In 2015, Maria – wanting to get out of her comfort zone and open up her horizons – applied for a residency in Stiwdio Maelor. At first, when she heard that she was offered a residency, she was delighted, thrilled, and excited. As the date approached, and she looked at Google maps of the area, and as she came to terms with the fact that she could not, however much practice she got in, pronounce Machynlleth, she started to feel slightly apprehensive. Used to travelling by tube in London, and driving with the help of sat nav, would she get lost in the mountains with no GPS signal? And would her two-week stay allow her enough time to unwind, be inspired and produce a body of work? Luckily she did not listen to her mind trying to stop her moving out of her comfort zone and managed to drive herself to Corris, and, yes, without getting lost.
Maria was immediately made to feel welcome with a cup of tea and chat upon her arrival, and when she climbed the stairs to the large attic studio, with its inviting wood-burning stove, she knew she was glad she had come.
Maria has never had a more inspiring and productive two weeks. The landscape inspired her to rise at 5 am to capture the mist, walk in (and despite) the rain, capture and savour the atmosphere to take back and translate in her paintings. The ethos of Stiwdio Maelor, the friendliness of everyone she spoke to, the space to remember parts of her she had forgotten, stayed with her and she found herself unable to stop thinking about returning. So when the opportunity to volunteer and be part of such a wonderful and creative community came up, she jumped at the chance.
In 2016, having moved to Wales to live with her partner, Maria set up her studio near Glynneath, South Wales. From there, at the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and within earshot of a running stream, she is hoping to produce lots of new work. And, in her work with Stiwdio Maelor, via online and social media, and future residencies to encourage other artists to find the space to do so as well.
Maria’s work has been shortlisted for the East Meets West Art Award, the British Women Artists Competition, and the Bentlif Open Art Prize, Maidstone Museum.
Maria’s work was exhibited at FPS members’ exhibition, Menier Gallery, and Espacio Gallery London. Also at Parallax AF Art Fair, Chelsea Town Hall, London; EWAAC 2014 La Galleria, Pall Mall, London; The Somerset Maughan Gallery, and The Fish Slab Gallery, Whistable; Creek Creative, and St Mary’s Church, Faversham; The Deaf Cat, and Nucleus Arts, Rochester, amongst other places.
Maria is also a member of the Free Painters and Sculptors.