There was no competition

By Ramona Pintea

When there is death, there is rebirth. When there is darkness, there is always light. Out of the swamp, a lotus is born. Out of something constricting, we can find freedom. And this is precisely what happened to me during the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown. I am sure I am not alone.  Did something inside you fight to show itself through this period? Did you become more creative, or inspired to change your life?

For me, it began after returning from a vacation in the UK and arriving back home to Bucharest. We had been innocently enjoying our time, myself exhibiting art in Bath and enjoying the theatre while my daughter went to a packed out O2 concert. Little did we know how alien these activities would soon become, how we were living in luxury without even knowing it.

The news stories started to break while we were still in the UK. the TV channels became overrun with COVID-stories and the fear set in for me. As the lines on the graphs started to increase, more and more people were infected, more and more people were dying. Thoughts of older relatives and friends started to fill us all with panic. We headed home.

On return – feeling like outcasts as our friends wanted to avoid us for risk of infection – we decide to self-isolate at our home. I began to focus on what I could do to utilize this time and to keep me from worrying about all I was seeing on the news. Then lockdown came and we were not the only ones stuck in our homes.

I am by nature a positive thinking person and began to make plans to make the best of this longer enforced time at home. I am an artist and could no longer travel to my studio to paint, but I had high aspirations for the lockdown time – my home was to be transformed.

Finally, I would get a chance to go through my closet and empty those mysterious drawers under the bed. The aim was to do a deep clean and organize my house, so it looked like the cover of an interior design magazine, watch Netflix, and drink margaritas on the terrace. Or so I thought.

But the cleaning and organizing never happened – as something far more significant was in store.

Despite my positive nature I went through a period of panic and fear, but then began searching for the good in the situation. Mother Earth was finally having a breather. Like all mothers her job is never-ending, but like all mothers she was also in need of a well-deserved break. Heart lifting scenes of nature taking over were appearing all over social media.

The Italians resorted to singing on their balconies, and signs of beautiful humanity were appearing everywhere. I could feel myself filling with positivity and hope. I – like many others – was spending more time online and wanted to share some messages of hope.

One day I read an article in Forbes about women leaders and their approach to the Coronavirus pandemic, and I became inspired. For so long women have been represented in the media as lesser than men. More vulnerable, weaker, and incapable. I used to think we had so far to go. But this article reminded me that NO. We are there. We are in our power now. We are leaders already. We are some of the best leaders in the world. We are strong in our vulnerability, we are strong in our sensitivity, and above all, we ARE capable. We are QUEENS.

I cleared out some space and created a new little studio in our home and I started painting, and I could not stop. I wanted to celebrate these beautiful powerful women that I saw all over the world, but in my way, on canvas. I painted, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Nothing could stop me.

I created a new series of paintings that explore women’s leadership, our strengths and vulnerabilities, our inner power, and our role in our modern society. I started sharing my thoughts and my art online and the response was amazing. Women from all over the world connected with my art and with my message, telling me how inspiring and uplifted it made them feel. I was inundated with messages about my Urban Queens.

“My inspiration is every woman who is a leader but is living in anonymity. I want to bring every woman into the spotlight who runs her household, raises her children, puts up with her boss, looks after her health, and shows strength and courage in her everyday lifeespecially in these challenging times. They all deserve to wear crowns.” – Ramona Pintea

I decided to paint women as they really are – strong, beautiful, powerful, and inspiring. The images started to flow out of my mind and into form. This series is so colourful and joyful. Each bold colour represents a different hue in the beautiful rainbow that is femininity, from the soft pinks of petals that represent that innate softness of a woman, or bold orange that represents joy and happiness.

I felt so connected to women all over the world. Throughout this pandemic, women have been affected the most. Many have lost their jobs or had to maintain a job whilst also running a household and suddenly becoming full-time teachers for their children.

I was inspired by a nurse and mom in San Francisco who was on the frontline in the height of the pandemic. After messaging back and forth I was moved to hear how I had affected her with my paintings:

‘I’m scared, inspired, and empowered raising girls during this time! These paintings spoke to me on such a deep level as a nurse on the front lines and mother of two daughters. Seriously, these paintings blew my mind on so many levels’.

As I painted and posted on my social media, I realized I had touched a nerve, a nerve that spread throughout the world. A feeling of women that needed to be represented as the true queens that they are.  Women needed this. I was shocked. I kept on painting.

When I launched the first set of paintings for sale online via my social media in May, I was worried. How could an artist sell without exhibitions and galleries? I kept the prices low. ‘We are in a pandemic,’ ‘No one has money’, ‘People are stressed they won’t buy art now.’ My inner saboteur shouted. But I underestimated the power of women. Within 6 hours, all paintings had been sold. In 6 weeks, I created another series ‘Urban Queen 2.0’ that sold out too. Then I was inundated with commission paintings, women all over the world were excited to order their own queens as symbols of inner strength.

The Urban Queen is ultimately a rallying cry to all women to tap into, embrace and express their often neglected, forgotten, underused or undiscovered qualities. To shine our light brightly and bring a whole new dimension of compassion, kindness and caring into our world.

This pandemic did not leave me with cleared out closets or a home looking like an interior design magazine spread – but it did leave me inspired and connected to amazing women around the word. It has born an entrepreneur artist businesswoman. From the darkness rising like a phoenix in her beauty from the ashes with bright colours.  Queens emanating power, self-love, beauty, self-expression, and individuality.  We must always remember the world is abundant. If I can make a successful art business in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, anything is possible.

Are you wearing your crown today?

About Ramona:

Ramona Pintea is an established artist, who works primarily in oils, with occasional forays into acrylics and mixed media. Her paintings provide vibrant colour and enduring character in private collections stretching from the USA to Norway, England to Canada, and Honk Kong to the Philippines.

Ramona’s work is a fluid fusion between abstract and figurative with one overriding purpose, the quest of self-discovery and empowerment. It’s a bold, chromatic journey through key existential questions, emphasising the resilience, inner strength, and courage we’re all able to summon when the occasion calls for it.

Her latest series of paintings – ‘Urban Queen’ is inspired by the idea that we need women to play a greater role in shaping this world into a better and safer place. Ramona paints women in all their beauty and strength, compassion and courage, vulnerability, and strength. She uses the crown as a symbol of strength and leadership that is worn not only by leaders of states but also by you, me, and every other woman.