Irene, tell us about yourself: Where do you live? What is your background?
I live in Varkiza, a beautiful suburb 25 km south of Athens, Greece. I live by the beautiful Aegean Sea, the best surrounding for a painter. I was interested in painting since I was a little girl and used to draw on every piece of paper that I could find. My busy schedule as a wife and mother of two boys kept me from pursuing my dream until 2006. Although I am mainly self-taught, to refine my skills I have attended workshops in Greece and abroad led by professional artists. I am Signature member of Pastel Society of America and I have achieved Master Circle Status with International Association of Pastel Societies. I am also member of International Guild of Realism.
How did you become a realist painter? What was your artistic path?
Art is about one’s passion. So, my passion is expressed with realism. I was drawn towards realism since I started this wonderful journey. And my need to paint the chosen subject with great precision seduced me into an ongoing battle to mastering new techniques of realism. It was quite a joyful struggle to achieve this quality or realism with pastels.
It is fascinating to see that your paintings are with pastels. Can you tell us more about your process?
Although I started with oils, in 2009 I picked up my first pastel. I instantly fall in love with this magical medium. It reflects light in such a way that the painting’s surface emits a glow. My devotion to the pastel medium is an aspect in my art I am not planning to change and my favourite quote is: “practice in one and do it well”.
I create an underpainting using the side of my pastels and then I wiped out most of the color. Then I start working at a small part at a time. I cover each section considering line, color, tone and edge blending softly with my third finger or with a hard pastel. When I feel one section is done I move to the next one. At the last stage of each section I add more details in order to achieve realism.
How do you get inspired for your new creations?
I paint what I find beautiful and I respond to what catches my eyes using color. I live by the sea so pebbles, sea-worn glass, shells are my favourite subjects and I love depicting the movement and illusion of water. I am also a collector of objects that stimulate my creativity. Everyday objects can be transformed into luminous still life paintings.
Do you have an anecdote that you’d like to share?
I was participating in a joint exhibition with my oil painting “The Beauty of Youth”, a pink rosebud with dew drops. A boy about 7 years old approached and tried to wipe the dew drops with his fingers. It was funny but also made my happy because he thought the rosebud was really wet.
What is the question you’re asked the most? “Is that a painting or a photo?” “How do you achieve realism with pastels?
What is the question you’d like to be asked? Would you sell me this wonderful painting? This question would make me really happy!
What are your projects for the coming months / year?
I am thinking about starting a new series of paintings but I am not ready to talk about it. In my future plans also is to find international representation.
To contact and follow: Irene’s email