“It has been twenty-two years since I stopped participating in an 18-year period in a sport that was close to my heart – Sports car ! Twenty two years since I undertook a new journey in the Wonderful World of Art and more particularly of Watercolor.
It happened a bit by chance. I was on holiday in Gozo with free time and was given a box of watercolours. I decided to copy a boat and the image came out surprisingly pretty well considering it was my very first experience with the medium.
I was encouraged to experiment more, so I bought a few art books and started painting. It also inspired me to travel around Malta and Gozo, sketching and taking pictures of landscapes, seascapes, chapels and whatever interested me. What beautiful landscapes our islands have to offer. After my experience with a brush our Sunday outings took on a whole new meaning,
Initially I was influenced by the Caruana Dinglis, especially Debbie’s wonderful watercolors. Besides most of my fellow artists, there are also others whose art I admire, such as John Martin Borg, Anton Calleja, Andrew Micallef, Winston Hassell, to name but a handful.
A rural scene in Gozo – Sara Valley in Ghasri
I must admit that I also liked to draw portraits when I was in school, and even painted an oil portrait during my 6th grade studies.
I decided to take classes and enrolled with the late Harry Alden, where I spent the next two years learning skills in oils which I thoroughly enjoyed. Harry was very helpful and had a great sense of wit and humor.
Having acquired some experience, I decided to begin my artistic skills in two exhibitions, one in Bay Street, when it opened, and another at the Mgarr Hotel in Gozo. Both exhibitions went well and were quite successful.
I was also encouraged to take classes at Anton Calleja in Bahrija, where for the next seven years I further improved my skills, this time in anatomy in various mediums. The lessons were great fun and I made many new fellow artists.
Anton decided to stop but our group continued to meet every Wednesday, first at Patrick Dalli’s house, then at Anna Galea’s, both in Marsascala. After a few years we were on the move again…this time at Veduta in Saqqajja as the owner Randolph Camilleri, part of the group, offered the use of the top floor, where we still meet until this day. So naturally we call ourselves The Wednesday Art Group and we even go to Gozo every summer for an outdoor painting,…that is…until COVID surfaced two years ago.
Palazzo Manresa, the archbishop’s curia
Covid has changed EVERYTHING! We stopped meeting for a while, then we resumed, then we stopped again. We meet now. We are always very careful and keep our distance, masks most of the time. However, we haven’t been to Gozo yet, as a group, but it’s back on our to-do list.
During this time, I presented my word on various media – Facebook, Instagram.
My mood changes from one painting to another. I never paint the same picture twice, well very rarely, and I always change subjects, from boats to landscapes, from portraits to seascapes, etc.
My paintings are very detailed, which is my style, and it takes me a considerable amount of time to finish a painting.
I We must mention Jean-Paul Borg, (Kappa Vision), whose superb photos were a great source of inspiration.
Over the past twenty years, I have taken part in numerous group exhibitions in Malta and Gozo, mainly with the Wednesday Art Group. I am also a member of the Malta Society of Arts and won two awards, one for a watercolor and another for an oil painting, a still life, which proudly hangs in the house. I also exhibited at the Palazzo Spinola for the Notte Bianca.
I took part in other exhibitions, this time in the United Kingdom, once at the High Commission in Malta. I visited a few museums but the highlight was when I spent a day at the Louvre in Paris.
Recently I took part in an international ONLINE exhibition in the UK – the international watercolor masters, in which about 3725 participants competed. It came down to the last 300 – and I was one of them. I was so happy that I felt like I had already won even before the result was announced. We waited impatiently…then finally the results came in. I didn’t see my name anywhere and was a bit disappointed when after a while I got a message from the organizer with a certificate – I was one of the top 200 to get a merit award.
So here is. I always paint in my free time, and from the many positive and encouraging remarks, I’m glad my paintings evoke happy feelings amid this dark Covid cloud that has enveloped us all. Despite this, I feel optimistic…in fact, I hope to have an exhibition in the not so distant future.
So be careful…
This series is designed and edited by Marie Benoît who occasionally contributes to her own Journal. [email protected]