At the age of 9, Mila Koenig was at her grandparents’ house painting with her favorite colors, and she remembers her grandmother’s old cupboard was her first inspiration. On that old piece, she instinctively created intricate designs in bright oils that instantly gave it new life. When the neighbors came to see it, they were so captivated by her work that they invited Koenig to paint some of their old furniture pieces. At that moment in her childhood, her love for creating art was born.
“I started studying in France and then in the United States,” explains the artist. “After many years, I believe my art still shines with joy. My paintings depict real objects in the realm of the imagination—running horses, a family on vacation, a girl with a dog, boys playing games, vegetables from the fresh market.”
Numerous things contribute to the creation of Koenig’s art, which consistently emanates unmistakable, optimistic energy. She loves to create tangible sensations of color, texture and light and the emotions of her characters. By playing and experimenting with angles, color tones and perspective, her paintings are indirectly evocative of whatever mood she deems is at play. Musically inclined, Koenig reveals that inspirations tend to come to her while playing the piano and that “the images seem to float up with the music and ask to be transformed onto the canvas.” Her paintings always tell a beautiful story, which gives them special meaning and a life of their own.
“When choosing subjects to paint, I turn to classic themes—still life, portraiture, figure painting, landscape and interiors,” says Koenig. “There are many variations on those themes. Still life alone can encompass anything from a single object to a complex group of fruit, flowers and things. Seascapes, sky studies and gardens are merely different forms of landscape painting. And when I construct pictures purely from my imagination, any of those classic themes could be combined in a single painting.”
Having painted with all kinds of mediums throughout her career as an artist, Koenig still prefers oil on canvas for its inherent richness and unlimited capacity to capture life’s most beautiful moments.
“I believe that when you buy original artwork, you invest in deep emotions, great memories and wonderful moods,” explains the artist. “When others see that you have originals in your home, I think it’s very complimentary of the people who live there. Works of art also offer the perfect intellectual gift. People love to give original artwork to loved ones on special occasions—anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas—because they provide the receiver with a great memory to treasure.”
An advocate for education and the arts, Koenig teaches both music and art, and recently she had a television station approach her about educating children on a broader scale.
“I love teaching and truly believe that art and music help children and adults appreciate beauty and become noble and tolerant people,” says Koenig. “Art and music stimulate the creative left part of the brain, and the kids learn to use this creativity throughout their lives. I see it in my students—they want to construct not destroy. They live in harmony and feel more connected to the world around them and inclusive of other cultures; art unites.”
The spirit and freshness of Koenig’s art often come from deep within her soul during wonderful moments of solitude she experiences on the tranquil beach where she lives. The breathtaking views allow her to capture the graceful movement of the water, the serene seaside atmosphere and the brilliant, ever-changing light that dances on the water at sunrise and sunset. As a result, her works of art—from animals and nature to human bodies and portraits—display a fascinating complexity that immediately draw the viewer in.
“My style mostly emulates impressionism and realism,” Koenig reveals. “When I’m painting people, especially children—a girl with her dog walking on a beach, a boy reading a book to his cat, a little girl playing the piano—it’s important for me to show their feelings, emotions and moods through my painting. My art is a poem that people can see. My art is music of colors. I capture the bright moments of people’s lives, and my paintings stay alive because they touch hearts.”
Koenig is a member of The Charleston Artist Guild. Her work can be found on her website, as well as on Facebook (Mila Koenig) and Instagram (@KoenigMila). She is also available for commissioned artworks.
Jeanne de Lathouder currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama, where she works as a freelance writer for books and publications across the country. Contact her at email@example.com.