Friday, March 06, 2009

Blog Interview #15 ~ Maria Pace Wynters

I discovered Maria Pace Wynters' artwork while browsing through a copy of the Rat Creek Press sitting at my favourite neighbourhood bookshop, Mandolin Books and Coffee Company. A piece of her artwork was featured in the centre spread of the paper. The colours, composition and pure joy of living sprang off the page. At the bottom of the article, Maria's website address included. I contacted Maria shortly after to talk to her about her art and was lucky enough to attend an exhibit soon afterward to see her beautiful work first hand. So, I'm grateful that Maria agreed to tell us a little more about herself and her work.

So Maria, please tell us about yourself.

I live on a tree lined street in a big old house with my two young girls, my singer songwriter husband, a blue heeler and an orange cat. I am stay at home Mom and artist. I love to cook almost as much as I love to read cookbooks. Currently I am doing a series of paintings called "Too Small" about being a child and at the same time being a mother remembering being a child. I am also working on a children's book about 'Circus Girl', a character I have been developing over the last year.

Why did you start blogging?
I was really making forward momentum with my art, finally painting daily and writing as well. After five years I had finally go my website up and running and I was really proud of how it looked and its content. It really was a natural progression to start blogging. It was at the suggestion of my husband and I admit I was reluctant at first. I had no idea it would become such a huge part of my day to day life.

So you started blogging under your name, Maria Pace-Wynters, last April (2008). Why did you decide to simply use your name?
I decided to just use my own name because when I created an etsy shop a couple of years ago, before I really started on my current path and not knowing what direction I was going in , I named it Thumbelinapaint. I have since wished that I had simply used my own name and decided to not make the same mistake twice.

What did you talk about in your first post?
It was entitled 'Finally' and talked about how I had finally started to do art again. I had a webpage that stated that my website was 'coming soon', for FIVE years! It was so great to finally get that website up, I expressed that and I enlightened people on how I managed to make art with two little children. I can be pretty creative when I want to paint!

Do you prefer to blog in pictures, words or both?
Both, although I seem to have less and less time for the writing part. I would like to change that. I really need to make more time for writing because I really enjoy it. I sometimes write a poem to accompany a painting. I like doing that but I find I have to do it immediately on completion or even during the painting process or it just doesn't work. I have to be end the same head space as I am when I am doing the painting. It is hard to conjure that up after the fact.

Have you met new people through blogging?
Yes, I have. I think that this is my favorite part of blogging. I take part in illustration friday which is a great way to stay in touch with other artist's work and get feedback from them as well. I love that and I love that these people are all over the world!

Describe a friendship you’ve established through blogging.
There are a couple that come to mind. One is this great artist in the USA named Sandy Mastroni. She is a wonderful artist and an incredibly kind and compassionate person. She gives great advice and encouragement.
The other is Stephen Quirke from South Africa. He does these wonderful watercolours and also is very good with the encouragement ~ being slightly neurotic, I need a lot of encouragement.

Did you design your blog or did you have it professionally done?
It is a professional template that is offered through word press. (Black Letterhead by Ulysses Ronquillo).

What does your "About Me" read on your blog?
I am a mixed media artist that works on both canvas and paper. Currently my subject revolves around what I revolve around: My daughters and life as a stay at home Mom. Not always easy but more than a little gratifying.

What feature do you like the most about your blog?
I love the bright orange/red font. It really seems to go with my images. Bright Red is a favorite colour of mine and I am loving it with turquoise, a colour I have been using in my paintings a lot recently. The dark back ground really makes the images pop off the page and I love how saturated the colours look. Of course I love that people can write comments about my work. That is my favorite part of having a blog, the wonderful comments from people all over the world. When you create art, you want people to see it. You want to touch people and you want feedback. It is an important part of the process that I was missing out on before I started blogging.

Is there anything on your blog you’d like to change?
I wish Word Press offered more widgets. I see other people's blogs with all sorts of cool stuff down the sides and am envious. Some might say I have widget envy. Also I would like a pay now feature so visitors don't have to leave my blog in order to buy my art.

Do you ever blog when you don’t "feel like it"?
Yes, because I feel that I want to have new stuff for the people that visit frequently. It is a little easier for me because I don't have to write much. I can just put an image up. If my blog was more about writing I probably would not be able to post as frequently.

What words or themes would you use to describe your blog?
I would say that my blog is all about me and what surrounds me on a daily basis. Theme: 'A Visual Diary of a A Stay At Home Mum/ Artist" OR: ' How a mum creates art while looking after two young children and how an artist looks after her kids while she is trying to paint.'

Do you have any interesting directions you want to take your blog in, in the future?

I would love to do a video of myself creating a piece from beginning to end. I did this using photos but I think a video demo would be really cool.

Do you sell your art online?
I sell on Etsy and I think that is how most people that have bought my art have found me. I think [they] then check out my blog, website, Facebook group and Twitter.

Any final thoughts?
When I was a little girl I would do art any chance I could get. I loved to be creative and was always encouraged by my Mom. It was fun. I enjoyed doing it. In fact, there was nothing I liked better. It was never a chore! It was never dull.
So, what happened? When I was a teenager I romanticized about a lot of things: Marriage, children, getting older.Visions of Picasso danced in my head. Like Picasso before me, I saw my future self eating dinner and then taking my fish bones and making a clay relief. I would have a bohemian house with piles of art and reference books on the dining room table. I would paint along side of my toddler. Look at us painting together for hours at a time. I won't go as far as to say I imagined myself wearing a striped black and white t- shirt and shorts but I will say that I was totally out of touch with reality. First of all, toddlers require constant help when they do art, and their attention span is all of oh, lets say, 15 minutes. If you are lucky. Also, I can't stand stuff all over the place, let alone my dining room table. I need that table to feed my kids and I don't want their grubby little fingers all over my good books! Not to mention that I don’t even like fish very much, let alone a whole fish with bones.
I guess as I got older so much stuff got in the way of the pure process of creation. I had a constant dialogue going through my brain. Is it good enough? Who will like this? Is it too commercial or illustrative? or not enough? Is the palette to cold? Too dark? Too muddy? How could I tap into the pureness of what I was doing if the whole time I was doing it my head was questioning whether I should be doing it all. I don't know who initially put these questions in my head. College, University, people of influence all played a part. Life isn't the way I imagined it. The fun in art definitely was no longer part of my process. I no longer felt excited to create. It was just so much pressure: to create art that everybody likes is really hard. Now, it has come full circle and as a Mother I watch my girls create and I am inspired by them. They don't worry about the outcome. They just enjoy the act of making something. Anything. When it is done, it is done, and they move on to the next thing. They don't dwell on it. It is about the process not the product. Sure we all want to create art that we like, and that other people like too, but if that is all we focus on it becomes a chore and where is the fun in that? It is so nice not to be in that angst ridden part of my life. At forty, it is so great to be able to re-associate art with fun, and know I can still learn new stuff even if it is stuff I knew at the age of three.

Visit Maria's blog and website.


Elizabeth Seaver said...

What a wonderful interview about a really inspiring artist. Thanks so much!

sherry lee said...

There is something wonderful about discovering art and the person behind it when you least expect it, as you did with Maria. To follow up and get to know the person behind the beauty is the next step and if you hadn't done that, we wouldn't be reading about Maria now.

I love the last part of this interview the most, how she feels about art (and life) at 40, allowing every part of it to be fun again...that's a great message.

creative sandwich's lovely proprietors said...

Ohhh ... Bessie and Bea love this kind of colourful, heartwarming, love-filled art. Keep on painting, Maria. You've won a couple of new admirers and we can't wait to see what you paint next. Bravo!


Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone!

Brenda Seaholm-Wampler said...

Love her paintings, and her outlook on life!

Karyn said...

I really love these paintings...thanks for introducing me to Maria. The pretty children and the wonderful color make me happy.

I needed to hear that it is all about the process.....I get too caught up in what the end result will be and forget to just enjoy.

I will certainly be bookmarking Maria's website/blog!