Meet the Mixed Media Artist Leading the Landscapes Renaissance The natural world has found a new home and it is in the artworks of Magdalena Morey, Polish-born mixed media artist who currently lives and works in Aranjuez, Spain. Magdalena’s art puts forward a display of memory tinged with melancholy, hope, and nostalgia in the form of abstract landscapes. “I think the world is becoming more abstract. Technology now allows us to represent the world around us in various ways that don’t have an analogue in real-life and consequently as a society we are become more adept at interpreting the abstract.” – Magdalena Morey Having lived and made art all over Europe, Magdalena has become an expert collector, curator and storyteller of the emotions she explores in her art. She tells these stories with materials such as acrylics, watercolour, pastels and gold leaf, all the while embodying an intuitive approach to painting as she explores textures, colours and light. We had a chat with the artist. THE PLUS: What do you like about using square formats for your paintings? Magdalena Morey: Square canvases provide a bit of an intellectual challenge. I discovered them at about the same time that I found my artistic style and loved the contemporary yet simple feel to them. I’d been concentrating on building my online presence and many of the sites that I was using displayed cropped, square thumbnail images of the myriad paintings stored on their databases and I found something immensely satisfying about them. I find that the square aspect guides me towards creating a more defined focal point; something which was originally very challenging! TP: Tell us about the process of a new painting MM: My art always starts from a thought based primarily in either colours or composition which acts as a kind of map. Sometimes the map may be emotional, where I have a mood for a particular palette or for a particular set of memories and at other times I may simply have a mass of shapes or colours or patterns that I want to explore. Once I have an image in my mind that needs to be expressed I will look through my photos until I find something that resonates with it. I will normally work with two paintings on separate canvases simultaneously which have two distinct palettes but which share a similar composition. As I discover little effects and details that work in one piece, I’ll try to expand on them in the other, often with a detail in one becoming a major feature in the other. TP: Which places in the world have inspired you the most in your art? MM: My native Poland etched in me a deep and defining love of the countryside. I grew up running free in the fields and splashing in my grandfather’s millponds so I suppose it’s somewhat inevitable that landscapes play such a dominant part of my portfolio. It was here in Spain, however, where my art finally became my life. By finding ways to express the baking, golden summer heat in contrast to the breathtakingly cool turquoise waters of the remote mountain rivers of Guadalajara and methods of representing the scintillating sunlight in the mountains and rolling hills of beautiful Asturias, I discover more about myself and who I truly am. TP: Are there any memories you’ve found yourself revisiting more than once in your paintings? MM: The sensation of being on the beach in Dorset, where my husband comes from, looking at the clouds. I love to be there, watching the sunlight kiss the sea and experiencing that sense of freedom one gets from looking at the deep ocean horizon. There is and always will be a slight hint of melancholic longing in those moments as I remember simpler days without responsibility and when I could speak my own language. Then I’ll remember about my children and my husband and the melancholy is replaced by something immeasurably more meaningful and joyous. TP: What’s life like as an artist in Aranjuez? MM: I originally moved to Aranjuez to be closer to my sister. Aranjuez itself is a gorgeous old Palace town. But from the perspective of developing an artistic career, there is very little that I can really say about the place. There is not one art gallery. It is an oasis of green in an otherwise barren and near-desert landscape. But this in itself has actually been a blessing in disguise as it’s forced us to explore further into our host country and has allowed me to experience some of the most amazing scenery imaginable. The proximity to Madrid and the thriving art scene there should have been an advantage, however, that scene has proven again and again to be immensely hard for me to break into. TP: How important is it for an artist to travel? MM: I can’t speak for any artist apart from myself, but for me travel is absolutely vital to my art. My family and I love exploring and travelling and my work is fundamentally inspired by what I see on our travels. TP: Abstract art hasn’t always been readily accepted. Why do you think it is being enjoyed so much by so many people nowadays? MM: People now want to have something in their lives that makes them think beyond the immediate aesthetics. On top of that, social media and the internet as a whole has made art readily accessible to everyone, not just to those that can afford it. We tend to think of the modern world as a fast paced, work hard, play hard environment, but in reality people, on the whole, actually have more leisure time now than in any previous time in history. Even if you don’t consciously sit down to look at art in your defined “free time”, at any one point in time millions of people around the world are sitting on a train whilst commuting to work or waiting for the dentist or doctor and looking at works of contemporary abstract art on their phones or tablets and they actually have the time and space to enjoy and interpret it.