Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maria D'Angelo, #WesternArtWednesday

Today I get to introduce an artist with the most detailed pictures I have ever seen!
Maria D'Angelo

I have been drawing since I was a child in Staten Island, NY and I often say I feel as though I was born with a pencil in my hand. Pretty much everyone who has known me since that young age agrees with me.

"Pedro"  15 1/4" x 9

Although I'm from the east, it is the American west, particularly the horses and Native American people, which I chose to capture on paper. The west has captured my heart from a very early age. The freedom and independence, the wide open spaces and beauty of the land are all things that I love. The history and courage of the people who shaped the west and our country, especially the Native Americans and their way of life have always been fascinating to me. And horses have long been the foundations of my artwork. I draw horses of all breeds and disciplines, but I especially love the vaquero tradition of horsemanship. The gear of the vaquero and the regalia of the Plains Indians are works of art in and of themselves and I feel they add great interest and texture to a drawing.

"Gathered Up"

I studied fine art in college but feel my talent is natural and has blossomed under the mentorship I receive from acclaimed artist Krystii Melaine. I've also spent a lot of time traveling in the western US visiting museums, galleries, historic sites and attending cultural events and equine shows where I get a lot of inspiration.

Can You Keep A Secret" 16 1/2" x 21 1/4"
I was up in Greenville, NY watching and photographing a barrel race and noticed these two interacting with each other. I snapped a few photos and Can You Keep A Secret was born.

My works usually start with an outline drawing, then evolve into compositions in which light against dark and fine details are the primary focus. It is the fine details that my clients most often remark about when they see my drawings. The detail is usually the first thing that draws a person to my drawings. They are always amazed by it.

I Strike First" 17" x 10"
 I was at a Powwow in Sussex County NJ and was very interested in this man's regalia. It was extremely well made and very traditional so I began snapping photos of him and captured this one. I later introduced myself to him and found out his name is Annawon Weeden of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and he appeared as King Philip in the PBS series We Shall Remain among other films.

While I've worked in different media in the past, it is the pencil I always comes back to. It’s my tool of choice because it gives me great control and versatility. I especially love Nero pencils. They contain a small bit of oil in them making the blending very different. Strathmore 500 Series Bristol is my favorite paper to work on. I love the smoothness of this paper and it enables me to capture the tiny details in each piece.

Here is one of my most recent pieces of artwork showing a woman and the vaquero tradition and how it has spread to Europe. This is Prisca Fuchs-Bachmann of Switzerland. (Photo taken by my friend, Heiko Rodde.)

"Power And Elegance"  15" x 8

During the day, I work as a school bus driver. This type of job allows me the time I need for my artwork, plus not only gives me a steady income, but it also provides me a break away from the tediousness of my time at the art table. I'm up early in the bus and am home by 9 AM and get right to the drawing board for some hours. Then I'm out again to pick the children back up from school and once I'm home, it's back to the drawing board until bed time. Eventually I would love to do the artwork full time, but for right now this schedule works very nicely for me.

"Honey" 11"X11 1/2"

"Smoky"  13" x 14
Here are a few examples of bridle horses I have drawn from photos taken by my friend Patti Grant Martin

As far as advice to someone just getting started as an artist. Practice, patience, practice, persistence, discipline, practice, be flexible and open minded and did I mention practice? Seriously, the more you draw (or whatever your choice of media) the more you learn and the better you get. And never ever quit. No matter what you are told or how many walls you hit, just keep on going. Find a way in your busy life to fit the art in. Whether that means saying no to going out to the movies or watching your favorite program (I haven't turned on a TV in 5 years - seriously!) or finding a  day job that will allow you the time you need for your art even if it means cutting corners a bit. Do whatever has to be done in order to get the art time in. And make sure you are loving what you do. It will never work otherwise.

All of the above artworks have been sold with the exception of Power And Elegance which will be available at the Traveling The West Show in Dallas, TX at the end of October. I also happily accept commission work.

Where can we find you online?

Maria D'Angelo - Fine Art In Pencil
35 Mountainside Drive
Newton, NJ 07860
web site:


Pinterest - Maria D'Angelo Fine Art in Pencil

If you like this post be sure to check out the #WesternArtWednesday index page to see artists we've featured in the past and subscribe to the Cowgirl Mama newsletter up on the right side of the page so you'll never miss another post!

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