‘You have to put your soul into it’

Community care radiates through Brazilian woman’s art.


Romilda Marçal Pinto’s eclectic art speaks of hope, beauty, and goodwill: “I think painting is something you must do from your heart.” In subject and material, it all comes from her soul.

“Whatever you do, you should have a message. For me, I always ask God to bless me so that I can make something to bless other people.”

One of nine children, Pinto was born in Alvarenga, a small town in eastern Brazil, and lived there until about 2 years old, when she moved with her mother to Belo Horizonte, where she was raised and later married. Twenty-nine years ago, the couple sold everything and moved to Boston to join Pinto’s sister. Two years later they moved to the Vineyard at the behest of her cousin.

Pinto believes her artistry comes from her mother, a talented seamstress who would create entire outfits, from the dress to the paper flower bouquet for a bride-to-be, or the garments to dress the dead for their funeral. Her uncles were also creative and, despite not attending school, built beautiful houses in Brazil.

Pinto began experimenting with art materials at 13 when working at a store, which she mentions was similar to Granite. The owner, a skilled craftsperson, taught her how to make intricate cut-and-embossed paper designs fashioned into cards, invitations, and envelopes. Her work often combines oils, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, cut paper, paste, encaustic, and a patchwork fabric art called embutido. She has learned all these techniques over the years from YouTube videos: “I watch a lot of people doing different things, not because I want to do what they do, but because I want to know what I’m not supposed to do. Watching other people, I can do anything, as long as the message can change people’s lives.”

Pinto doesn’t distinguish between fine art and craft: “You have to have the confidence that you are doing something from inside your heart.”

“Everywhere we go, we can see beautiful things,” and God’s gifts of beauty, peace, and abundance are a through-theme throughout her far-ranging art.

Some of Pinto’s works are small, singular images, such as the white, blooming tree in “Peace.” There appears to be an aura around the tree, which itself, wrapped in a white bow, recalls a wedding bouquet.

Three-dimensional flowers spill across the foreground in “Abundance,” developing a variegated texture in the large mixed-media piece. She applied paste with a pastry decorating tube and then added miniature hand-cut paper flowers to make the area pop. To Pinto, flowers symbolize prosperity. “Not just for money,” she says, “but to have peace inside you.”

In “The Best View,” Pinto fills her canvas with a spring-colored field of flowers. Behind, we see a beach, an undulating, blue-toned ocean, and a bright white sheath of sky. Three lovely birds nestle in the branches that extend from the unseen tree trunks on either side. “When we buy a house, the most important thing is the view. If you have a good one, you are blessed,” Pinto explains, referring to the work’s title.

Many of Pinto’s landscapes include water, which she explains comes from a Brazilian motto that conveys, “If you are trying to buy land and you are not sure, and it has water, you should buy it because with water, everything grows.”

Initially, you might think her “Untitled” abstraction with white outlined geometric circles and squares painted over solid yellow, green, purple, and blue squares floating on a white background is a total departure: “It’s abstract, but what I was thinking is that sometimes we have so many doors, and we don’t know where to go. However, if we ask God, he knows the best place to be.”

Like her mother, Pinto honors special occasions with her art. This is especially true of births. In the lower-left corner of “Bless Abundantly,” there is what looks like a toy duck. Behind it are rows upon rows of tiny blue, white-roofed houses accented with gold squares, representing the wish for prosperity, riches: “When I make it for the baby, I’m wishing the best for that child.”

The gold words in “Princesa Sarah” celebrate the sweet pigtailed girl beneath, surrounded by red, purple, and red flowers.

“The most important thing I have learned since I was 13 years old is to have confidence. What makes me happy is when I do my art. When I am anxious, what makes my life better is to paint.

Art should make your life better, and give peace to your heart.”

Romilda Marçal Pinto can be reached via email at romildapintomv@gmail.com or romildapintomv@usa.com, and by phone or text at 774-521-8041.