Having embraced art since childhood, it became a life passion since my first oil painting was sold at age of 12. This profound craving for art is behind the long-lasting career which enabled me to widen out, through the innovative years, until my realism paintings invited the attention of many art critics, journalists and received numerous Awards. Some of my art collectors are from Royal families and one of them is the former Prime minister of Canada Pierre E. Trudeau who was, along with her Majesty the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, in one of my paintings the Canadian Constitution Acts 1982 on which I received a thank you letter from Mr. Trudeau 1999 expressing how proud he was to hang it in his home. This painting entered the history of Canada so did in UK where the Medias wrote about and my art became international landmark.
Being born in Egypt and was raised up in Cairo by a loving family, has influenced my warm paintings. Some people have called me the daughter of the Nile where I see myself as the daughter of nature. Nature works as the necessary oxygen in my life since childhood and gratitude to my Parents who used to take us to gardens. First pencil drawing was done at the age of seven, since then, painting has become the window from which I perceive life, nature, truths and peoples. Recalling the first drawing in water colors, I had painted in school, caused me tears of frustration because could get the fine details were in mind. Those moments stood behind the creation of my realism oil paintings. Ever since, I have held it as a life passion which turned to be my serious career. I used to spend my allowances to buy art supplies and stayed late nights or woke up early mornings to paint (even though what I wanted was chocolates). In comparison, however, the magnetic of painting has been my ultimate joy and more valuable than any amount of chocolate could have been.
Seeing seriousness in my artwork, my dear Mother surprised me with a whole set of art supplies. I become overjoyed and immediately, started my first oil painting on canvas. My Family loved it enough that my dear Mother took it to get framed. Unexpectedly, Mother came home without the painting and happily announced that was sold to the owner who offered her a good price. My Mother was happy for me but I had mixed feelings! While was impressed that someone loved my painting enough to buy it, I missed very much which resulted of not wanting to sell artwork for a while. However, I started to give some painting away as gifts to those were dear to me. Later, I sold few on a commission basis.
Second half of the 70’s I worked as Interior and exteriors designer for it was the primary education in five years University.
In 1982, I worked as a Graphic Artist in Toronto, Canada and became thrilled when was chosen to produce an oil painting of the Canadian Constitution Acts which was presented to the then Prime Minister Mr. Pierre E. Trudeau. The painting is still hanging in his house in Montreal and my name appeared in the Toronto Star Newspaper as the highlight.
When art was not doing well during the rescission of the 80’s, I had to explore a new experience resulted in obtaining a diploma in Business administration and worked for Canada Post Cooperation, Head Office, Ottawa. During that period, I was still painting in evenings and making additions to my art collections. I had to sell some of those paintings at times and some were done on commission requests. 1996, I sold two paintings in an Art exhibition in the O’Keefe center, Toronto to raise funds for the Canadian Opera. Since then, I have been exhibiting in local, National and International Art Exhibitions and received numerous awards nationally and internationally. Interestingly, an international Award has been named after my name The Mona Youssef-Leonardo Da Vinci Award.
Some of my paintings, art prints and greeting cards have reached many countries and my profile has appeared in numerous local, National and International publications, Art magazines and catalogs, where viewers have recognized the special depth found in the energetic paintings as a result of the extensive previous experiences worked as interior/exterior designer, graphic designer, commercial artist, layout artist and even created architectural presentations and designs included drafting preparations/elevations from blue prints. I have also worked as a jurist for numerous International exhibitions.
On broadening, I took courses in Commercial Arts, Diploma, Desktop Publishing and Digital Media and worked as a layout artist for Sears Canada Inc. Toronto, Canada and a Freelancer-Graphic designer as well drafts-person for some time.
Having verity of experience and education has contributed to the uniqueness and the depth of my realism style. Happily, I have received many similar comments from admirers and buyers saying that my art is Pure and reflects spirit of love, has vibes, spiritual, looks like The Golden Age-all luminous and joyful, vivid as if there was no pollution, you are a true Renaissance woman. Please check the Testimonial page if you wish to read more.
I would quote this expression; It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child. Pablo Picasso (October 1881- April 1973). I am not Raphael, neither am I Picasso, but would love to paint freely, as that innocent child who sees only the purity of nature as is with all its richness and vividness. What is more beautiful than nature itself!
Painting has become my career when I learned to let go. I’ve passed this on to my art students for I’ve taught private art lessons, as part-time, for some years. It pleased me seeing my students successful in their schools and art colleges. As I find refreshment in versatility and so I loved teaching because there was giving, helping and sharing whereas in painting, I silently speak to myself on how to improve my giving, helping and sharing in different ways. However, painting will always remain as my first passion and personal space where my own world exists.
To me, Art is a manifestation of love, loving the nature around us and the people we share our world with. No denial that art reflects a wealth of cultural, history and identity as affirmation of man for it is a self-expression of how one perceives matters. In turn, art works as a powerful tool and a silent International language that convey messages to the world reflecting culture, history and civilization. This language speaks up, announce, express, make known, unify, bring together, support, encourage, share, care for and show compassion and kind feelings toward all. When we truly love what we do, we do it whole-souled and become professionals at it then, can become an art to us. In two words; Art is to LOVE.
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