Maria Underwood


Maria’s paintings celebrate people she paints. They appear beautifully comfortable in their own skin, vibrant, blossoming at every age from young to old, because beauty is not defined by youth or perfection. Gesture and movement are important in her art, for a living and breathing feel, and because she believes body language tells us a lot about who a person is.

Maria works mainly in oils, with acrylic and pen, on linen, canvas, and board. There is pen line and flat acrylic colour to begin. All sense of information overload (such as detail in clothing) is carefully reduced. This simplicity balances and accentuates the expressive, rich oil paint with which Maria brings the people she paints to life. Working energetically with a warm, bright palette of colours, Maria searches out rhythms and contours that will express a sense of their form and beauty and personality. In portraits, Maria like to capture a luminous yet tender likeness. Her figures emerge with a pleasing sense of immediacy. They feel confident and relaxed, and take up space in an interesting and elegant way.

Maria was thrilled to take part in Portrait Artist of the Year 2023, the portrait she painted was particularly successful.