Ramona Pintea may not be a name you are all familiar with, but for me she is one of the most inspirational painters around. I first discovered her work when I walked past the OKO Art Gallery in Godalming earlier this year.
I remember seeing a bright, eye-catching piece at an exhibition and immediately understanding it. The relationship between the “inner animals”, who are fierce and courageous, and the contrast to our soft, more delicate features of the women she paints initially seemed to be quite an imbalance. After looking at it for longer, I realised that the relationship between human and animal is one of passion, desire and power.
The use of different animals in her paintings allows a range of viewers to connect to them. My choice of “inner animal” is not a lioness, but I know that many people have hidden lionesses in them. She’s drawn on a range of inspirations, including wolves, bears, tigers, horses and even hummingbirds!
Amazed by Ramona’s work, I was pleased to find her on Facebook and I have been hooked on her work ever since. Not only does Ramona create such moving pieces, she’s also a really relatable and personable artist. When I learnt Ramona was involved in an open studio scheme for local artists to showcase their work, I knew I simply had to meet her.
Her paintings remind me to keep looking for my inner strength and continue making a difference where I can
We spoke about what her art meant both to her and to me; I really valued having the ability to discuss it with her and our conversation was invigorating. Hearing ideas from the artist’s mouth has an air of fact about it, despite art obviously being open to millions of interpretations. Ramona also has such a warm energy when you speak to her that I understood why her paintings passed on a similar message: they are an extension of Ramona herself.
Ramona says she enjoys the exploration of the woman’s state of introspection and vulnerability. She tries to capture the moment a woman looks within herself to find the qualities she needs to keep up in a dynamic, rapidly-evolving society, one which requires us to be powerful yet feminine, decisive but delicate, strong yet caring, assertive but nurturing. Just because we have one characteristic does not mean we can’t possess the other – and it’s this duality that I love about her paintings.
I think the use of bright colours allows her work to radiate positive energy, making them a simple joy to look at whenever I’m feeling low. They also remind me to keep looking for my inner strength and continue making a difference where I can. That, to me, is the true beauty of Ramona’s art.
To introduce you to Ramona’s work, I have selected a few of her pieces which I consider especially powerful and interesting.
‘It’s Just Noise’
When I spoke to Ramona about this painting, she told me that her daughter inspired it; it represents the frustration she sometimes feels when communicating with her.
I love this piece because the aggression and power that the lioness has makes such a contrast to the expression of calm daydreaming on the woman’s face. To me, it’s almost as if the lioness is demanding more from her human incarnation.
I also feel I can relate to this piece. We often find ourselves subduing our inner fires and passions in order to appear calm and cool in the eyes of society – yet it is these very fires and passions that we must listen to in order to be truly ourselves. This is a lesson I have learnt the hard way, but helped by Ramona Pintea and her work.
Being at one with that inner freedom is a great driver for me to continue spreading the message of equality
I love the choices of colours in this piece, between the lucid surroundings and the clarity in the faces of the two subjects; it represents to me the tension between our constantly busy environment and the focus on what matters. Balancing these is the strength we must find within ourselves.
To me, horses also represent escape and freedom. After all, humans have used horses for transport and travel for centuries. The ideology of connecting with your inner wanderer is something that is very relevant to me – I adore travelling and discovering new places.
I read this freedom in terms of wanderlust, but also in terms of overcoming social barriers that we face and must conquer together. Being at one with that inner freedom is a great driver for me to continue spreading the message of equality.
The horse represents magic and mystery due to its close relation to the mystical unicorn. The enigma that the unicorn/horse signifies allows us to have fun with the weird and wonderful – or, the way I interpret that, to enjoy the smaller things in life.
‘The Tiger’s Eye’
This particular piece stands out to me because the tiger is the focal point of the image, whereas in the rest of Ramona’s work the animal and the woman tend to share the limelight. Here, it is like the tiger is protecting the woman from adversity, whilst merging with her human form. To me, it signals the idea of our inner animal knowing what is best for us and ensuring that we remain protected when fighting for what we want.
The tiger is looking directly at you, possibly referencing that we are our biggest obstacle. In order to surmount the challenges we face as women, we must first resolve our own inner conflicts and thoughts.
A beautiful aspect of art is that there is no correct way to create it
I think visual art is sometimes overlooked as a form of displaying the strength women have to offer.
Art pieces are messages. Some are emotional release, some are visual forms of happiness. The meaning of a piece is what makes art special, not just the technique and talent used to create it. The strengths of women that can be displayed through art are almost endless, and a beautiful aspect of art is that there is no correct way to create it. There are no rules to follow; only the space, the medium and where the artist’s mind wanders.
Art has such a visual impact that it allows us to communicate a message more quickly. Used in conjunction with technology, social media and accessible platforms, pieces of artists like Ramona can now be seen by the entire world, not just those who buy a ticket to the gallery. One snapshot, no explanation needed, yet millions can all analyse a painting.
I hope to find more artists like Ramona Pintea who is trying her very best to leave her mark in this world, striving for women to be viewed and treated equally through her powerful works.
Cover image via Twitter. It shows Ramona (left of frame, with bushy red hair and wearing a black top) working on a canvas with her hands, her left hand raised and covered in paint. Second inset via Twitter. It shows Ramona sat at a table wearing a green top, paintbrush in hand, one of her works on the table in front of her and another on the wall behind. All other images used with kind permission of the artist. Second inset is a painting which shows a woman with red hair staring out at the viewer, a lioness shown in profile roaring in her ear. Third inset is a painting of a white horse and a woman touching foreheads. Fourth inset is a painting of a tiger’s head, looking out at the viewer; it obscures a seated, naked woman, her leg raised across her body.