Since childhood my passion for art and creativity developed and intensified with every brush stroke. As a child I was surrounded by relatives and friends with a keen talent for graphics and the visual arts. This stimulated my fantasy and imagination. On Sunday, after a week of sketching I would excitedly show my work to all those interested for their evaluation, thus trying to improve and learn the tricks of the trade.
At school art was my favourite subject under the guidance of my tutor Vince Briffa. I was ever keen in using a pencil and draw anything around me. Drawing not only became a passion but also an escape from reality, from the boredom and monotony of repetitive existence.
At a particular stage in life art had started to fade in importance as practice or exercise became intermittent. However, I did the occasional sketch and finally in 2002, I organized my first personal exhibition. This was a turning point in my life as most of my work was a collection of graphics and monochrome. Later I would embark, on painting land, city and seascapes in colour.
Unfortunately I came to another stage where I completely stopped sketching and painting. The muse abandoned me altogether and all my art was put on a shelf not to see the light again until 2006.
In 2007 I organized another exhibition, the Patricia Ilea Art 2007 exhibition. After I was introduced to Marika Azzopardi, I regained enough enthusiasm and exhibited both monochrome and works in colour: my ʻforteʼ in pen and ink, and all the experimenting I had done in acrylics. Thus I proved to myself that I was able to diversify and still retain the graphical aspect of my roots.
In 2009 I organized ʻElements of Moodʼ that was the result of doodling in a different concept and vision. It happened that the source of every sketch or doodle was based on a particular emotion or feeling. With lifeʼs challenges and never a dull moment, these sketches turned out into my best collection ever and these monochrome sketches developed into ʻworks of art that balance moods of tranquillity, serenity and peace on one side and dynamic forces of stress, tension and complexity on the anotherʼ (Borg, E. V. ʻMoods and Emotionsʼ Catalogue Essay, 27.10.2009).
Marika Azzopardi introduced me to E.V Borg and although I was very hesitant in meeting him, she advised me to try and see what he had to say about my art. At some later stage I did so and after launching the collection ʻElements of Moodʼ I prudently considered his evaluation and critique for a three year stretch and put to practice most of what I gained from this exchange.
I feel that my vision in the way I look at life and art has changed. My technique has seen changes which I must say are influenced by Van Gogh and Monet and in some cases more aggressively a touch of Turner too.
ʻCloser to the Heartʼ, is the result of working in the open countryside, as they say én plein air. It all started in 2000 when I took painting in the open seriously and every Saturday morning I left to places where I had never been before. Accompanied by a couple of friends we ventured into open spaces and faced the elements to capture moments with palette knife or brush. The change in season gave us the pleasure that nature would offer. I become so obsessed that week after week stimulated by a craving for the open air I found myself in the middle of a field listening to birds chirping away or hear the crashing of waves against a rocky beach. Returning to my rooftop studio I examined the result obtained in situ. If unfinished I would refer to the series of photos I had taken of the site and continue from there. This was the moment of great delusion when compared to the actual smell of sea and countryside I felt a great emptiness that would stimulate further craving after the authentic, sensual reality. So I organized myself. I set up art gear that would give me a chance to paint in any place: difficult or not – a field, a rocky beach, a hilltop, slope or valley bottom. Being mobile I could walk into places where wheels cannot enter and the more I ventured the more it became ʻCloser to the Heartʼ.
My art has taken me to places where I have never been, made me meet with fantastic people that make this world great to live in.
I have prepared for another exhibition that will display works in colour and monochrome: sketches and paintings that have been done on site, wherever a road may lead to, a valley or on to a rocky beach.
All I know is that my art is who I am, the way I feel, and what I do.
Today, I draw or paint in various mediums. My mood also reflects on the type of medium I would want to create my art with.
2012 saw the opening of The Art Cove … Paintings by Joseph Casapinta, a Gallery at the Cavalieri Hotel and a studio at Balzan, where most of my large canvases are done.
I have lately embarked on a number of projects consisting of large canvases with both landscapes and abstract forms taking my art to distant shores.
Ilea Patricia Rodica