Preservation in Paint

Preservation in Paint

MaiYap hopes her art encourages a second look at our planet and our role in protecting it.

When artist MaiYap needed a new method of creative expression, she found the answer by trading her paintbrush for a palette knife. That decision led to her creating award-winning abstract artwork such as “Anecdote of an Inquisitive Mind,” the oil painting that earned her this year’s William Duebber Artist Award.

MaiYap once worked in a more realistic style, before changing her painting tool changed everything. “With a palette knife, you can apply a large amount of paint at once – the purest, vibrant colors, straight from the tube – and create textures impossible to achieve with brushes,” she says. Unable to find many examples of other artists who painted that way, MaiYap forged her own path as she taught herself by trial-and-error and embraced her bold new style. “I’ve been producing abstract work for the last 10 years,” says the Florida-based artist, who today is the director of Palette Knife Artists of Miami and teaches other artists. 

Being born in Panama to Chinese parents has infused MaiYap’s art with a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. Currently living in Miami, Fla., MaiYap is constantly filling her “inspirational battery” with the latest news, particularly stories concerning the environment. “Anecdote of an Inquisitive Mind,” from her “Reverberations” series, explores the interactive role of humans with nature and our ultimate responsibility to it. “The echoes of repercussion and its consequences are represented by dominant circular images and the use of black, which becomes a blank slate for awareness and kindness,” MaiYap explains. Deeply committed to the earth’s preservation, she uses her artistic voice to reveal the complex relationships that people have with our world. Her “Hope” series explores similar concepts. 

MaiYap feels a kinship to Cincinnati-based contemporary artist William Duebber (1941-2014), whose namesake award was given to her through Art Comes Alive, an internationally juried exhibition hosted by Art Design Consultants. “Looking at his paintings, I feel completely identified,” MaiYap says. “He loved nature and found in abstraction a way to communicate his message, same as myself.”

For more on the artist, email or visit  

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