Moira Cutajar is a mother of three, with a passion for painting – primarily portraits, and for playing tennis.
When and how did you get started?
My first encounter with drawing was when I used to admire my father’s skills in sketching and drawing furniture with full perspective for clients. I always enjoyed having a pencil in my hand and doodling at every opportunity. I never took it up seriously, however, because I took the natural path of following a university degree in Public Administration with a slant towards Human Resource Development which was then quite exciting, as the Public Service was undergoing a major reform and organisations in Malta were starting to realise the importance of introducing HRD concepts.
Family commitments did not leave me much time for myself, but I welcomed every opportunity to get involved in my children’s school projects with drawing and sketching and building models. One project I greatly enjoyed and feel very nostalgic about were the many drawings I made of their favourite cartoon characters on the walls of their bedrooms and in their play area in the basement… it was very sad to leave all that behind when we moved house since they were painted directly onto the walls. It was when my three kids started to grow that I found myself with some free time and I started attending courses and workshops by Philip Agius, Harry Alden (to a great extent), Jeni Caruana, Rupert Cefai, Andrew Borg and the School of Art. I was pleasantly surprised by my progress and this, together with tonnes of encouragement from my family, motivated me to carry on. I primarily enjoy portraiture and figurative drawing; however, I enjoy painting landscapes as a relief from the discipline of obtaining resemblances in portraiture.
What genre do you consider your work to be?
My portraits tend to be detailed and realistic however I would like to move more towards an impressionist and looser style. Experimenting with landscapes is allowing me to become freer with the use of paint.
Describe your work in 10 words or less.
Creating a realistic image to reveal the facial features, personality and characteristics thus immortalising the subject…
Where was your first exhibition held?
I have not yet exhibited my work publicly except on social media but the pressure keeps building to do so!
Do you have a favourite from among your own artworks? If so, why?
I do not have a favourite. A painting is not finished until I am totally happy with it so in a way all my paintings are favourites and this makes it more difficult for me to part with them. The realistic impressions I create of subjects results from this meticulous trait I possess.
What are you working on at the moment?
A number of portrait commissions, I am experimenting with landscapes and I would like to venture more into ‘plein air’ painting.
Which artist’s work are you most inspired by?
Paul Cezanne, Joaquin Sorolla, John Singer Surgent, Andrew Wyeth, Anders Zorn
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A Master chef
What is the epitome of happiness for you?
Being abroad with my loved ones
What do you love about Malta?
The social life, the closeness of family, clear blue skies and the sea both calm and rough.
What do you hate about Malta?
Traffic, pollution, dust, too windy and the dry climate
Favourite colour and what it means to you?
In painting Burnt Sienna because it is an earth colour and very versatile. It is always the first colour to go onto my palette. In life, Blue because it’s a colour which reminds me of sea and sky and therefore a big part of nature
What is your favourite indulgence?
A fruity red wine with cheese, strawberries dipped in chocolate, and chips!
Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.