Passion can be fickle. Some wait years to discover the passion that drives their work, others may never find it. For the young Maureen Riggs, her early life in Tanzania sparked a passion for Nature, and coupled with an unerring desire to paint, launched a decades-long career which has enabled her to celebrate some of the most iconic creatures of our oceans.
The young Maureen (known to all as “Mo”), moved from Tanzania to Australia, and in her early teens fell in love with the ocean off Noosa Heads diving and snorkelling whenever she could.
A love for Scuba-diving culminated in establishing her deckhand/catering career on a live aboard dive boat based in Townsville, where she began to merge her passion for painting with her affinity for the ocean. Mo has since explored the underwater realm across the South Pacific, into South-East Asia and South Africa. She lived for a decade on Kadavu Island in a traditional Fijian bure managing an off the beaten track scuba dive resort adjacent to the Great Astrolabe Reef.
Maureen has exhibited in countless group art shows, held 5 solo exhibitions, held two artist in residencies, often donates artworks to various organisations and currently facilitates creative traditional paint art workshops for all ages.
She is an accomplished artisan despite resistance from the Art Establishment because she did “not earn herself a proper art degree”. Perhaps this lack of formal education as an artist has allowed her to craft her unique style.
When Mo paints the wildlife and vegetation of the world above the water, there is a lushness and depth to the piece which illuminates the life of the subject. Mo's art celebrates the vitality and beauty only found in nature, evoking awareness of the unique flora and fauna portrayed.
The diversity of techniques she applies enables her to catch the dynamic movement of underwater species, textures in coral formations. Mo shows a unique understanding of how deep water presents itself to the human eye, giving the viewer that perception, even if they have never dived into those crystal, yet deep, ocean waters. Her tropical reef works depict coral in an Impressionistic style, showing them as they do in reality, while ensuring an accurate representation of the actual ecological make-up of each reef system, is an important factor to consider.
Mo’s studio space, a cluttered, homely, and comfortable area, is filled with unfinished pieces, scuba tanks, easels, underwater cameras and a sense of peace, all metaphors for her art. The passion which fuelled the young Mo Riggs continues in the mature artist, but with a clarity and vision which gives the artist a clear direction; to celebrate and preserve our world.
"Without healthy oceans there will be no life on Earth. In my mind it seems that Governments around the Globe are doing little to ensure their grandchildren and ours are left with the abundance of resources Nature is capable of providing humanity for eternity."
"Transcribing my passion of the worlds richest realm in creating ocean art in my very own impressionistic style I am able to share the fascinating life forms of marine habitats.
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