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A Raw and Real Representation of Beauty

Art Lovers | 22 August 2019

by Sunnefa Hamar Penning


Pursuing a life in the arts was the only thing that made sense to Maria Radun, the contemporary realist painter, illustrator and designer.

The Russian born artist resides on the beautiful beaches of the Mornington Peninsular where she spends her days in her studio creating representational and figurative paintings.


Violet moonlight (45.5 x 45.5cm, Oil on canvas)

As a young child Maria took to drawing easily. She had a huge amount of patience when it came to art related activities and always knew that one day she would become an artist. For me, art is a way of living. It shapes the way I do everything and the way I see and interact with the world around me”. Art was not only a huge passion for the artist but also a powerful tool that helped guide her through turbulent times in her teenage years. Upon relocating to Australia with her family at the young age of ten, drawing and painting helped Maria navigate the complex emotions that arose when uprooting and resettling into her new environment. I found art to be therapeutic and healing, it was a way to process the complicated emotions I was dealing with after the move and all through my teenage years”.

The Impermanence Of Comfort

The Impermanence of comfort (66 x 102cm, Acrylic on canvas)

Being the first in her family to pursue a career in the arts led Maria to study design deeming it a safer option than diving head first into a Fine Art’s degree.“It seemed like a more practical and sustainable (yet still creative) career”. Maria worked as a designer and illustrator throughout her twenties, still utilizing every opportunity to hone her drawing skills by attending workshops and life drawing sessions. When Maria turned thirty, she decided to listen to the strong voice she heard inside of her and finally enrolled to study Fine Arts at Monash University. “I was craving self-expression and creative freedom, and to be able to explore my own ideas. I also wanted to learn to paint well and to further develop my critical thinking skills”.


Contact (23 x 30.5cm, Oil on canvas)

The decision to follow her heart back to university is a reflection of Radun’s personal philosophy on art and life:“Do it with love. I believe that we are driven by emotion and the most motivating, inspiring and energizing of them all is love”. A decision that bore fruit and fulfillment to Maria, now a full-time painter. The artist enjoys complete freedom to express her views and interpretations through her pieces that explore portraiture, human form, still-life and the natural world.

Still life with books (66 x 51cm, Oil on canvas)

Drawing inspiration from light, the former graphic designer has an eye for the way light interacts with objects and is captivated by it.I am drawn to strong composition and balance as well as harmonious colours”.She is fascinated by people, their perspectives and the human figure. “As an artist working with the human figure and portraiture, I am intrigued by how our external image forms our perception of self. I like to explore ideas relating to our relationship with our own bodies, drawing upon my own personal experience from the perspective of a woman in contemporary society that demands perfection”. Maria thoroughly enjoys the process of working with a variety of different models.Specifically, the opportunity she has to explore the personal connections, mutual understanding and empathy that develops between artist and model. “My aim is to capture the beauty and complexity of my subjects”.

Sacred Jade Print

Sacred Jade (76 x 61cm, Oil on canvas)

The painter fell in love with oils well before she tried working with the medium. I could see that it was the best way to achieve depth and richness that I so admired in the works of the old masters. So, when I finally got hold of oil paints and learned the basics, there was no going back to using any other mediums”. Equipped with her contemporary realistic style and a love for replicating still life has produced beautiful work throughout the years including her most popular statement nudes and semi-nude paintings.“I am not interested in idealised beauty standards as I believe all bodies are beautiful and have immeasurable worth. These intimate paintings depict our bodies as beautiful, precious art objects, not sexual ones”.


Raw Amber (61 x 76cm, Oil on canvas)

Looking into the future is exciting for Maria that dreams of being a prolific artist well into her 90’s. “I wish to exhibit widely and be represented by a prominent gallery. To be able to fully support myself through my practice and be well positioned to give back to the community in various ways”. When asked to identify her favourite piece of work, Maria answers:“They are the ones I haven’t made yet, because in my head they are always way more amazing than my current abilities would allow”. Equipped with such a wonderful attitude and fierce love for her craft and community, we cannot wait to follow Maria’s journey on what will be a long and joyous career as a painter.

Just The Jewellery

Adorned (40.5 x 50.5cm, Oil on canvas)

Olive Print


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