Mara Abboud to speak about colorful career at Santa Barbara Club
When Mara Abboud was 5 years old and her mother kept buying her coloring books, she balked, saying, “No, no, no.”
One day, her mother came home and found her daughter drawing on brown paper grocery bags.
“From then on, she bought white butcher paper for me to draw on. I never stopped.”
So began what Ms. Abboud calls her “Artist’s Journey,” which she will chronicle in a luncheon talk presented July 28 by the Art Foundation of Santa Barbara.
A display of her colorful works will be on view during the event from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the garden at the Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St.
The longtime resident of Santa Barbara is a well-known artist whose dramatic paintings of exotic animals and flowers are in prestigious collections throughout the United States and Europe.
A number of local residents treasure her work.
“Mara told us she refers to our home as the ‘Abboud Abode’ since we have decorated with 12 or more of her paintings over the years. We are surrounded by the beauty of her art,” said Joyce and Roland Bryan.
“Mara’s images have a radiant presence that you can actually feel when you stand before them,” said Dirk Brandts, artist and filmmaker.
“Mara Abboud is an accomplished local artist whose boundless creativity is an inspiration. Her works of art have to be seen to be believed, and I am a proud collector of her pieces,” said George Leis, president and COO, Montecito Bank & Trust.
“Having a beautiful painting from Mara Abboud brings me joy and inner peace every time I look at it. Her amazing talent fills my soul,” said Andrea Eltinge.
“Selecting an image to grace your wall is as difficult as picking your partner. Mara Abboud’s images create a relationship that becomes a partner,” said Dana Newquist.
Although Ms. Abboud graduated from the New England School of Design in Boston, attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and studied art in Florence, Italy, she doubted she could make a living as a fine artist so she became a gift, accessories and textile designer in New York City.
“But I kept painting in my spare time, and after three years, my paintings began to sell. I’ve always been drawn to unique images from my imagination, which is why my signature style is very evident,” she said. “In school, I never followed what others were doing in class. I had to follow what was in my heart.”
Most of her pieces are large, running in size from 24 by 36 inches to 48 by 50 inches.
In recent years, Ms. Abboud has been focusing on mosaic tile wall hangings after finishing a large outdoor installation on ceramic tile at San Ysidro Village near the corner of East Valley and San Ysidro roads in Montecito in 2017.
“It was inspired by my sunflower painting on silk and is 56 by 86 inches in size. It is very exciting to know that my art will be available to share with everyone for many years to come,” said Ms. Abboud, who was named International Artist of the Year in 1998 at the International Women’s Conference, Artist of the Year in 1980 at the Santa Barbara Arts Festival and International Artist of the Year in 1977 at the International Beaux Arts in New York.
The energetic artist is also working on illustrations for a children’s book she is writing called “The Forest of Eternal Spring,” and she is hoping to finish a history of her famous family.
“My brother is Joseph Abboud, the world-famous menswear designer; my sister, Jeanette, is a music composer, and my late sister, Nancy was a sculptor. My cousin was the late poet/philosopher Kalil Gilbran, author of ‘The Prophet,’ “ said the Boston native. “I’ve been working on it for 20 years and have eight chapters so far.”
Ms. Abboud revealed that after the mudslides and COVID-19, she went through “a very dark period, and for the very first time in my career, I didn’t paint for almost two years. Then I had this vision of ‘Soulful Journey’ in my mind, and she restored and renewed me, giving me the desire to paint again. I worked on the painting consistently the last two months of 2020 and completed her in February of this year. She was my resurrection.”