Istvan Bernath interview

-What inspires you to paint a piece?


Paintings on the princess cruises are following specifications. Princess had the designer Teresa Anderson creating the theme of an area like a restaurant. Over the years we work together on several variations of an Italian restaurant lately its called Sabatini’s. Went Teresa imagined the ambiances is seeing in a specific colored pallet of the spectrums of colors. Sometime from the carpet to the ceiling she is using six or seven different materials like wool wood marble canvas glass metal in a color coordinated fashion. This is the environment where I have to create a group of Italian themed paintings. We have chosen each painted image out of hundreds of possibilities. When we are done I make color studies of them.

After some fine-tuning, color and image changes the Italian restaurant paintings are approved and ready to be executed. We go through four or five of the ship public area what I usually working on the same way.

-How long does it take you to finish a painting?


After an area has been approved I am ready to paint one-area images together since the color coordination have to be the same. After I calculate the sizes from the ships architectural plans and transfer the numbers from millimeters to inches I stretch all canvases and prime them. I still have time to change all imperfections when I’m drawing them on the real scale and add more details. The paint itself takes about a month for a group of paintings like six seven of them.

-What techniques do you uses to have everything so aligned and straight?


Since most of the paintings are six foot ten even fifty foot in width and serve not just a decoration also creates an extension of the area like a tromp’l arer. The paintings architectural lines extend the area of the ship real space. Using straight lines as a guide line for dimension from the four corners of the painting meeting in the middle creates believable three dimensions. Since these paintings are on moving ships I have to be even more careful to put the horizons on eye level on the landscape or the cityscape for a more stable view. So passengers with motions sickness wont be affected. The technique is the old fashion chalk line rope, which is in a thirty-foot case. It is a necessary tool to keep lines together.



-Are the murals that you paint on the sip for sale?


No they are not. They are apart of Princesses’ permanent collection and they have specific function where they hang. I have more than eight hundred large size originals on eighteen different princess ships. I have smaller paintings and studies of the larger paintings in my studio in Los Angeles. A smaller scale reproduction is a solution to collect a memorable image for a private customer.


-Who are your favorite artists modern/classical?


Most fifteen sixteen century classics like Boticelli and Leonardo Raphael, Montegnia, and the Pre Raphaleists whom they recreated the past with less religion and more technique.I mat with many originals in our extensive travels with my wife over thirty years in Europe where all the classical art is hanging in museums and in private estates. I especially enjoy seeing the newly opened palaces of Italy and the Louvre, Napoleon apartment wings which both contains a blast of information for


my eyes. I can visit them anytime and I will always find something new. As far as modern painters I love some of the art deco and art nuevo painters from the turn of the century, which were more of architectural decorations than paintings. In downtown Los Angeles there are plenty examples of that in the old Broadway theaters. Tamara de Lempika was a very passionate painter and Diego Rivera murals. After Picasso and Le Corbusie I lost my interest in the study of other artists. There are many talented works by artists in museums and private collections. Too bad I cannot be confused in front of their paintings without an explanation of a guide.

my eyes. I can visit them anytime and I will always find something new. As far as modern painters I love some of the art deco and art nuevo painters from the turn of the century, which were more of architectural decorations than paintings. In downtown Los Angeles there are plenty examples of that in the old Broadway theaters. Tamara de Lempika was a very passionate painter and Diego Rivera murals. After Picasso and Le Corbusie I lost my interest in the study of other artists. There are many talented works by artists in museums and private collections. Too bad I cannot be confused in front of their paintings without an explanation of a guide.

-Where do you paint?


I paint in my studio which is on the second level of my house. It has large French windows that overlook the Hollywood hills. The house is close to Mulholland drive the stretches alongside on the top of the Hollywood Hills and its gives me sun all day long.

So the working hours are very long, when I paint for a new ship between ten and twelve hours seven days. I can stretch a fifty foot long ten foot high painting in my studio and when the painting is finished I roll it up on a tube and ship it to the shipyard where they install them on the ship.

-When did you start your relationship with princess cruises?


In 1995 sixteen years ago and after twenty cruise ships I’m excited as I was on the first ship to start the two additional vessels decoration the royal princess and its sister ships later on this year.

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