"When we finish dreaming, we've finished living. While I am alive, I must dream."
A native of Minas Gerais, now living in Rio de Janeiro, Eva Britz has been enchanted by colors and passionate about art from her childhood. At the age of five, she already made drawings, depicting people.
She changed her career from teaching to painting, and 35 collective exhibitions and 25 individual exhibits show that she made the right choice.
"What attracted most were me the colors. I lived in Belo Horizonte, surrounded by mountains and tropical vegetation. I just had a little box of six colored pencils, including black and white. When I was a child, my frustration was not being able to reproduce the colors I saw for the lack of materials.
"I began to paint in 1974 but the time I could spend on it was limited. It wasn't until 1991 that I became a professional artist. With only three more years in teaching before I could retire, I exchanged blackboard chalk for a paintbrush and changed my profession. It was a life choice.
"Surrounded by artists in the family, I didn't lack support and incentive. The interest for painting was already in me. It is something that was born with me. My father's family had several artists. My father was a violinist. He had a wonderful voice and he drew very well. My sister is a great sculptress. My brother is a writer. A daughter works in film, the other is a journalist and publisher in the USA. Art was a present in my family from the time they lived in Europe before immigrating to Brazil. There were always family get-togethers where each one played an instrument. Singers, designers, all of them had a more select sensibility. My mother was a culinary artist.
"The creation process begins with a blank canvas. What will I do with that empty space? First I add background colors, using different materials. I have a lot of knowledge of mixed media techniques. I begin with color and the color is what will lead me to discover what goes there. It's a kind of magic.
"Along the way in your career, you go through phases. When you begin painting, you copy, to learn techniques. Then you modify their lines as you discover your own. I went from copying others to developing my own style, and that has been constantly renewed with multiple facets and multiples interests. The artist has to have the freedom to do what he or she wants to.
"That is the artist's great resource — freedom. My inspiration is closely linked with my drive to represent what I feel, my unconscious, sharing all of the emotions that I have inside of me. Plants impassion me. I am making leaves. They are contemporary paintings with technique, depth, light and shadow, and they must have some composition. Painting is like music — it has to have a rhythm.
"You never think a painting is finished. At the same time, if you add the last brushstroke you can destroy the picture. It is simultaneously a painful and pleasurable process.
"I have a gift for creating the colors that I want. I have an intuitive ease in combining them. I think that is what makes my work different.
"My greatest challenge is achieving what I've imagined. It is a process of giving yourself over to art. You think that you are in charge, but it is the picture that drives you. When you think about doing an abstract shape, in a little while it becomes a leaf. Or you think about painting a beautiful leaf and it ends up as a geometric figure. The forms themselves lead me. I don't use photographs to paint except, occasionally as an inspiration. I usually create my leaves."
Eva gave painting classes for 12 years and created a called group Pinturama, which has held several collective exhibitions. The group maintained a gallery in Rio de Janeiro for almost two years.
"If my life were a painting, it would look like an electrocardiogram, with highs and lows, calmer times, periods of more intensity, periods of a lot of diversity. Today, I'm living a calmer phase. And clearly, it would be depicted in earthy tones, my favorite colors.
"I recall a funny accident in my work that resulted in a happy ending. I was painting a triptych on the balcony. I chose the smaller balcony and I couldn't reach the other end of the canvas. It was of a Hawaiian sandal in mixed media, and I stepped on the canvas to reach where I needed to. This created many interesting effects and I won the medal of gold in the salon where I exhibited it. The painting was destined to come out that way.
"I've been married since 1963. My husband is a very dynamic, courageous and brave person. We have four children and six grandchildren. They are my loves. My children are all friends, very close and loving. With my grandchildren, I am reliving the experience with them. I've never known what it is to have an empty house.
"When we finish dreaming, we've finished living. While I am alive, I must dream. My dreams include many desires, from world peace and a better Brazil to — speaking of things closer to me — more respect for artists, a Brazil with more culture, that knows how to appreciate what artists do. To continue always painting while I can."