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Oil painter Maria Kitano might as well be a meteorologist—or astronomer—for how often she catches herself watching the sky. Lucky for us, she’s a full-time freelance artist who is able to take her atmospheric insights and transform them into abstract paintings brimming with sentiment.

Not one to get caught up in complexities, Maria chooses instead to represent the world abstractly, one significant bird, beautiful experience, heartfelt conversation or vivid memory at a time.

A glance at Maria’s portfolio and there’s no doubt in my mind she loves birds, and especially lovebirds! Lovebirds 121 (seen below) is my favorite example because of its intense color scheme and gorgeous three-dimensionality.


Two lovebirds hover inconspicuously on a transmission line as twilight, misty and magical, settles heavily over their neighborhood. They hunker down, cloaked mysteriously in black as if trying to become part of the line, themselves! Meanwhile, nightfall threatens to enfold every last beam of light with the help of bunched trees bending outwardly, beckoning the two birds as if to tell them the day’s secrets.

In Maria’s next painting, Frozen Lake 5, a minimalistic approach proves that less really can be more. This abstract painting gives viewers an opportunity to use their imagination while realistically representing the bone-chilling starkness of winter.

frozen lake 5

This painting’s ice-blue lake mirrors the clouded sky and blends effortlessly into the snow-encrusted, textured tundra, making it hard to tell where water ends and earth begins. Maria expertly used a deep mauve instead of a boring black to portray frozen ground. She ties the mauve back to the blushed sky above and the reflected water below, creating a beautifully harmonized composition.

Finally, the vertical black shadows in Dark and Light 2 remind me of stalactites and stalagmites forming deep within a cave. Continuing with that thought, fire-like hues infuse distant cavern walls with light, yet fail to remove a sense of urgency and danger.

dark and light 2

This is one bold painting that I could give a hundred unique meanings to, but that only makes it all the more intriguing and special.

Maria also uses a variety of other mediums, including pencil, graphite, pastels and watercolor. These can be found on her website alongside her notable “Birds on a Wire” oil painting series (which all by itself is well worth a look!)

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Indigenous Filipino artist Jef Cablog’s bright career in oil painting began when he decided to explore the traditions of his ancestors in his work. With paintings that are both realistic and expressionistic, Jef turns back the hands of time to portray the earthy, yet also dreamlike, culture of the Philippines.

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