Mataya, 64, spent many years teaching herself to paint. Since she is self taught, she refers to herself as a natural artist.
Her interest in art began at the age of 17 when she received a set of acrylics, one paintbrush and a piece of cardboard as Christmas gifts. She started painting the things she loved most animals and nature.
“My spirit is an art spirit,” she said. “Art is not just something I do; it’s who I am. One of my earliest memories is noticing nature around me and feeling amazed at the beauty.
“Through visual art, I want to inspire love for our natural world so all of us will want to protect and preserve our planet and life here,” said Mataya, who legally goes by her last name.
Born and raised in Charlotte and a Park Ridge neighborhood resident for 20 years, Mataya is best known for her Blue Ridge Mountain scenes.
However, she is currently creating a series of paintings featuring Freedom Park,Glencairn Gardens in Rock Hill, S.C., and an historic graveyard in Concord. Her paintings, completed primarily in realism style using acrylics, can be purchased from $500 to $3,500 or as prints on canvas, which are high quality replicas.
In addition to selling her paintings, she shares her talent by teaching others to paint.
“My students do not work on group paintings, but instead choose their subject with my input from images they bring to class, or they use my reference library,” said Mataya. “If they choose to paint an animal, we do research to learn about the animal’s anatomy and habitat. Students develop the project considering time of day and season of the year to help set the mood. We learn to tell a story.”
She keeps her art classes small, so she can show individual attention to her students, ages 7 and older. Three-hour classes begin at $64 and after-school classes are $128 for four-week sessions or $160 for five-week sessions.
“When I started teaching, I didn’t think about young students being any different than teaching an adult,” said Mataya. “I show the children the same things I show an adult. This isn’t finger painting; it’s fine art.” In addition, Mataya helps students develop reverence.
“I want my students to see their world, not just look at it. I want them to feel a reverence for nature and love it enough to protect it,” she said. “The end result for my students is something they can be really proud of and something they can treasure.”
Her husband, Gill Vanderlip teaches guitar lessons and is a music composer.
Mataya enjoys spending time painting live at the Charlotte Art League, which is a co-op of artists in the South End community, in addition to offering “paint ‘n’ parties” where various aged groups come to her studio or another location to paint.
Jennifer Ford is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jennifer? Email her at email@example.com.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less