Inga-Charlotte Doerp's colorful paintings will help the Hampton Arts Foundation

The view of the salt ponds is stunning from Inga-Charlotte Doerp's town home in Hampton. But the eye is quickly drawn to the interior rooms where dozens of her paintings crowd the walls.

Doerp paints colorful, vibrant abstracts, many of them inspired by nude figures. On Nov. 11, she'll open her waterfront home for a fundraiser and will donate a portion of the sale of her works to the Hampton Arts Foundation.

Born in Germany, Doerp has lived off and on in the United States since 1965. She's a familiar artist in the region's juried shows and has paintings in collections in Tokyo and Germany. The Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach chose one of her whimsical beach scenes for its 2006 poster.

Her paintings seem to dance off the walls with their strong figurative style. But it's the colors — swirling aquas, oranges, purples and greens — that overwhelm your senses.

James Warwick Jones, gallery manager at the Charles H. Taylor Arts Center in Hampton, has known Doerp for 30 years.

"Her work is very expressive and highly energetic, with strong color and a very personal color palette," says Jones. "Her work expresses her personality. She looks like she stepped out of her paintings."

In fact, Doerp's brightly colored wardrobe and the brightly painted furniture in her home mirror the colors of her paintings. In addition to the wall art, she fashions three-dimensional ceramics of cats, birds and other imaginary creatures. The prolific artist has turned her third-floor bedroom into a large studio where she spends hours creating new pieces.

"I paint most days, but even if I don't paint, I look at art," she says in her rapid-fire manner. "It's inside my body and I'm always involved in it."

Making art takes "talent, devotion and love, and discipline," she says. "The three have to go together."

Growing up in Berlin, Doerp spent her teenage years studying art — she was drawn to the work of the German Expressionists — and dancing in the Berlin Opera Ballet. Her grandfather, Paul Herrmann, was an important painter and printmaker who knew Edvard Munch and composer Richard Strauss. She married and moved with her then-husband to the United States where she worked as a graphic designer in New York and New Jersey. For many years she's lived in Hampton.

Every summer for the past 13 years, Doerp has traveled to Trier, a city in western Germany near the Luxembourg border. There she spends two weeks painting and sketching, mostly nudes, at a summer arts academy.

"I can do landscapes, but I think my real talent is people," she says. "The human form and its movement is the most fascinating to me."

Those figures, exuberant and full of humor, live with her in every room.

"Everything looks like it moves, the colors and the shape of the bodies," she says. "My paintings are my children — they inspire me."

Want to go?

What: Inga-Charlotte's Brunch & Art Sale

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11

Where: 37 Mizzen Circle, Southall Landings, Hampton.

Details: Suggested donation $25. Doerp will donate 25 percent of art sales to the Hampton Arts Silver Anniversary Fund. Tickets may be purchased by calling 850-3310 or 587-8711 or online at

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