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Bromelias: oil on canvas.

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I was born in the state of Minas Gerais in a small town named Rio Novo. Ever since I was a small child, I was familiar with paints and brushes, as my mother always enjoyed painting. As such, when I was 13--in 1971--I took a few classes with an Italian nun who worked at the school that I attended. After that, I never stopped again. I sold my first painting at age 15. I graduated in journalism from Federal University in the city of Juiz de Fora. This is a large city with approximately half a million inhabitants. Despite being an important industrial center it is also known as a center for regional culture where all the arts are valued. "When I was 25 I had my first exhibition of drawings (graphite) and paintings. One year later--in 1984--I had another individual exhibition this time with drawings only.

In 1985, my husband was assigned to work for 3 months at a town along the coast in southern Bahia state. We ended up being there for 13 years! In this place, a small fishing village named Caravelas, bromeliads grow in the sand under strong sunlight. While there I taught painting for 12 years. I also taught myself to sew during this time. In 1996, I did an individual exhibition of paintings (watercolor and oils) with the sea as the theme.

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In 1998, we returned to Juiz de Fora. There I combined my sewing skills with my artistic vision and started a career in fashion design. I currently produce made-to-order accessories and bridal costumes on exclusive basis. Recently, I began teaching painting again-holding oil on canvas classes once a week.

I have always admired Impressionist painting. I used to try painting that way but I ended up including too many details, using thin brushes, and escaping from the style. Because of that, I decided to let my hands "do whatever they wanted", and they led me to the Realist style. Now, I am very happy with the choice.

Regarding bromeliads as subjects, while flipping through a magazine, I saw a beautiful Orthophytum burle-marxii, and decided to paint it. I wrote to the photographer, Araquem Alcantara, a great photographer of Brazilian nature. He approved my idea, and authorized me to use his picture as model. When I finished that painting, I started to look for other bromeliads through the Internet and I also took my own pictures. After a little over two years, I feel that now is the right time to show the results of all my efforts. I would like to highlight that BSI's website was a great source for my research and the amazing support you all gave me was also extremely helpful. I also must mention Mr. Elton Leme, the renowned researcher and taxonomist from Brazil, who offered me important information on the theme.

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Marcia Valle Ribeiro de Oliveira (1). Illustrations by the author.

(1) Juiz de Fora-MG, Brasil, marciavalle2001@yahoo.com.br

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Title Annotation:General
Author:de Oliveira, Marcia Valle Ribeiro
Publication:Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:507
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