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Meet Samantha Ornellas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Ornellas. 

Hi Samantha, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised in South Africa. I’ve always loved art for as long as I can remember. I pursued art in high school and won the award for best artist in my senior year. But art was not something I thought I would like to pursue as a career. It was more of a hobby. I couldn’t see how I could make a living from it. By the time I was 21 I was married and we moved to America. We settled in Nashville so my hi and could pursue his music career. Art was not even on my radar. When I became pregnant with my first, I got this major urge to paint. I painted a handful of paintings. Mainly to have something to hang on our walls. My friends were all blown away and encouraged me to paint more. But it was hard work! I really never knew how to get the color I wanted. It was a lot of trial and error. I was never trained or taught how to mix color so it was just a lot of fumbling around. 

Friends started asking me if they could buy my work or commission me but I couldn’t part with any because they had taken so much work. After many years of avoiding what I knew was a gift, I had been given I eventually made a New Year’s resolution. New Year’s of 2011 I decided to paint 1 painting a month. Just so I could get rid of the feeling of guilt that I was not being faithful with my gift. So, I made it my mission to learn color theory and how to draw thanks to google. After 6 months the pain and anguish of painting turned into a joy as I was discovering where I was going wrong all those years ago. And I have never looked back since! 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road. But is anything ever easy? Sometimes I think after struggling for so long finally I have found the formula! But it is like it slips through my fingers and I am back to square one again. At that point, I just want to throw in the towel. But I know that is not the answer either. I am my toughest critic. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in a few different mediums. I’m trying to figure out who I am and what is my style I have tried my hand at it all. Charcoal, acrylic, watercolor, and oils. Hoping to find one medium just click. But there is no magic medium. I am known for African wildlife and African people. 

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I loved to draw. I was always drawing horses. I would draw in class at a school. I was an introvert and an only child so drawing was an outlet for me. 


  • $150-2500

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