I can tell true art by its ability to make me feel closer to the essence of things, to make me appreciate beauty in its most innocent form. Maria Pace-Wynters is one of very few artists I have encountered whose work manages to captivate me and make me long to 'live' in their paintings.
Tell us a few things about yourself.
I live in Alberta, Canada but was born and grew up on the West Coast. I went to Victoria College of Art, Camosun College and The University of Victoria in the early 90's. I am married to the very talented singer/songwriter, Chris Wynters and have two girls (Imogen, 7 and Scarlett, 4). I started painting daily when I turned 40 ( three years ago). I guess you could say, the light bulb went on and I realized, it was now or never. I'd always wanted to be an artist but now was the time to actually become one.
What are the major influences on your work?
I took a lot of art history in University and I think that I kind of sifted all the art I studied for fifteen years. All the stuff that was left was the stuff that influenced my paintings. I have always loved certain artists' work but over the last couple of years I have fallen in love all over again with Degas' colour palette, toulouse lautrec's
black line and Mary Cassat's block prints. I love the Japanese inﬂuence on the impressionist work. The palette of the Fauvist. I love paintings with patterns, fabric and texture. I love ﬁgurative painting. I love de Kooning's chaotic brush strokes and Picasso 's angular ﬁgures during his blue and rose period. Matisse's 'Green Line' painting. Emily Carr's Totem pole" paintings. Guagan's "The Yellow Christ" painting. Egon Scheile's draftsmanship. Klimt's sense of design. Just writing this list takes my breath away. I am so in awe of the beauty that these artists have created. Writers that have inspired me: Julia Cameron, for inspiring me to come to the page even when I didn't want to and reminding me to always remember to ﬁll the well.
Elizabeth Gilbert, for inspiring me to start really living my life by sharing her adventure and making me laugh along the way. Eckhart Tolle, for helping me quiet the 'thoughts' and for keeping me in the moment.
Is there a relationship between innocence and inspiration?
When I look at my children create art I am inspired by their confidence in their mark making and how they are not concerned about the final results. When they are done, they move on to the next piece. They don't dwell on who is going to like their creation or if it will sell, these things are not important to them. They create art because it is fun, they enjoy the process. If you approach art in this way, it is hard to ever not be inspired. 'Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working' is my favorite quote from Picasso. I really live by these words. If we come to art from a playful, curious place we can leave the ego at the door and just create art that is honest and true to who we really are because we are in love with the process as much as the outcome.
What are your favorite themes?
I love to paint the figure, in particular female, and above all, the face and eyes. I have always love fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson is my favorite. I love magic and mystery and often try to incorporate these things into my art. I love the spectacle of the the lives of 'the performer' whether that be circus performers, harlequins or ballerinas. I often paint them when they are NOT performing as I find this side of them, the private side, much more interesting. Lately, I have been doing painting about dreams. I consider myself the protector of my children's dreams and aspirations. They can be so easily dismissed by people that they come across and I think it is important that they know that they can be what ever they dream or aspire to be. Dreams are so delicate, like the flowers and butterflies in my paintings. In some ways, I think that I am protecting my own dreams as well. My paintings are often about my children, being a mother and also remembering being a young girl myself. Your children can do that for you, remind you of your own childhood. It so special to be able to watch your children grow and, in a way, relive that part of your life.
Are there any colors you prefer to work with?
I love colour in general. The brighter the better. A few years back, before I had my children, my palette was very dark but since I have had my girls my palette is bright and colourful. They truly put colour into my life. Right now I am really into red and turquoise.
How would you describe the process of creation?
I try to come from a completely honest place when I create art. I often start by having a photo shoot with my girls. This is a lot of fun and it is great because even though I often have a general idea of what I want, there are always little surprises that happen. When I start painting I always remind myself that what I ultimately want out of my painting is to simply create something aesthetically pleasing and interesting to look at. The next thing that I remind myself is to not be to precious with my art. When I paint something, I continually destroy it and then pull it back. I find that this creates depth. If I am worried about wrecking a painting it will become contrived and tight. This is my way to keep myself loose. I love the act of marking making and I love having something very loose and gestural juxtaposed with something more structured or realistically rendered. I love the push and pull that this creates in my art.
Do you have any free time? How do you spend it?
To be honest, free time is completely foreign to me. Between being a stay at home mum and a full time artist, there is little time left. I am usually scrambling around trying to figure out how I can fit it all in. I do love to cook, although, lately, having to think of dinner every night is the bane of my existence!
Wow... Thank you Maria, for finding time to do this interview with me. Your art is so real, and I wish you the very best!