Neo-Impressionistic art is something that is very difficult to master; as opposed to painting something the way that you see it, the way it appears in nature. The artist, instead of simply rendering a representational image, imbues personal feelings in relation to a given subject. This becomes more complex as one attempts to adequately portray these emotions to a given audience. One of the foremost contemporary painters working today, Maria Rosina Jaakkola, uses her artistic prowess to convey exactly the right emotions in an incredibly powerful manner. Her work was recently on view at Broadway Gallery in Soho, NYC. Trained as both a landscape architect and visual artist, her elegant watercolors take the viewer on a visual journey—one that is moving, contemplative and full of emotion. Her work Impression, Venice, Italy depicts a very familiar scene of the Venetian landscape with an interesting twist. Most notable, is the high concentration of richly, beautiful colors that immediately consume the viewer; upon closer inspection one notices the sketched lines that outline the composition. Her handling of the water is also unique. Therein you can see the subtly vague orange and blue building reflections, each brushstroke highlighting the color of the water in an illuminated manner. Pöntsö, Lapland, Finland is another of her impeccably painted works that depicts a majestic winter landscape. Here, her application appears effortlessly strewn together. Her colors are those, which we usually associate with winter; including cold, frost bitten shades of blue, white, and forest green. Her blue sky is effervescent as it barely breaks out of the huge white clouds in the sky. And her minimal amount of detailing allows the viewers’ imaginations to run completely wild. This incredibly delft understanding of composition, color and image doesn’t come easy.
I recently interviewed Maria to find out more about her.
Jill Smith: How did you become a painter and how long have you been painting? How do your two careers co-exist and feed on each other?
Maria Rosina Jaakkola: I have been painting and drawing as long as I can remember. My most cherished childhood memories smell of oil color – my late grandmother, an academy-trained artist, used to let me paint still-lives with her while she was baby-sitting. As a five-year-old, I remember being taken to the National Museum of Art in Helsinki, and thinking “I want to learn how to do that.” To keep me quiet as a child, giving me paper and pencil would do the trick for hours. However, I feel that I found my own “voice” as a painter ironically by preparing for another walk of life, that of a landscape architect. This career choice was triggered by my interest in nature and the beauty therein, as well as the need to draw. I learned to fully appreciate and deeply understand impressive landscapes through my studies at the university. I realized that making watercolors was the most enjoyable way to talk about my experiences both for myself and in my curricular activities. It was natural and easy, like breathing. To further explore my passion to make art I spent a year in the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. There I experimented in graphic art and printmaking among other things, and thereafter had my first solo exhibit in 1994. I then went back to graduate with a Master’s Degree in landscape architecture and, through a winding path of seeking and discovering, ended up working with city planning in a position of leadership. Meanwhile, I did some more experimenting in the art field, including sculpture studies in Florence, Italy. I am constantly on the move to find productive, yet harmonious ways to combine these interests that have become interwoven in my life’s texture. One has taken me to places that I might not otherwise find and provided fruitful environments to the other. After all, they both involve creating and experiencing places.
JS: Fascinating. What is the inspiration or message behind your paintings?
MJ: I feel that there is so much beauty in the world, from the little things to vast
expanses of space, the depth, the layers of air, soil, culture stratifying on them, that it would be a crime not to immortalize it. I feel the task of art–be it music, theater, visual art–is to lift one up from the everyday and unravel the secrets of being, the magic of the ordinary. I always carry an aquarelle block with me on whatever journey I embark on. My landscapes are made on the spot, outdoors in, say, half an hour or less, seeking to capture a moment in time and space. Sometimes nature takes part in the process, like in the sketches I made in Lapland on a ski trip. It was ten below zero in centigrade and the water froze on the paper – you can still see the crystals in the sky.
Maria Rosina Jaakkola is a captivating artist in the midst of her career. And she captures the magic of the ordinary with ease. Her Neo-Impressionistic works are a form of emotional realism. Since 2008 she has been exhibiting actively in Europe (Finland, Italy, France, Monaco, Spain) and recently also in the US. Viewers should anticipate her future projects including a solo show in early 2013 in Helsinki, Finland, as well as in June-July 2013 in Galerie Monod in Paris, France.
courtesy of the artist