Meet the Jordanian Nora Qudah, although an Engineer by profession yet her true talent and passion are reflected in her brush strokes and colors, her paintings and work of arts tell a stories inspired by life.
Arab Woman Platform had the pleasure to learn more about the woman and her art,
Kindly share with our readers a little bit about yourself, upbringing and education.
I was born and raised in Amman/Jordan into a Jordanian family; I am the eldest among two sisters and one brother. My father is a Civil Engineer and former minister of transport. My mother holds a degree in Psychology and worked as a social consultant in different schools.
I have finished my high school education in 1998 from The Jubilee School which is dedicated for gifted students. I pursuit my Bachelor Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology in 2003, after which I have worked with Engineering consultancy firms in Amman and Dubai for six continuous years.
I met my husband in University, he studied Mechanical Engineering, and he is also a genuine music lover and a real talent in playing. We connected through our love for art and music and we always enjoy chatting about our favorite artists and musicians. We have two lovely daughters aged 6 years and 1 year old.
From what age did you discover the artist in you?
Ever since I could remember! I was always called the young artist in the big family; I would spend hours coloring; and sketching using charcoal and pencils, even making small sculptures out of clay.
However the moment when I realized I have something special in my art was in secondary school; my amazing art teacher taught me how to stretch a canvas and prime it, how to use oil colors and clean my brushes. I was set free to express myself through painting, the school atelier became my sanctuary and I would spend most of my free time there. One of the paintings I did that time became a topic for an essay for the older classes, the teacher asked me to read the students writings and impressions about my art; and I was so surprised and encouraged at the same time by the influence of my painting on others imagination. I started teaching myself new techniques and practicing more at home.
Why did you not consider studying Art as a major and went with engineering instead?
I actually never had ART as an option of study in my mind at all; I have always thought of it as a hobby and personal escape. I was passionate about Physics, Astronomy and Environment. I clearly remember when I was five years old and my father used to bring home his Engineering blueprints and start measuring and drawing straight lines, “I want to do the same” I said to myself. And so I did!
I like the mind challenge I got from my Engineering profession, add to that seeing the projects I worked on paper become real. I like coming up with engineered solutions and solving mathematical equations. This mindset has helped me a lot in my art, in terms of proportions, perspectives, light and shade, and I found myself as both a left and right brained person who keeps juggling between both sides to keep balance in the art I do and in my life as well.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything that makes me happy! Simple things inspire me, starting from a rainy day to a clear sky or a ballet class I attend with my little one to a bedtime story or a book I have read, the piano and music that plays in our home every day, nature, motherhood, pictures I took from travel, even a single color that I start with on my blank canvas can bring me inspiration and lead my brush to a painting that I didn’t even visualize before starting it.
I also get inspired by other artist’s special works and stories of success. I admire Van Gogh’s technique and colors. Claude Monet’s paintings and work space are very beautiful, also Salvador Dali, Gustav Klimt, Rene Magritte those are a few to mention.
On the other hand, strong and successful women inspire me, I am lucky to have such genuine and smart lady friends around me of different backgrounds and origins to share our diverse thoughts, views and interests.
Are there certain messages you portray through your paintings?
The world is full of agony for quite a long time now, at least our region, yet there are still beautiful things that we can find peace and meditation in, I chose those inspiring things to send messages of LOVE, PEACE AND HARMONY through my paintings. I would like to think of my art as a piece of peace through colors and subject, and many times I choose not to be direct in my paintings to provide space for viewer imagination and own interpretation, make it more interesting, and more different. By that I believe the artist that exists in the soul of any viewer is stimulated and awakened.
What is your preferred medium?
I like thick colors that add texture to the painting. I have used oil colors for quite a long time in my paintings, they are very sophisticated and require patience, but my preferred medium is Acrylic colors, they are very flexible and vibrant.
I recently started something new which is digitally blending photos I take on a random day with my paintings; it is very interesting and fun to do after a long busy day.
Would you ever consider pursuing an art career full time?
I find it difficult to dub art the word “career”, I am living art full time, for me it is a way of living that is mentally rewarding in the first place, that might as well be financially rewarding. Nevertheless, I do have plans for the future and I am working to make them happen, with the support of my husband, family and friends, and I am so much looking forward for it.
How does your art influence your kids and what message you send to other mothers?
My older daughter loves to see me painting, I take her opinion in my art and like to see the impression it would leave in her imagination. I feel happy seeing her proud of her artist mommy and confidently speaking about that among her friends. I encourage her to take her sketch book and colors with her everywhere we go, it will always come in handy in boring moment. We also enjoy making crafts and costumes together and we take that seriously in every detail starting from scratch.
It is so important for mothers to influence their kids and show them the “none motherly” side of themselves, the other side where she also dwells and gets power from whether it was a profession or a talent, aside to art it could be music, baking, fashion design, sports, reading or anything that fulfills her intellect and thus empowers her kids.
What advice do you give young girls with a talent and a passion for art?
To keep making art and stay connected with it as practice makes perfect, also never to fear criticism, perhaps learn from it. I encourage them to attend lots of exhibitions and stay tuned with what is happening in the art world, I advise them to make use of social media and share their art, learn from other artists inspiring stories. And the best advice is from the French novelist Emile Zola who said “The artist is nothing without a gift, but the gift is nothing without the work.”
For more on Nora Quda’s art work check out the following links