M aria Elena Bicer, a mother and grandmother, spend her days painting in a sunlit art studio overlooking the valley in Portola Hills. This picture perfect setting is the realization of a long journey that began many years ago in Argentina. Maria Elena was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants Tatiana Jarmoluk and Pedro Dobranski. Growing up a dreamer with a vivid imagination, Maria Elena’s mind was alive with the pictures and subjects that surrounded her world. From the humidity spots on the walls of her home, to the picturesque clouds that often laced the Buenos Aires Skies, her imagination was always at work. A master in embroidery, Tatiana taught her imaginative daughter to express her artistic visions through this medium. However, upon her high school graduation and on her parents advice, Maria Elena abandoned her dreams to formally study art opting to pursue a career that would be better suited for marriage and family.

In 1965, Maria Elena married Demetrio Bicer, and together they had three children: Gabriella, Jorge an Claudio. In 1985, the family relocated to Irvine, California.

Shortly thereafter, in 1986, Maria Elena experienced her first earthquake. Her next-door neighbor, Darla Rockwood, saw the rattling effect this new experience had on Maria Elena, and invited her to her home for coffee and a chat. To Maria Elena surprise, Darla was a well known artist, and upon this discovery, Maria Elena replied, “This was my dream.” To this, Darla asked “why was?”, convincing Maria Elena that she was not too old to start, Darla gave her an old easel, a canvas, a brush and a booklet from Irvine Valley College and pointed out the classes she could begin taking. By late 1986, Maria Elena at last began formally studying art at Irvine Valley College.
With her lifelong dream of becoming a painter materializing, Maria Elena’s work is the reflection of her ideals and sense of adventure. Her charitable contributions span a wide range of admirable causes. However, closest to her hearth, is the fight against violence.

Maria Elena Bicer’s imagination, creativity and passions, along with her exciting world travels are apparent in her work. In the course of her artistic path, she has garnered numerous awards and her works appear in private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe and Argentina.

A painting by Maria Elena Bicer is truly a feast for the eye…..