Maria was born in Santa Clara, Cuba and arrived in the US in 1961. She came here on what was called The Peter Pan Flights. Unaccompanied minors were brought to the US in the hopes of expediting their parent’s exit from Cuba. She considers herself one of the lucky Peter Pan kids since her parents followed her out of Cuba within 4 months, others were not so lucky. They spent several months in Miami while her parents decided what to do in the new country. They were able to join her monther’s uncle and his family in San Jose, California on February of 1962.
She doesn’t remember a time where she hasn’t drawn and painted. As a child she made her own paper dolls or solicited input from the adults as to what they would like to see her to draw for them. She received much encouragement from teachers throughout her early schooling and in high school became very interested in illustrators like J. C. Leyendecker, Normal Rockwell, as well as the illustrative world of Toulouse-Lautrec and Maxfield Parrish. She dreamed of a similar career.
She studied at San Jose State and graduated with a BA in Graphic Design with a concentration in Illustration. A few years later, was able to take some classes at the S. F. Academy of Art. But the illustration aspect never fully materialized. Her career concentrated in graphic design. She worked as a graphic designer for many years. In 2014 the call to draw and paint came back with a vengeance so she picked up fine arts where she had left off. Or so she thought. It was shocking to her to realize how much ability you lose after not drawing consistently. Diligent practice at rediscovering the basics: drawing, color, composition before attempting to paint. Reacquainting herself with media and materials she hadn't used in years. Watercolors provided yet another huge learning curve. She asked herself: “...did I really know how to do this before?” While working on mastering watercolors again, she discovered Alcohol Inks. She was captivated by the vividness of the colors and the movement of the paints. They became an obsession, discovering different materials and techniques, all which ended up unlocking a looser style for her watercolors as well. She now goes back and forth between the two mediums which she feels fuels her growth and complements her painting style.
She is a member of the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society, and as a member, her work is can be seen regularly at Gallery 9, a co-op gallery in Los Altos, CA. www.gallery9.com.