meet art wall artist: anna maria potamiti

February 17, 2010

Annamaria Potamiti has formulated a body of work that is, somehow, "simply complex." Her watercolor paintings are almost meditative, and her contour drawings seem like psychological stories. Today she has offered her time and perspective on her quirky works.

(AW) Your pieces often incorporate text in the form of delicately scrawled phrases--"In the late afternon the orange light came," "The tree in summer," "Small blessings." How are these phrases born? Why do you choose to use text in your work?
(AMP) Working often feels like meditation; I drift off into my own space and dream while I am drawing. Shapes and lines stir memories, and memories come with emotions, and I am talking to the piece I am working on. It's something like a dialogue between my expieriences and the little piece of paper in front of me. At some point I will be "visited" by a sentence, a few words that seem to belong to the drawing or painting. The more focused I am, the more unexpected and "odd" the words will be.

(AW) Many of your drawings seem to have an airy, illustrative quality. Have you always worked in this style? As an artist, have pen/pencil and watercolor always been your media of choice?
(AMP) The funny thing is that I started off my life as an artist making very expressive and very large oil paintings. Then came the time when I had three children under six...and I couldn't imagine having turpentine bottles around the house. I switched to watercolors; they were so much easier to use and drop at a moment's notice if I had to, they took much less space, and I could always have a little pad of paper with me and a tiny box of watercolors in my handbag. I drew everywhere I went and everywhere I took the children--swimming lessons, soccer practices, parks, everywhere. Eventually I started to love the qualities that make the watercolor medium so very special in itself. Now, however, that my youngest is eight and the first two at university, I use both watercolors and acrylics. Acrylics are making all sorts of new things possible.

(AW) What is your creative process? Do you plan a drawing carefully before getting started?
(AMP) I draw constantly, but I find it very hard to "copy" my own drawings. I see every drawing and every painting as a complete artwork, and I am always very conscious of the surface I am painting on at the moment. When I try to copy a drawing, things fall apart because I focus on the single shape I am copying and I lose touch with the "edges" of my paper or wood panel. For some reason the intuitive process is stifled if I isolate a shpae from the whole in which it belongs. There is a series of relationships that are formed with every line and shape that are put down, and if I pay attention, I will respond intuitively and the painting or drawing will move like a dance.

(AW) How would you describe your aesthetic?
(AMP) The world fascinates me and the result of this is that I need to search out forms, shapes, and visual relationships that reflect (and reflect on) some of the complexities and novelties of our experience within this world. I have gone through a phase of doing "accurate likenesses," another phase of doing "cute" things, and for a whole year I spent my mornings on the beach painting small watercolors. I am glad I tried many different approaches and I see them as an invaluable learning process. I am very happy, though, to have finally moved on to what I feel is my unique, individual point of view.

(AW) How has being a mother influenced your work?
(AMP) I have loved being a mother. If money and age (and overpopulation!) were not important, I would have had more children. On the one hand, being a mother restricted my studio time for some years; on the other hand, since my work is dependent upon the depth and scope of my experiences, I think motherhood has enriched my creative processes.

(AW) Thank you for your thoughts, Annamaria. Your ideas about your work have surrounded it with a canopy of intrigue!

Annamaria's "Small Blessing No. 3" is in the master bedroom on Art Wall, and "The Tree in Summer" is in the family room. For more of her prints, drawings, and watercolors, stop by her Etsy Shop.


annamaria potamiti said...

Thank you so much Brittany for the opportunity to articulate my thoughts and ideas. And thank you Katie for welcoming me into your Artwall.It's such a special place to be!
Annamaria xx

Piper said...

Oh, her watercolors are just beautiful. The colors she uses and the designs just draw me in. I love reading about how artists work (since I'm not one!) so thanks for this. I'm really loving the tree picture!!

belinda marshall said...

fantastic interview annamaria {and brittany} ~ can almost feel like i'm sitting there while you create. your thoughts are so clear and your work beautiful :)

Laura said...

such a great interview! i am very happy to have been able to learn more about this very talented artist.

our little love nest said...

Truly wonderful interview, Annamaria and Brittany. I love the depth, soulfulness and clarity in both art and words of Annamaria! Beautiful!

brittany said...

annamaria, thanks again for the wonderful interview. :)

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