When Dr. Terry Mamounas isn’t saving lives as an oncologist at Orlando Health, he unwinds with a canvas and paintbrush.
When Dr. Terry Mamounas isn’t traveling for medical conferences, conducting surgery or tending to his cancer patients, he could be found in front of an easel — paintbrush in hand — at his art studio.
“(Painting) is, sort of, my sanctuary,” Mamounas said. “I would look forward to going back (into my studio) spending an hour or half-an-hour a day — if I can — or more. … It’s always relaxing. It’s always something I really look forward to.”
Mamounas is one of 60 artists who has his work displayed as part of the Winter Garden Art Association’s fourth annual Top Choice Art Show at SoBo Art Gallery, 127 S. Boyd St.
The show launched June 5 and continues through July 28. Although winners already have been selected, gallery guests still can vote for their favorite pieces. The piece that gets the most votes will receive a People’s Choice award during the last week of the show, Mary Keating, coordinator of exhibitions at SoBo Gallery, said.
Keating said the gallery received more than 220 submittals for the show. Each artist who submitted work to be featured was only to submit two pieces, meaning more than 100 artists submitted their work. The Top Choice Art Show features one piece from the 60 artists who earned a spot.
“Every year, the submittals have increased,” Keating said. “We turn down really great artwork all the time. Nobody should feel badly about being rejected, because wonderful works are rejected all the time. … We only have so much space.”
Born and raised in Greece, Mamounas, 60, started painting when he was about 10 years old.
“It was my fifth-grade teacher who inspired me to paint,” Mamounas said. “He was a painter. After the year was over, we formed a little group and painted on Sundays at his shop. That’s what got me started early on.”
Today, Mamounas lives in Windermere and is a surgical oncologist who treats breast-cancer patients. His work requires frequent travel for conferences and lectures, and he also works at least 60 hours a week with patients at the hospital and writing and researching at home. He is also a member and conducts research for the NRG Oncology Group. He’s been involved with the group since 1989 and has been the chair of the group’s breast-cancer committee since 1997.
Mamounas said he tries to find time to paint every day, but his busy schedule makes it difficult.
“It’s a struggle, sometimes,” Mamounas said. “I have a little studio at home … (I paint) whenever I can find time after (work) hours (and) weekends. I take my paintings with me on vacation, so I can spend some time painting when I’m away.”
‘WHATEVER COMES TO MIND’
Mamounas works with oil paints and watercolors. The main theme of his paintings is to emphasize light and shade, and many of his paintings features a very broad contrast. He marries his career with his creativity as he paints fine details with surgical precision in all of his paintings.
“A lot of times, I paint details and complex themes, but it still relaxes me a lot,” Mamounas said. “I like paintings where there’s a lot of contrast between light and shade. If you look at my paintings … (they have) a very broad contrast.”
In terms of the work itself, Mamounas enjoys painting still-life objects such as plants, stones and fruits. He also paints landscapes and portraits of people and pets every now and then. On a number of occasions, Mamounas has combined his talent as a painter and work as a cancer doctor and created paintings to be auctioned off at fundraising events related to cancer.
“A lot my early paintings focus on my kids or my wife and scenes from our family life,” Mamounas said. “I try not to box myself in a corner painting the same thing. … I always think about (painting) different things — whatever comes to mind.”