Maria Floyd is a painter based in Devon and Cornwall and has worked here for over 15 years. She studied Fine Art/ History of Art BA(Hons) at Goldsmiths College, London in the early 1990s and has had a passion for painting from a young age.

She is featured by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation on their website as a partner artist and exhibited as a shortlisted candidate in 2016 and 2017 in their Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

Her paintings are made as a direct response to a landscape or seascape and are deep rooted in the North Cornish coastline and the dramatic landscape of Dartmoor. Connecting abstract elements with expressive drawing, they convey a feeling of a fleeting moment, capture a situation or experience. Works on paper and board are made outside and the elements make their mark, influencing the finished piece which may then be further developed in the studio. Making observational sketches outside is at the heart of her work, and experimenting with a variety of media and tools at every stage of the process.

Maria - A Song Without Words
'A Song Without words' - oil on canvas

What’s the best work related thing you have done recently?

I have been selected for two online exhibitions over the lockdown period, The Old Lock Up Gallery in Derbyshire (Open exhibition) and The Little Buckland Gallery in Gloucestershire - Broadway Arts Festival Open. I’m also working on illustrations for Open Hearts Open Borders, a charity in Plymouth that I am really delighted to be supporting.

What irritates you?

Unnecessary plastic and the mountains of waste produced... Plastic bags, straws, over-packaging in supermarkets, avocados and bananas in plastic bags all really irritate me. Not to mention the fact that it then pollutes our landscape and our oceans. I could go on.. don’t start me on palm oil.

Maria - Footprints across the Land
'Footprints across the Land' - oil on canvas board

Who do you most admire?

I was lucky enough to meet David Shepherd a few years ago and he was such a great and interesting man. He spent his career and life combining his two passions - painting and wildlife conservation. An amazing raconteur, he was very funny and engaging, I listened to him give a talk and then got the chance to sit with him for a while afterwards where we talked a bit about painting and his projects in Africa. He had some incredible adventures and continued to work tirelessly for his cause all his life. I would have loved to hear more of his stories and his work, his campaign for endangered wildlife and how he started his charity to combat wildlife crime and poaching. His life long passion for conservation resonated with me, and inspired by him, I was shortlisted twice for the Wildlife Artist of the year, exhibiting in the Mall Galleries and I continue to be a partner artist for his charity. His legacy continues at DSWF.

Who would you most like to meet?

It is another David! David Attenborough this time. With strength of purpose and years of experience he would be fascinating.

Maria - Triumphant Sea
'Triumphant Sea' - oil on canvas board

What motivates you and inspires you?

I am constantly striving to develop my work further and push it forward. I continually challenge myself with mark making, materials, ever changing light and landscapes. Walking through the landscape, drawing, mixed media using feathers and sticks to make the lines and scratches. I want to make the best work that I can and that motivates me. I am inspired by so many artists, the Cumbrian landscapes of Sheila Fell, the freedom of late Turner paintings, the palette of Giorgio Morandi and the experience of Mark Rothko, I could keep going.

Where is your favourite place?

I really love Italy - particularly Venice, I studied Italian and History of Art at school and I was hugely influenced by Renaissance art as a teenager. I have been lucky enough to have visited other beautiful places in the world but the Cornish coastline brings me back every time. In all seasons, I love the rugged wild coast of Cornwall, and it dominates my paintings and is intrinsic to my work.