Petra Schott delicately creates colorful representations of nostalgia, freedom, and human relationships. 

Born in 1953 in Hannover, Germany, Petra Schott is an abstract painter whose art revolves around states of mind, longings, and memories.

After a long career as a lawyer and judge in Germany, Schott fully dedicated herself to making art in 2014. Since then, she has attracted the attention of national and international galleries, art critics, and collectors. 

Color plays a crucial role in Schott's work—evoking a certain moment, feeling, or connection as she weaves personal and collective memories into shapes, marks, and lines found in her everyday life. 

"The intuitive, abstract use of color, line, and shape is my way of dealing with the daily processing of my life," she explains.

Petra Schott's art opens the space beyond words—thus creating a new sense of freedom. She also explores nature in an intangible realm in which human figures with abstract facial expressions are loosely outlined. 

Artwork Archive got the chance to chat with Petra Schott about her creative process, career, and some of her recent achievements. You can see more of her work on Discovery and learn more about her work below. 

 Petra Schott, 'Spring alphabet VIII​'100 x 80 x 4 cm

Has your work changed over time—do you find yourself understanding your art career through different periods of expression?

As I have painted for more than 30 years now, my expression has definitely changed over time. I have gone through periods of more figurative painting and now have moved back towards a more abstract expression.

The content, the materials, and the size of my paintings have all also changed. My paintings have become more subtle and multilayered and I feel that there is more destruction woven in.

Still, I could say that I am looking for beauty—but what is beauty? My understanding of beauty has changed too.

It is a more fragile beauty—a beauty which is built upon a momentary balance or even on a missing balance.

So, what I would call beauty today is more a coherent painterly expression of my experiences and emotions as a female painter.

 

You mention that a strong inner urge drives you to use particular materials each time you create. Can you explain more about how your intuition guides you in this process?

When I start a new painting, I always know which colors and materials I want to start with. As I like my work to be intuitive, direct, intriguing, and speaking the direct language of art to the subconscious, my paintings develop in the moment.

Normally, I don’t do drafts but rather, I follow the flow of inspiration.

However, to be able to get into this flow I need preparation: before painting I try emptying myself of all concepts for the painting, thus becoming open for the gift of receiving. 

Every painting for me is a bit of trial and error, of finding something beautiful, or not coming to anything. For me, it takes a lot of courage to destroy, restart, wait, and find my true expression.

I start with choosing my medium. For the time being it is oil, but sometimes I start my underpainting with acrylics because I like to have the watery element in there. I also use pencils and ink-and-spray in the beginning to keep the painting broad and open.

I like to start with quick brushes—quick enough to avoid my thoughts to come in. I really love these first moments, when all is possible, and I love to express this pleasure of freedom.

Petra Schott, 'Would you recognise an angel?', 100 x 100 x 2 cm

What has your artistic education consisted of (formal or not)? If you did receive a formal education like an MFA, did you find it necessary for your artistic growth, or did you find that elsewhere?

I studied Fine Art at the Kunsthochschule in Kassel Germany, but I didn’t finish. I certainly learned a lot during my time at the academy but I also learned a lot afterward.

I just learned by doing, by workshops I attended, by studying painters I love, by talking with others, and so on.

A formal education certainly adds depth to what you're doing and opens the door to an art career (if you can exhibit your work in well-known galleries). But, I also appreciated the freedom to deepen my knowledge in the way I wanted.

Petra Schott in her studio, photo courtesy of the artist

We understand that you had a long career as both a lawyer and a judge before making the switch to being an artist full-time. What motivated that switch? Can you talk about the process of changing such (seemingly) drastic career paths?

It was a huge switch indeed, but I must say I loved both worlds: the world of the orderly life of a judge/lawyer and the creative world of an artist and painter.

Being a judge structured my life. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to carry through failures and self-doubts without having my structured life and my income in the other world. In the legal world, rules applied and emotions were not the driving force behind my work.

I always found polarities stimulating.

While I had my full-time legal job I still painted a lot and developed my painterly expression. I also took part in exhibitions. Now, I very much enjoy having all the time available to work in my studio every day and to be in a constant dialogue with my art. I can see that it has become more intense, more direct, and more ME. Of course, it's easier to develop your own pictorial language when you are in the studio every day.

 

Why did you decide to use Artwork Archive to inventory/manage your artwork?

I needed to find a way to have an overview of my portfolio, size of my paintings, prices, and to see where my paintings are currently on sale. Another artist recommended Artwork Archive to me so I gave it a try.

I'm very happy with this easy way to keep an overview of my artwork, create [reports] for specific situations, and to look up details about any artwork. I was also surprised by how intuitive and easy it was to get to know the platform.

Petra Schott, 'Summer talk VIII', 140 x 140 x 3 cm

How do you use Artwork Archive on a daily basis?

I update my work on Artwork Archive regularly so that I can be sure I have integrated all the actual locations and sales. For me, it is a pleasure to do so, because it's so quick and easy.

 

What advice would you give an emerging artist during this time?

If you have found your passion, just go for it, even if it doesn’t seem to makes sense and even though there are so many talented artists around already.

Don’t accept rules, just go on and search for your artistic voice and language–it will come.

 

Petra Schott uses Artwork Archive to track her artwork, locations, and manage all the moving parts of her art career. 

You can make an online portfolio, catalog your artwork, and generate reports like inventory reports, tear sheets, and invoices in seconds with Artwork Archive. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free trial and start growing your art business.