Maria Hayes, Artist


I have been puzzling how to draw movement since I was 16, when I made early attempts to capture a stream in flow.

My training was pre-digital and fairly traditional – observational drawing methods and paper based materials. Since then I have extended my tools to include digital drawing, drawing in performance using projection, and film making. Like many artists of my generation I confront questions of what might be lost? And what can be gained?

From 2008 – 2013 I undertook a Fine Art practice based PhD at Aberystwyth University to deepen my research into looking at and drawing movement. In mapping a way across the digital divide I sought to connect past traditions with present and future image making. 

As well as finding inspiration in the natural world, my creative curiosity is often drawn to other art forms. From classical music and ballet to the working class art forms of folk music and stories, particularly from my Celtic heritage.

The subject matters and art forms I work with are seen through the lens of my core research into how to capture movement. I am never happier than when performing and co-creating with musicians, dancers, actors, storytellers and poets. My aim for the work is to be part of a living cultural tradition. Informing this is the hope that If I reveal my process, while I am in process, this assists viewers to read the work.

Maria Hayes, Artist


Drawings of music, musicians and dance
& performance works

The impulse rises, I match colour to sound and my hand follows. The sound is translated onto the page with line and shape. When I observe and capture dance I trace the bodily motions. When working with story I distil the narrative into visual form in real time – a reverse animation. These performances become drawings. These drawings are performed. Drawing on stage or on film allows the viewer to observe the subject and the process of capture simultaneously.
Artist Facilitator



Observational drawing and painting connects me to the natural world and I draw from life and in situ wherever possible. Time, weather conditions and the season affect the work.

During the Pandemic I walked and painted, posting the images to social media as they were painted.

At the Osprey centre I drew from the live video feed.

These are small performances.

Myths and Legends


Red Riding Hood, Selkies & Women of the Mabinogi

Stories, especially those connected to the landscape, fascinate me. When working with story and storytellers I distil the narrative into visual form in real time – a reverse animation. The Mabinogi and Selkie stories have a deep hold on my imagination.

Sometimes I work in more abstract ways, generating charms and spells in sculptural form.



PHD & NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)

From 2008 – 2013 I undertook a practice-based PhD at Aberystwyth University and combined digital imaging and observational drawing to explore the essential qualities of both.

In 2022 researchers at Aberystwyth University invited me to participate in a project exploring Climate Change with funding from NERC – Natural Environment Research Council.



Live performance, working with filmmakers and collaborating with other artists are currently my favoured methods of making art.

In recording my process of working I hope to enable the viewer to work with me. The work is incomplete until it is shared and interpreted through another’s eyes and heart.



I live in my sketchbooks and always carry one. Sometimes they are entirely visual, some are full of writing. More often it is a mixture. They are my companions and diaries.

They are my mobile studio.

“Maria’s work has enriched my personal life for many years. Living with Maria’s paintings of a dancing dervish, a moon walk and waterfall lift my spirits. Her acrylic ceiling mural in our conservatory play with the light from the sun in an ever changing kaleidoscope.”
Dr Ditty Doktor – Dramatherapist