DURGA YAEL BERNHARD was raised in New York's Hudson Valley and began painting at the age of 13. Her education is a mix of formal art training at the Art Students' League of NY, the School of Visual Arts, and SUNY Purchase; plus extensive independent study through travel to museums all over the United States and Europe.
Durga's artwork explores both personal and archetypal imagery through contemporary techniques. Her themes include birth and mothering, healing and transformation, animals and nature, family and community, myth and dream, ritual, prayer - and more.
Durga is the illustrator of numerous children's books, including fiction and non-fiction, natural science titles and multicultural folktales. Also a student and teacher of West African dance and drum, Durga brings a variety of influences to her work, including a strong grounding in rhythm and design, and a deep love of African culture, Eastern and Western religion, and the natural world. Her experience mothering three children has also shaped some of Durga's most notable works.
Most of Durga's artwork is painted in gouache. She is also known for her bold and resonant imagery in black & white, linoleum block prints, and for the natural surfaces she sometimes employs such as birch bark and hemp fiber. Durga's work encompasses several different styles, and has been published on everything from book, magazine and CD covers, to business logos, brochures, websites, corporate promotion, and publicity for religious and ecological causes. She also accepts commissions for animal, people, and house portraits.
Durga Yael Bernhard lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York with her family. When she is not painting, she spends her free time dancing, running, hiking, drumming, hunting, gardening, and practicing yoga.