From Morsbach (Germany) to Muscat, it has been a long journey for a German artist. The differences in culture and time have been well captured in many of her art works.
Whether painting ‘Pomegranate Harvest’ in Wakan or the ‘Sea Salt Series’ of Khor Al Mahl, Qurayat, the imaginations are never in short supply and are easily transformed on paper.
Bettina Steiger, the aspiring artist, is based in Oman with a penchant for abstracts and has been living and working in the Sultanate for the past seven years.
Her abstract creations include Hajar Mountains, date palm plantations and other local habitats that have left a deep impression on her.
Says Bettina: “The beauty of abstract art is I can lend my own interpretation from my memories of places, events without sticking to the original shape, form or colour. I can be more open minded on my approach to painting. I am not necessarily always aware from the beginning where the painting takes me.”
She has also brilliantly done a mixed media on canvas titled ‘Ocean Spray,’ mirrored among the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains which perfectly reflects the geography of Muscat.
The beautiful ‘Wakan’ sketched with acrylic on paper showcases its spring to witness the annual blossoming of almond, apricot and pomegranates. The blossoms along with the colourful fruits inspired her to come out with the series ‘Valley of Flowers.’
“Painting therefore sometimes turns out completely different than originally anticipated as new ideas or visions can be adapted throughout the abstract process,” mentions Bettina.
She also enjoys the work once it is done, that the abstract aspect of her depiction requires the viewer to keep an open mind and to interpret the results of the painting process.
Bettina loves outdoors and this is clearly seen from her desire to create and merge into one and believes the beautiful locales of Oman to be the backdrop for her paintings.
A firm believer of the saying ‘art imitates life and life imitates art,’ she mentions that if people do not like her painting, at least they will be stunned by the beauty of Oman.
During the lockdown phase, Bettina stumbled upon the painting materials in a bag stashed away in a corner at her studio in Al Ghubra North.
The deep longing for being outdoors and enjoying the beaches, mountains and gorgeous wadis of Oman manifested in her the need to transfer them onto canvas or paper.
“I thought of a place that I would like to go instead of being stuck at home and Jabal Al Akhdhar was the first to cross my mind. With this I created my first abstract painting after a long time.” As she received positive feedback, she continued painting and still has visions on places and landscapes in her mind inspired by beautiful Oman as well from her recent travels.
It was then she decided to take a more serious approach and created her own Instagram profile to showcase her art and to connect with different artists both locally as well as globally.
When travelling to Oman she brought her watercolours, acrylic paints and other painting supplies with plans to continue the hobby.
Her many other notable works include the ‘Sun Glare through the Date Palms,’ the brilliant ‘Lightning before the Desert Rain,’ ‘The Voyagers’, which is inspired by the sea travellers who discovered civilisations across the world or the Rajasthan inspired ‘Bawandar’. All these are either acrylic on paper or on canvas.
The thought of putting several colours on canvas and turn them into a beautiful mess is very therapeutic to the mind and soul to her. ‘Farbkleckse’, a German word meaning ‘splash of colour’ was used for her Instagram handle @bettinasteiger_farbkleckse).
Hailing from Morsbach, a quaint village located in North Rhine-Westphalia, around 70 km from Cologne, Bettina often enjoyed rural life where we could pick cherries, raise ducks, do garden farming; more than being in cities.
Her first tryst with the Sultanate began in 2004, when she first visited as a tourist knowing nothing about this country.
“I was immediately hooked by the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people. I was in love with this place that I used to come every year at least once for my vacation bringing different friends each time. I decided to apply for jobs here as travelling every year as a tourist was not feasible,” she recalls.
Her bank job gave her the very unique opportunity to live in a major city while being surrounded by nature.
“Since my childhood, I have always loved the idea of creating things, be it paintings or handicrafts. I was a regular at the annual Christmas markets in my village where I grew up. Every year would love to exhibit the handicrafts that I had spent months making,” Bettina recollects as she embarks on newer projects.