Romanian Artist Doina Iovanel Spineanu Talks about Depicting the ‘Soul of the Universe’
by Michell Spoden
Our guest today is Doina Iovanel Spineanu, author and academician from Romania. Besides being a prolific writer in various genres, she is also a painter with her art page on Facebook. As she tells us in the interview below, she is a woman of faith and is also involved in humanitarian work. Let’s talk to Doina Iovanel Spineanu about her work and life in Romania.
Michell: Doina, thank you for participating in this conversation. Please tell us briefly about your academic and artistic work.
DIS: I graduated from the Faculty of Philology, University of Bucharest and Timisoara, and I am a professor of language and literature as basic professional training. But for 15 years, I have been a writer, a member of Writers’ Union of Romania. One of my greatest passion is painting, so I’m also a painter. Nonetheless, I am an editor, and I have founded two publishing houses (Ed. “Alter Ego” and Ed “Germinal”). I’m also the founder of Vladimir N. Spineanu Foundation. I have written 46 books till now, in which I have covered all literary genres: poetry, novel, drama, criticism, memoirs, essays, and several books for children.
Michell: I read your poem from your main webpage and it is so beautiful and inspiring. Do you write inspirational poetry often?
DIS: Of course, I have written many inspirational poems, because this kind of poetry really fits my spirit, my way of being. I have written six books of poetry: Variations on the Complaint, Learning to Love, Late Innocence, Cold Fame, The Longing Eternity, and Cry of Silence. In these books, there are love poems, of intimate nature, but also social, philosophical, or just contemplative poems. Poetry is a like “music” for my inner nature, and I can express my soul perfectly through it… or in other words, poetry is an “alter ego” of mine. Even my name – DOINA means, in Romanian, song, poetry, love, sadness, joy and heroism.”Doina”, as literary creation includes the full range of the human soul’s experiences.
Michell: Please tell us what inspired you to write?
DIS: Anything can inspire me to write. First, nature, things around us, everything our Creator left us, “miracles” that happen every day. Human emotions inspire me, the complexity of all our feelings. Major issues and concepts of humanity, planetary events provoke me, but also everyday facts, small and insignificant facts that play an important role in our life and destiny. Nevertheless, first love inspires me. First love is the divine nature and without it the world would not exist. In my opinion, love is the most complex and valuable feeling of the world, because it contains and it implies all the other human feelings and emotions.
I started writing very early, at the age of 11, and my first poem was “Horizon”, which appeared in the cultural magazine Column. Much later, there was my editorial debut, with the volume of poems Variations on the Complaint for which I received a letter of greeting and blessing from His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. Writing and painting had always the same road in my life, because I have realized the graphics and drawings of my books. So writing and painting have been a sort of “common body” in my creative work, completing it.
Michell: Do you consider yourself a woman of faith?
DIS: Yes, I am a woman of faith, because only believing in the strength of goodness, we become ourselves, we can fulfill our destiny, as we should. Only believing in the “creative power” we become a great part of that power, in the supreme way. Only faith in the goodness and therefore tin the power, in itself, can change the world.
Michell: Can we find any of your books in English or on Kindle?
DIS: Yes, my books will be found soon also in English, because I have started translating them. Currently my books are available in a virtual library that can be accessed via the link http://books.corect.com/ro. I will be very happy when my first book translated into English will be in the library of my first foreign reader. And first, it will be in the heart of that reader!
Michell: Please tell us what kind of painting you do and whether you have held any exhibition of your painting work?
DIS: My paintings, like my books, are very diverse: portraits, landscapes, painting ideas, abstract, and impressionist. I would say that I like to paint ideas and feelings, spiritual experiences, vivid images – in other words, I like to paint “the soul of the universe”. As a method of creation, in my work, I use the full range of materials, from this field – paint on canvas, wood, cardboard, using oil or water colors (acrylic, tempera, gouache, water color), charcoal, chalk pastel oil or chalk. I always prefer canvas and oil colors, which allow me to play with the shadows and lights I want in a painting.
I have had two large exhibition events, although I started painting a year ago. I participated in August in the exhibition “Dream Paintings” – a group exhibition, which took place at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest. Then, in September, I had my first solo exhibition with 60 paintings of mine, at the National Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”, in Bucharest.
Michell: Can you reflect on life in Romania?
DIS: Of course, I can write about life in Romania, I can reflect on it, and then translate it in my work. I am like a psychologist and sociologist, and some of my writings have sometimes the nature of a document. Volume I, the one with essays from the book Theophanes, is edifying, as it also is the “Sentimental Monography”. I’m a kind of “treasure hunter” through the souls of men, every day and in every corner of the world I can reach. A writer and a painter, the people of art, generally speaking, must always be connected to what surrounds him, but also must not forget about past and future. So he can achieve perfection as a gift for himself, but also for the aesthetic pleasure of others. I interact with other writers in different cultural meetings at book launches and any other public event involving me as a writer. I have been recently present in many exhibitions and other events specific for the artist’s life.
Michell: What particular cultural or social features do your art and writing reflect more prominently?
DIS: I hope that what I create is primarily a mirror for the reality in which I live, but also for the one in which my ancestors lived, because I have always been passionate about history, people, and events from the past. I consider myself a keen observer of life and people around me. I like to discover the motivations that interact directly or indirectly, to analyze events that have a great impact on me and others. I worked for some time in journalism, and I think it was also a great passion for me, because I have a penchant for a native introspective, analytical mind. It is important for an artist, a creator, to have a strong profound culture and, if I may say so, prolific and vivid culture, to fulfill his work. I grew up and became “me” in a true intellectual environment, in a family in which the teaching profession has “passed” from generation to generation: my father, my grandmother, and great-grandmother were teachers, and I have two sisters who are, like me, teachers. Culture was like a second nature in my family. Then I worked in the cultural field again. I founded three cultural Christian journals (and this can be seen on my site). All this “tradition” for culture is present in my work. But the socio-political life strongly impressed me work, because I know well all the differences here (rural and urban, intellectual and direct manufacturer – workers and peasants). Therefore, I can say that I have an image of the life in Romania, which can give my work more credibility and depth. When you have consistent, fair, and true sense of value, you can only relive and translate in your work what is important for the others, for humanity, first. But in the end, the creative spirit is what gives each work unicity and perenity is governing the artist’s life.
Michell: Do you ever get involved with humanitarian type of efforts?
DIS: Yes, I am involved in many humanitarian actions through my cultural, Christian and humanitarian Foundation, “Vladimir N. Spineanu”. Cultural activities of the Foundation, which is its primary objective, often combine Christian and humanitarian objectives. Through Ed “Germinal”, which belongs to the Foundation, I have supported the publication of the creations of talented people who lack in financial possibilities, and organized exhibitions for some very talented orphans. I offered cash prizes and books for students outstanding Olympic and students in teaching, giving them my Foundation Diploma. I am involved in helping people who have suffered losses because of natural disasters (floods), collecting goods, with the support of volunteers, and transporting them in those areas. I have organized, together with other institutions, charity shows, material support for persons who required surgery or expensive treatments. Together with teams of teachers from various educational institutions, I always found among students, children and adolescents, organizing events and actions to support the formation of an ideal, a goal in life.
Michell: What are some of your plans in the near future?
DIS: As for my foundation work, I will continue multiple activities to achieve its objectives and, moreover, I will try to create contacts with other similar organizations abroad. As for my creative life, the near future means more work for me, means completing several books, begun a long time ago, making many paintings, organizing book launches, and openings of exhibitions in the country and abroad, as I have already received many invitations in this area. So, as I said, the future means more work for me! But when passion is always standing beside you, when the passion for what you do is your best friend, you must succeed in all. This is my belief in life: to do everything with passion, with love for truth, and fullness with confidence that what I do is the right thing and, of course, with total dedication!
Michell: Very inspiring! Thank you Doina for sharing with us your wonderful work!
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About the Interviewer
Michell Spoden is a survivor of a cold case rape case and author of the book Stricken Yet Crowned. She has an associate’s degree in Business Science Administration and is presently working on her Bachelors in Project Management.