Mona Vella, Painter

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I was born during the last years of WW2. Life was not easy then, though so much simpler than today. I had a happy childhood, surrounded by a supportive family and friends. I consider myself lucky too because I have so far lived through seventy years of peace. As a child I enjoyed all kinds of creative activities, but best of all I liked playing in my grandmother’s garden. It was full of fragrant flowers, light and colour – verbenas, sweet peas, and endless rows of calla lilies. The inspiration for my floral watercolours goes back to those days.

Today happiness is being out in the country and painting, either in my studio or with my friends. I paint twice a week with my group of friends.

I do not travel much these days; my ideal holiday would still be somewhere up in the Austrian Alps. I do not consider myself to be a professional artist; I spent forty years in education – some twenty years of teaching art was one aspect of my former career. At times I fantasize about what other careers I could have taken up, but now I am what I am and there is no going back!

When I retired I promised myself to be flexible and not to be tied down with tight schedules – out went the alarm clock! On waking up, I have an extra strong cup of coffee and see to various household chores. I then go to my studio and immerse myself my painting, totally oblivious of everything else around me.

My favourite medium remains watercolour, it has a life of its own. I find that it is most suitable for my floral paintings. I have several works close to my heart but an early landscape of Wied Garnaw is my favourite. I start to panic whenever I hear that someone wants to develop that valley! I paint all weekdays; Sundays however are family time, being together especially with the little ones.

I never think about what genre my work is… that is for others to say. I am influenced by all that surrounds me. An idea can come suddenly into my mind or linger on for months or years till I can execute it. Among my favourite artists are Georgia O’Keeffe and John Singer Sargent.

At the moment I am starting on portraits, progress is slow because as an artist I aspire to do better every time. Painting, like all forms of art is developmental… you can improve or regress but never static. Dishing out the same, because it sells can be very damaging.

What would I do with a million euros? Perhaps a world trip visiting famous works of art. I’d buy some famous painting, or more likely… set up a charitable foundation.
How do I describe my work? “Look around, there is beauty to be found everywhere.”

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Paula Fleri-Soler

Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.

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