the world.’ 4

If you would like to know more about Johanna's attitute to working as an artist please check out the interview below where she discusses Why working 9 to 5 isn't enough.

Artist Interview – Why working 9 to 5 isn’t enough
Johanna Hildebrandt believes artists have to work around the clock so those without a strong work ethic need not apply.

In her bio Johanna has emphasised:

The canvas and clay surface offer me a platform to communicate my strong connection to nature.

In my paintings I depict the magical colours of the tropics and the vivid flora and fauna of the rainforests.

Painting for me is a natural, intimate process; my artworks evoke happiness and provide a respite from daily stress.

If you would like to read more, please follow the link to the website for Johanna Hildebrandt.

And we highly recommend that if you are interested in how a painting is created from the beginning please watch this excellent video where artist Graeme Stevenson interviews and records Johanna at work on a painting. The video is about 24 minutes long and of outstanding quality where Johanna generously shares intimate knowledge about the skills she uses.

Tomorrow we will have a break day and then return to look more closely at the paintings owned by Andrew and more from this remarkable artist.

© Thank you to Johanna Hildebrandt who kindly gave permission for the images of her works to be shared on AnArt4Life and for providing assistance in the preparation of the posts on her works which are created using acrylic paints on canvas. She has had more than 20 Solo Exhibitions in Australia, Japan and Germany and has taken part in many important group shows internationally.

And Andrew would like to give a plug to Clare Farrelly who does such a wonderful and professional job of photographing these paintings so that they can be presented in such a way which is fitting to be showcased on the AnArt4Life blog