Maria Harding is an artist who creates colourful bird paintings in oils and acrylics, exploring the central theme of freedom.
She earned her Fine Art honors degree at Liverpool University, UK and her work is included in numerous private collections across the world including Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Spain and France. Handpicked to show at The Other Art Fair 2019 presented by Saatchi Art in Sydney
Originally from the UK, Maria is now based in the Blue Mountains, Australia where she works from her peaceful home studio which backs onto National Park bushland.
Painting is my way of entering the flow of creation, that elusive state where we find ourselves totally absorbed in what we’re doing. My current fascination with birds began in a meditation, where I imagined myself soaring and gliding through a beautiful sunset. This evolved into a series of paintings which I feel, more than ever before in my work, embodies this magical sense of flow.
I paint birds because, for me, their ability to fly symbolises the ultimate freedom and I believe all of us, humans and animals alike, should have the right to feel free. On the ground birds often appear fearful, making sharp movements, on the lookout for danger. In contrast, in the sky they are free, of predators and of boundaries. My aim is to capture on canvas the joy these birds must feel, flying so high above the world.
After experimenting with different paints, I found that the combination of acrylics and oils works best for me. My process is to paint intuitively using loose abstract acrylic brushstrokes, then switch to oils to add the birds, in a way that compliments the background colours and forms.
The essence of these paintings is the ending of a hero’s journey, when after a long search the hero finally finds what they were looking for. My intention is to acknowledge everything that we humans overcome in our messy, imperfect lives and to celebrate that amazing feeling we all get when time seems to stop and we are in the flow. To press pause on a moment in time is to feel we are flying, with ease and grace like birds in the sky.