Artists ~ Mary Monteiro

Artist’s name:  Mary Monteiro
Shop name: Avani Original Art

1. Tell us about your work.
I discovered silk painting about two years ago after a life long career as an illustrator. This medium gives me the spontaneity I was looking for. I aim for a balance of letting it happen and exerting some control to avoid undesirable effects. By letting the designs emerge in a wet-on-wet technique I can create one-of-a-kind pieces for my customers.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist?
I started my pursuit of art at 18. I was drawn to Rhode Island in my early twenties because of some very talented artists I met here. Fortunately I was able to apprentice with both of them, one a painter and one an illustrator, and launched my freelance art business in 1976. Art has been my passion ever since.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the beauty of the natural world so I named my silk painting business "Avani" which is Sanskrit for nature. The way I paint now is part my doing and part letting the paint and water flow onto the silk, so my work is signed "Avani" to acknowledge nature as the true artist.

4. What is your favorite item to create?
Definitely my scarf design called "Imagine" named so because people see organic forms: trees, birds and such in the patterns. It's fun for me because I watch the effect "grow" as it drying and add touches here and there.

5. What is your best seller?
My 8 x 72" scarf. Because it's long and thin you can wear it a variety of ways. "Imagine" in Blue, Violet and Turquoise and my "Waterlily" designs are tied for best sellers.

6. What do you love most about Rhode Island?
The people here have a basic respect and appreciation of art which is rare. And there are lots of talented people here who keep me inspired.

7. Anything else?
That would have to be the coffee!


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