Art and its understanding is one of life’s joys and challenges, prone to strong opinions and mindsets. What is it for? Who benefits and how precisely? There are some who view art as a silly activity, certainly an unrealistic career choice, still others who see it as mankind’s primary purpose.
Ramona Pintea – Painter
Ramona Pintea, not a stranger to the notion of the “starving artist”, did carve an artistic path using her creativity in a variety of ways before dedicating herself to her painting full-time.
First studying Fine Art at the College of North-East London, Ramona didn’t have the courage to pursue a career as a painter straight off so, instead, studied Fashion Design at the London College of Fashion. She became a fashion designer and went on to build a fashion label. A few years later, while working as an interior designer, Ramona decided she wanted to make painting her full time job. Her debut exhibition was in Miami, Florida, and the rest, as they say… The now popular and successful artist looks back at her younger self with a smile, saying she feels happy she had the chance to work at the things she did, prior to launching into her painting full-time – the experiences shaped the painter she is today.
After hearing about Ramona from friends and discovering her website, www.ramonapintea.com, OZB paid her a visit and discovered her expansive studio on the top floor of her Pipera home – high sloping ceilings, sunlight pouring in and illuminating the art covered walls.
The two biggest canvases with vibrant colours and detailed silhouettes hang in the middle of the longest wall, inviting visitors to take a step closer. The space is filled with art supplies and working tables here and there, dozens of paintings neatly ordered, resting on the floor and leaning against the lower part of the walls, a cosy quiet corner on one side… The space is a good representation of its owner – warm and generous, playful and welcoming, organised and layered.
“I go up to my studio every day, religiously. Some days I really don’t feel like painting yet often they are the days when I produce some of the work I’m most proud of… But I have to paint every day regardless, come rain or shine.”
Dream of Different Reality
So how did it all start and where? Ramona was born in Braşov and was a teenager when the communist regime collapsed. After a couple of years living with her grandparents as a child, she was struck by the contrast between the colours and flavours of living in the countryside and the grey building blocks and general mood of her hometown. Aged 12, she fell upon a book about Michelangelo and was dazzled by his use of colour, movement, emotion and sheer power. There was no turning back. Her appetite for brightness, texture and for freedom from her drab surroundings were irrevocably stoked. Seeking more vibrant horizons she moved to London and the bubbly Cancerian’s creative journey had begun. Alas the grey was not entirely escaped… she was soon to discover that the phrase “summer is on a Tuesday in the UK” was not a joke! But the colour in every other aspect of living in the UK capital, from the cosmopolitan society, to the art scene, was undeniable, thrilling and inspiring and she has the accent to prove it.
She moved back here to Romania eight years ago, but saying she moved “home” wouldn’t be entirely accurate. Although she had visited family each year it was only ever for a few days at a time. Bucharest was unknown to her. “We have thought about packing up and leaving but now we think this is where we will stay, this is our home,” she says laughing. She certainly appreciates some of the obvious pros of living here: the weather, the closeness of Băneasa forest to where she lives, the richness of the colours and tastes especially when the fruit and vegetable season starts, the fact that the sea-side is only a few hours away, the mountains also.
Some of this is visible in her paintings, too. Her flower collection “Florilegium” was inspired by jogging in the park in spring and observing the changes in nature, the many flowers blooming. Other paintings are of people and, one visible from the table we were sitting at, showed a spot-on self portrait next to her daughter, now aged 12.
She loves waking up in the morning and going to her sunlit studio, but the downside of being a painter is the rather isolating character of it. “I’m a social animal…” she says, and it’s clear, “which is why it took some adjusting to this lifestyle.” But there is always a solution to any problem and Ramona is resourceful – painting workshops! A few times a week she spends a few hours with children and grownups who want to paint. “This way I can get people into my studio and I don’t feel so isolated anymore” she smiles. “The neighbours must think I’m very popular when they see all the people coming and going,” she says humorously.
Photo credit: Tara Lawson and David Aparu