Arts Interview: Eva Nowinska

John Rainsford


John Rainsford

Artist Eva Nowinska
Born in Sosnowiec, Poland, I have one younger sister called Anna.

Born in Sosnowiec, Poland, I have one younger sister called Anna.

Phonetically my name is pronounced Ava Novinska. I liked it back home, surrounded by my family and friends, and I never wanted or planned to live anywhere else. However, I came to Ireland for a summer holiday, about eight years ago, as a student. Then, while doing some summer work in the lovely town of Strandhill, Co. Sligo, I fell in love with an Irishman, called Tony Davern.

In Primary School I had a great art teacher, who got me interested in art history.

We have Secondary Art Schools all over Poland, and that is where I first began to learn my craft. You had to pass all of your art exams to get in. So, it took nearly five years to graduate, not the usual four you have in Secondary Schools, in Ireland. I always knew what I wanted to do, however, I wasn’t exactly sure which aspect of art would be the most interesting for me. After trying almost everything in Secondary School, I decided to go to the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice and took painting as my main faculty. I finally graduated with a Masters Degree on 2008.

My aunt Henia was always painting and I remember painting with her as a child.

I still have my first oil painting signed as Eva Five Years Old. That was a really early start. She was always encouraging me. My parents, Malgorzata and Zygmunt, are not really very arty, but they always told me to choose to do whatever it was that I liked the most. That was a big help. There must be something in our genes because my sister is a great Graphic Designer.

I love painting landscapes. Every time I go somewhere I am inspired by what I see all around me.

Every trip I went on for my holidays was also a great opportunity to start a new series of paintings. When I came to Ireland I just fell in love with the landscape, here. It is just so beautiful and also very hard to describe, so it is easier for me to express my feelings through paint. I painted a large series of canvasses dealing with the Irish coastline for my Master’s Diploma. People over in Poland just could not believe that such a landscape really existed. I was, even, called an abstract painter in one of the magazines, there. However, I like to paint people also, as a more personal subject. I really have to see something in a persons face to want to paint them, though. It must be an interesting concept for me, like a landscape. My work is, currently, on display in The Gallery at Castletroy Shopping Centre, which is owned by Breedge Whyte.

The most recent exhibition that I participated in was called The Journey at The Red Door, Gallery, in Newcastle West.

It was a big project in association with various compassionate societies, dealing with grief, dying and loss. It was really deep subject matter, and also, very interesting, as every artist looks at it from a personal viewpoint. My landscape paintings represent different expressions of anger, sadness, and emptiness. In this I draw inspiration from great artists like William Turner, Edgar Degas, and Toulouse Lautrec. I always like to go back to the old masters, who were cutting edge in their own time. Indeed, there is a lot of great art out there, today. The most important question to ask about a painting is, does it inspire you? If I look at something beautiful it should make me want to do something beautiful, also.

There is both pain and pleasure involved in being an artist.

These feelings are either inside you or not. There is both a need to create something and to show it. Sometimes you don’t even know for sure what it is that you want to do, and it takes a while to get it all down on canvas. Sometimes, I can’t paint for several weeks, and then bum with the need to paint all the time. The process just happens. I don’t make plans for the future. I will see what the future brings me and go along with it, rather like a fish following a stream.

Art was the only thing that I really ever wanted to do.

However, there were lots of people at my university who went through the same studies as I did and they are doing something completely different today. There are others who work to paint. These are people working by day but finding the time to paint and create because they can’t live without it. Creating a work is encouragement enough. You put your heart and soul into it and long to see the result. So I would encourage people to paint because it does lead to satisfaction, eventually. Happily, children are encouraged to paint in Limerick. In my own class I see children who love to come in every week and can’t wait to see what they are going to do next.

It isn’t easy working as an artist, but it is easier, here, than in Poland.

Both these countries have different ways of doing things and both help artists. However, I have found more support, here, than in Poland. I was really surprised by how many Limerick people actually appreciated art. If you go to any of the art exhibitions or openings, there is always a big attendance.

My biggest inspiration is the Cliffs of Moher, where my fiancé took me for our very first date.

Now, he has to try really hard to find somewhere as spectacular as that to show me. I just can’t get enough of the Irish countryside, with its mountains, fields, and farmyards. These are wild places, where nature itself overpowers you!

For more information about the work of Eva Nowinska please see the website: