Maria Kjarval relates:
" I was born in Iceland in 1952 by Icelandic/Danish parents - the youngest of 5 brothers and sisters. In the early 50s Iceland was undergoing a moderate process of change after the severance from Denmark in 1944.
I remember it as an optimistic society, which wanted to create her own identity and culture. But the first step is always the hardest. The driving forces were idealism and optimism - and not as could be expected the economy. My father was a furniture designer with his roots planted in the Icelandic as well as the Danish society. He did his share towards making Iceland a part of the Scandinavian design movement. In that home and environment I was born and raised. Lots of artists and creative people were frequent guests in our home, so almost as a matter of fact I became creative. 17 years of age I moved to Scotland and experienced an eventful year there. Meanwhile my parents had moved to Denmark and settled in Northern Jutland. I visited them there and have taken up residence in Denmark ever since. In my paintings I have dealt with various types of expressions over the years. But my childhood and subsequent years in Iceland are and will remain the profoundest inspiration for my imagery. The landscapes and spirit of place I experienced in my childhood are the predominant features in my universe.
I don`t intend to make a superfluous interpretation of my work using words, because image narrative has no relation to the written word, but is merely another way of expressing oneself. Consequently I wish that my paintings will speak for themselves. To paint pictures requires preparation, staging and reflection. When everything is in the right place you need a calm atmosphere to concentrate on the process - to paint is a kind of a meditative state of mind. It can be hard, sometimes practically impossible, but when you succeed it`s worth your while. It`s interesting, when you are actually painting, ideas come pouring out, you feel elevated above the tedious everyday life and feel united with the present time, the actual moment. To me my craft is vital, and consequently I have spent much time reading and finding the right materials and working methods. I`m deeply absorbed in the classical methods, e,g. oil painting. water colours and Indian ink."
Maria Sveinsdottir Kjarval is a trained textile craftsman from the School of Decorative Art (1972-76) with a final examination from Kolding School of Handicrafts, where she specialized in textile imagery and drawing. Having finished her training she acquired her own studio, where she concentrated on oil painting, graphic design and illustration for dailies and weeklies.