When you look at Charlotte Dønvang Park’s painting you immediately think this is an artist who has been painting all her life. But this is not quite true. Actually Charlotte Parks just recently picked up the paintbrush for the first time since childhood after realizing that this was what she really wanted to do.
With a mother, who is an artist, and a grandfather who taught her how to paint from childhood she had a creative start in life. But expectations and pressure to get an education made her choose a completely different path. Instead of following in her families footsteps she decided to study economics at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). But her attraction to the more creative things later led her to the advertising industry and with a natural artistic sense she made herself a brilliant career in the field of international marketing.
She elped introduce Sprite in Denmark and also worked creatively with major international companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Kodak and Skoda.
Later she fell in love with and married her British husband Dave. He was working for one of the biggest engineering consultant firms in the world and had to travel a lot, which suited Charlotte well since she loved to travel. First they moved to England and since to Thailand and now Malaysia.
In Thailand Charlotte started one of Thailand’s first e-commerce businesses selling uniquely designed jewellery made in Thailand but in 2003 she decided to sell this business when shed moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she now lives in a house she designed with her husband.
Vibrant colours and furniture from various travels characterize the house which is peacefully situated on a hillside in the area of Ampang. But what really brightens the house up and gives it character are Charlotte’s paintings, which you can find in almost every room of the house.
The amount of artwork is quite impressing considering she painted it all in a period of only one year. Some she painted in Denmark in her summerhouse and some, actually most of them, she did in KL downstairs in her studio.
Attracted to spirituality
After Charlotte moved to KL and sold her business in Thailand she started a quest for something new to identify herself with. This journey led her to the health and wellness industry.
Among other things she started working with fresh air devices based on the idea of aroma therapy – devices which cleans the air and has a healing effect. She also started studying traditional Chinese medicine and became a trained Reiki master in 2008. Reiki is originally from Japan and people who practice this form of therapy uses the body’s energies to heal and restore balance.
Charlotte uses Reiki partly on her self but also on others if she is asked to help.
Charlotte does a lot of jogging in the Malaysian jungle with the group Hash House Harriers and in this context her Reiki abilities has shown to be a quite useful tool since jogging in the jungle can be tuff and people sometimes get sick.
“It is a lovely thing to be able to help people like this,” she says. Charlotte doesn’t practice Reiki professionally but if everything else fails:
“It is nice to know that there is something else I can do for a living,” she says laughing out loud.
Through her journey of self-realization a little voice inside her kept telling her to paint. She asked her mother to give her a crash course in acrylic painting, just to brush up what she had learned as a child, and very slowly she began painting again, although nothing serious at first.
Then one day she met up with one of her friends who had plans of opening an Italian restaurant by the name of Delucca in KL.
Charlotte asked him what he had in mind in terms of decorations and two minutes later she had her first show.
The first two paintings she made ended up on the walls of the restaurant, a sign that this new and artistic carrier path was the right way to go.
”It tells me that what I am doing now is the right thing. Because when things happen easily, then it must be the right thing. If you keep meeting discouragements then you are probably not on the right path,” Charlotte says.
Painting for Uffe Ellemann-Jensen
Following the show at the restaurant she has had a couple of small private shows and in November 2009 she exhibited her vibrant collection “New Beginnings” at a VIP dinner, at the Royal Selangor Club in KL, with the Malaysian Danish Business Council and former Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen as guest speaker.
At the dinner Mr. Ellemann-Jensen spoke about the financial crisis seen from his corner of the world and afterwards Charlotte handed him a painting she had made especially for him.
The painting represented what Charlotte saw in Mr. Ellemann-Jensen. In other words, she tuned in on his energies and created a painting that reflected the personality of the former minister.
She named the painting “Clarity” and gave the man in the painting a big nose to reflect Mr. Ellemann-Jensen’s nose for facts and detail and a nose which some might say has been out too far in the past. Charlotte used warm and earthy colours to represent his warm and grounded personality. Mr. Ellemann-Jensen was very moved by Charlotte’s painting and for Charlotte if was a very fun and rewarding experience and not least good promotion.
The 12th of December Charlotte invited people to her garden for a private and exclusive viewing, which featured some of her different series of artwork. Later, during January 2010, these paintings will be on display at the W.O.W Centre in KL.
One of Charlotte’s good friends is launching a health and wellness training centre for underprivileged and abused women – a charity organization to help abused women take control of their life. During the preparations some of the rooms at the W.O.W Centre will be empty. Therefore Charlotte and her friend came up with the good idea of moving her paintings to the first floor. So from January art interested people can walk in from the street and take a look at Charlotte’s unique and colourful paintings.
Just recently Charlotte created the SSMart Group – A group for people who enjoy arts of all kinds. On their monthly outings they visit art exhibitions, galleries, artists and art collectors. Everyone is welcome to join the group.