Working with high intensity, the Scottish artist Mandy Maria still manages to preserve a softness that stays in contrast to the rough scenes and landscapes she creates.
Mandy Maria has been living in Glasgow for the past 20 years. But her upbringing in the North East part of Scotland still sits with her and is a continued source of inspiration for her work as an artist: “I had an abundance of spectacular countryside in skipping distance from my home. And I’ve always enjoyed hill walking. Where I grew up it didn’t take long to be out in the Cairngorm mountains. It was part of my childhood.”
For several years, she has worked in the industry of design, but as she puts it, getting back into drawing was where she could really articulate her soul. Mandy Maria’s background in design has long influenced her work, but recently she finds herself drawn to a more analogue process.
Colours are often the starting point of Mandy Maria’s creative process, which is why it seemed like the perfect place to explore her newfound fascination with the analogue procedure: “Drawing with pure pigment is exciting! I’m passionate about creating my own pigments with minerals from my sketching trips. Drawing mountains with the mountains.”
In the hands of the weather
“I can’t stay focused long, I move quickly from one idea to the next, so I have to work fast,” Mandy Maria tells. It is something she has previously struggled with, as she dreamed of dedicating more time to each piece. “But it’s just not me. I end up spoiling a piece if I ponder too long, or I simply lose interest.”
It has taken time for Mandy Maria to trust her own mark-making, and to know when to stop. An ability that comes to good use, as she is wanting to work more on location: “Speed will be essential in an unpredictable climate. The pastels I use are so fragile, the contrast of the rugged scenes I create gives a lovely interaction,” she explains and continues: “It’s finding the soft in something so hard and unwelcoming.”
Ultimately, Mandy Maria hopes to convey some of the beauty and sense of adventure of her surroundings. Bringing a window to where you want to be — somewhere uplifting, light, and calm.
Portrait photography by Otago Street Collective