No regrets about pursuing a love for art
Belinda Tartaglia spent 30 years frustrated with her job, because she wasn't doing the right one.
She worked in banking, law and insurance before she realised the time would have been better spent if she'd put her energy into her first love — art.
“I woke up one morning and said, ‘I can't do it anymore'. I was doing some work with a law firm and just knew. My husband was away and I e-mailed him to say I was done with my job. I quit that day at age 54. I went out on a wing and a prayer because I knew deep down inside the time was right to pursue my art.”
It's likely that people wondered whether she'd “lost it” but 11 years later, she doesn't regret the decision.
“I never looked back,” she said. “That was in 2004 and I'm still going. I'm very blessed and pleased and grateful that I have the opportunity to live this dream that I always had. Back then my husband and I had reached a stage where we were comfortable, but I still had to step out in faith. When you do that and know deep down inside that you will be all right, you can take the risk.”
As a child, she only ever wanted colouring books. And although art was her favourite class in high school, she decided to pursue a more practical career.
She didn't pick up a paint brush again until she was 31.
“That's when I really kind of found this. In school I was so passionate about the arts. It was the only real reason I wanted to go to school, but then life eventually got in the way. I spent my adult life without really having a career. I just had jobs.
“In my spare time, all I wanted to do was paint. I worked in banking and insurance and did anything that would allow me to buy art supplies and pay my bills. I did almost everything, but was never satisfied doing anything except for this.”
Once she starts painting it's like the rest of the world doesn't exist, she said. Sometimes she's so busy creating she forgets to go to sleep.
“I believe a part of my journey on this earth is to do this, so when I'm creating art everything is right with my world,” she said. “It doesn't get any better.”
Mrs Tartaglia never studied art in college; most of what she knows came from books.
In 2009 she opened an art studio on Water Street in St George's but ended up spending more time running the retail space than doing actual art work.
“I decided to close that store in June,” she said. “I've been in my new space in the National Trust building, Buckingham, ever since and have had more time to be creative. I'm learning to paint on porcelain and have a whole new line of cards that will be coming out in the spring.”
There were times she felt like giving up because her work wasn't being acknowledged.
“What I've learnt is you can't look outside of yourself for acceptance. It has to come from within,” she said.
“Right now I consider my art studio to be my little sanctuary. I'm in this old, historic building and I get to create.
“I think you have to take the ego out of it; throw it in the trash and burn it and then look within. That's when you create your best stuff.”
•Her work is now on exhibit in Studio B at the Bermuda Society of Arts until January 6