Expressing life through oil painting


The Springville Museum of Art started its yearly Spring Salon as a way to buy new works of art. Now in its 88th year, the museum received more than 900 pieces for consideration from artists throughout Utah. Dania Maestas’ “The Narcissist” was one of the 251 pieces selected for exhibition, helping her realize a dream she had since high school.

“I feel honored,” Maestas said. “It’s so exciting to dip my foot in the pool of this incredible opportunity.”

She received an Award of Merit for her painting, which is part of the museum’s exhibit highlighting local artists and is open to the public through July 1.

Brittany Dahlin is a BYU master’s student from Orem, majoring in art history. She is currently interning at SMOFA, and said she has been really impressed by the local artist paintings in the Spring Salon. This is a high compliment coming from a student who also interned with a museum in Italy and saw more iconic art pieces. She said the exhibit is great for the community, and it also gives artists a rare opportunity to be featured.

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Dania Maestas works on her art at a friend's place.
“Not only does it bring a sense of unity to the community, but it brings additional cultural as well,” Dahlin said. “Some students at BYU don’t really understand how cultured we are down here.”

Each piece that Maestas paints can have as many as 10 layers, and each layer requires four weeks to dry. Once a painting is complete, it must dry for at least six months before a final varnish can be applied. Inspiration for her work comes in many different ways. Maestas said that sometimes images will come to her repeatedly, and other times she is compelled by an idea or emotion.

“I feel driven to create the paintings,” she said. “They’re visual expressions of what I struggle to put into words.”

It hasn’t been easy. Maestas doesn’t have a studio, but paints at friend’s places. With the support of those around her, she has accomplished several milestones. Her pieces were displayed at the Coffee Connection in Salt Lake City in March and in a private showing during April at Listen Technologies, where Maestas works as a receptionist.

“Painting can be really frustrating,” Dania said. “But at the end, the satisfaction of looking at all the colors and how it makes me feel—how it makes others feel—it’s worth it.”

Dahlin said the museum’s College Night is a great way for BYU students to view the Spring Salon’s offerings. College Night is on June 20 from 7-9 p.m. and will feature local musicians and catering from Sammy’s in Provo.

If you would like to see more of Dania Maestas’ work, click here.


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