Maria Cingelova – growing up like a lonely weed

By now you know that I love getting a direct insight from the artists on how and why they create; and also, I enjoy uncovering personal connections along the way. When I was little, my grandmother’s cousin had a daughter, Olga, who would babysit me when both she and my parents had to work, and Olga’s cousin is the artist that I am about to write today. I asked her to tell me about her creative process, her road to painting. She replied wonderfully, and in Rusyn, of course, but I hope the translation retains the original atmosphere:

“I was born in Ulič (eastern Slovakia) and I was growing up like a weed, a loner-weed that is. Loneliness enables us to perceive things that are invisible to the eye. I was drawn to take a pencil into my hand and daub the paper. I was especially interested in people’s faces; I used to see them in random shapes, even smudges. Nobody brought me to painting – painting came to me. And it forced me to capture the moments I experienced in the nooks and crannies of my simple soul, influenced by the circumstances of my life and by the interactions with others. Simple people have a great impact on me, because they seem to possess a certain kind of natural quality. 

Painting is my bread and butter – it is something that challenges me, pushes me forward, helps me live. I started as a child, the usual story… Then I discovered pastels, then oils… My first critic was Ivan Chapcak. I got lots of experience through attending international plein-airs in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, but now I am working in Florence, Italy where I can literally “absorb” the art. I mostly focus on figure painting and portraits, and I do other things, too, just to ease up and relax.” 

Almost as an afterthought, she adds: “I am proud to come from Ulič…”

Currently she has been working with an Italian portrait painter Ersilia Leonini and she is a member of Simultanea Spazzi D´Arte Florencia. In 2017 The Museum of Humenne organized a two-month long exhibition of over thirty deeply emotional portraits.