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Mark Sean Orr®
Anna Maciejewska-Dyba is a self-taught, fine and folk, independent painter, living in New York.
She was born in Poland and grew up in the old and beautiful town of Zator. I first became
aware of Anna's wonderful art when I joined the Ovation TV Community website. I was quickly a
fan and admirer of her wonderful paintings.
Hi Anna...thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me for the Collectors
World Online website. I can't wait to share the story of your life and art with my family
Let's get started!
You were born in post-war Poland and grew up in the region of Zator....what was
Zator like and can you tell us a bit about your family as well?
In those times, the Zator region was small, peaceful and rural; a perfect environment for living a
comfortable country life and my family cherished that lifestyle. My father worked for the National
Research Institute for Animal Production, Cracow, Poland and because of that, our family lived
in the most beautiful countryside.
It sounds amazing Anna and I think that upbringing is evident in your art...the scenes
are beautiful and charming. One theme I notice a lot in your paintings is the subject
of fish...how does that relate to your upbringing?
There is a wonderful history to this land - since medieval times it was a center of fish farming. I
spent my childhood in a kind of paradise which shaped my character and my soul. I grew up in
a beautiful country among educated, highly cultural people at home and great traditional folk
people around. I was fortunate to get the best education available and I've met great and
interesting people who inspired me for life.
When did you notice your interest in art?
Since early childhood I've been interested in art. Finally at the age of 40, I became an active
painter when I realized that nothing was as important to me as painting. It was my true calling.
However nothing was lost from previous life because finally everything benefits my art. It was
an outburst of creativity combined with a passion to preserve the world of my youth. Rural
landscapes, animals, plants and nature in all it's beauty inspire me. I have a strong interest in
Polish and American folklore and the rural heritage of these countries. RFD is one of my
favorite TV channels!:)
I think that is one of the things that draws me to your art Anna...I also have a deep
love and interest in my heritage and rural life here in Indiana. I can definitely relate.
|Artist Anna Maciejewska-Dyba
You stated that you started painting at age 40.... what did you do before that and did
your previous occupation contribute to your current passion for painting?
By trade I am an agricultural engineer with many years of professional work experience. My
knowledge of country life and agriculture supports my art tremendously - I just know what I
paint. I can feel it because I lived it myself, I touched it with my own hands and I saw it with my
own eyes, and I understood it. That great love and knowledge of nature give me the ability to
catch the spirit of subjects I paint. It is the natural world that is a constant theme in my art and
an endless source of inspiration and comfort. My paintings are a way of expressing gratitude,
transferring my subjects memory and beauty into a better world - the world of art.
Beautifully stated ....I've never heard an artist express it so eloquently. Your
expression of gratitude through your art is a powerful thing. So....you moved to
America when you were 38....what did you do here upon your arrival?
My life in the US supported my interest in art even stronger. I worked in renowned New York
galleries specializing in antique European rugs and tapestries. It was the most beautiful and
satisfying work to restore and preserve the old beauties to their previous state. I learned
needlework in my very young years by watching village people doing traditional folk
embroidery, weaving killims and cross stitching beautiful floral designs. I loved that work and I
learned it very well. It came in handy in the right time!
That sounds like a fascinating and fulfilling job. What do you like to do in your spare
time now..when you are not painting?
My most rewarding time I'm spending in art museums and my favorite ones in New York are the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and especially Cloisters, Folk Art Museum, Smithsonian's and
MoMA. In Washington DC it is The National Portrait Gallery, Art Museum and Modern Art
Museum, also my favorite there is the Museum of Natural History where I can spend days......
A lovely place is also a small museum called The Frick Collection in NYC, near Central Park.
I've seen there original paintings by my master George Stubbs.
Some wonderful places to be sure! So how did you find the Ovation website and what
keeps you coming back?
Over three years ago, accidentally, just flipping through the channels, I found Ovation TV and
since, I became a member of the Ovation Art Community. I met there the most interesting and
fantastically creative artists. It was kind of a blessing for me to find that community. I learned
there so much that can say it changed me into a better artist and a better person.
I'm reminded of another folk artist names Anna when I view the subjects of your
paintings. Her full name is Anna Marie Roberston Moses .... a.k.a Grandma Moses.
Has anyone told you that before and do you see a comparison between her work and
That is so nice of you, Mark, to mention Grandma Moses. I love her! She is the sweetest and
one of the most influential folk artists. I flatter myself that she started painting as a mature
person as I did. She suffered from arthritis as I do. She knew needlework and embroidery as I
do. Her horoscope sign was Virgo as is mine. Can I feel close to her because of all these
similarities? Yes, I do. Do I want to give that much beauty and positive energy through my art?
Yes, I do. Do I want to have that heavenly optimism? Yes, I do!
Who are your favorite artists?
I admire all artists and I've learned from many of them. In general, Medieval art is closest to my
heart for its spirituality and directness. I love art of the Brothers Limbourg and the Bruegels.
This is probably the reason why I love folk art so much because it comes straight from that
Medieval spirit of free expression, enriching itself with all other artistic epochs and manners
throughout the ages. I love Edward Hicks for his absolutely angelic message in his art. I admire
George Stubbs, an 18th century English country painter. I must mention American folk painters
like: John Brewster, Wintrop Chandler, Rufus Hathaway, Erastus Salisbury Field, Noah North,
Sheldon Peck, Ammi Phillips, Morris Hirshfield and mysterious Henry Darger. All of them
created art that tells the most beautiful stories about people and historical times. My nickname
"Folkartanna" comes from my deep conviction and love for folk art. To me it is the most sincere
and most unpretentious of all arts. It is naive and it is innocent. I love that with my whole heart.
|Blue Heron by Folkartanna
I have to agree about folk art being completely sincere and unpretentious. I love it as
well for those very same reasons.
What advice would you give to upcoming painters who are just starting out?
I'm not sure if I am in the position to give advice to others. But if my words could be helpful I
would say: before you start painting, open your heart to the beauty of God's creation. Learn as
much as you can about the world, nature, life and human condition. Have your eyes open to
the fate of all living things and your heart to compassion and understanding. Remember what
is said about love, "love is patient, love is naive, love is not in a hurry...". Don't paint for your
ego, paint for the bigger idea. Sanctify your artistic effort. Then you will not believe how
far-reaching, fulfilling, and honest your art will become.
I think that is wonderful advice!
What do you think of the new advances in technology....specifically digital painting?
Do you think digital painting is as valid as brush and canvas? Does painting with a
"mouse" take something away from the process?
Thank you for asking that question, Mark. Many people have a problem with accepting digital
art on equal footing with all other arts. Unfortunately, many great digital artists are hurt by this
kind of prejudice. I think that any way in which artists can express their creativity is right and
acceptable. Computer mouse is as good as brush and canvas. For example, for a long time
photography was not accepted as art and today can we even imagine the art world without
photography? How much beauty, pleasure, information and other artistic qualities can be
conveyed by it. The same situation applies to digital art. It can be as valuable and substantial
as painting, sculpture or making music.
Do you have a schedule for painting or do you just paint as you feel in the mood?
I'm a natural artist painter which means that nothing can be scheduled or forced in my artistic
effort. I paint whenever I feel in the mood. I used to paint with great excitement and hurry. It was
like I was only a tool, a vessel to channel my art into being. I had to create a painting almost
every day and it often left me emotionally and physically worn out. Now that I've created a solid
body of work, I found myself in a much more peaceful and relaxed mode. I like it this way
because it is less urgent and ultimately less exhausting.
I love to cook in my kitchen and at the same time to paint while listening to classical music. That
warm and homey atmosphere helps me to concentrate on my art. I hope that I convey that
peace and warmth into my paintings and people can feel it. I used to put my paintings in the
sunshine in attempt to transfer some of that positive energy into them.
One sentence that describes your art?
My art is about my grateful heart, great love and my desire to preserve the beauty I've
experienced in my life.
Thank you, Mark. It was a true pleasure and a really great experience to do this interview. I
love and admire your art and especially your journalistic work. I hope, that some day your work
will be a great source of information for the art historians:).
Thank you Anna. It was great to learn more about you and your art!
Mark Sean Orr
|Red Rooster by Folkartanna
|Anna Maciejewska-Dyba at work creating art in her kitchen.
|When I look at a horse
or a duck or a dear I see
a perfect, beautiful
creation and I want to
paint them to preserve
the beauty and memory
|I hope my art is a way to
create a better
appreciation, love and
understanding of nature
and... the life itself.
|All my paintings have
their origins in my life
experience, past or
present, and all of
them mirror my love for
the subjects I paint.
Behind all of them
stands a story.
Interview with Artist Anna Maciejewska-Dyba
by Mark Orr