A gifted painter, Maribel Matthews calls herself “an artist at heart with a touch of impressionism”. Matthews paints with oils, capturing all the beauty that is around her – the decorated guests of a masquerade, a loving mother and child, and the classic Venice waterways.
Matthews believes in the power of art to instill in people a profound appreciation of the beauty of life. Her work pays homage to the ever-abounding good in life that is lived but often unseen.
“There is so much violence and sadness around us,” Matthews says. “To create something beautiful is important. It is almost like creating a portal to a better world.”
Your repertoire is quite diverse. How do you choose your subjects?
I find inspiration in all things – visiting art galleries all over the world, the colors of Gibraltar, my home in the Mediterranean, a bird in flight or music.
Subjects tend to choose me. I observe the world we live in and the people and places around me very closely. There is never a shortage of inspiration. There are so many ideas in my head that I fear I will not be able to paint them all in one lifetime.
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There are a number of paintings you have created using masks as your subject. What is it that intrigues you about masks?
When I first visited Venice, I was completely bewitched by it – the colors and the lights in that city are almost ethereal. I was particularly enchanted with the masks and their mysteries. I returned to the city again and again, especially during “The Carnival of Venice”. The fascination towards these exceptional works of art, each a masterpiece full of mystery and beauty, led me to photograph and sketch hundreds of these. That particular project was my attempt to answer the question – “What lies behind the mask?”
Exploring the subject was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences of my life as an artist.
Have you had any professional training?
My training has been life itself!
I specialized in the history of art and the art of movement in my further studies, but it was the love for art that made me find a way. It was definitely hard at times. However, I have had the support of experienced painters who have helped me along the way and to whom I am most grateful.
You’ve donated quite a few of your artworks, as well as proceeds from sales, to charity. Why do you donate and how did it start?
I believe that we must all help each other and give back to our communities. Painting takes up most of my spare time and therefore, I am not able to do more charitable work. Donating paintings to causes like cancer research, natural disasters, and the elderly, even if it brings just a little respite, is my way of giving back.
Do you have a favorite among your works?
No, because every one of them feels like a part of me. Sometimes I love them and other times I hate them, but for me, painting is a necessity and has become my truest passion. I love starting a new piece – the excitement of creating something new – something from the soul – a piece of art that may give pleasure to others but ultimately fulfills me.
Collecting art is a highly involving and emotional experience. The artist’s process and intention are some of the factors that make one fall in love with his or her piece. Learn more about our artists’ creative methods and fascinating techniques in the Center Stage and Artist Techniques categories.