I have always loved to draw -- maybe as a connection to the world, my response, or appreciation. This goes for landscapes, nature, up close, and the figure. I think it’s my intimate, quiet observing that separates me from the wild, noisy, sometimes rude, uncaring world, seeking the beauty of nature.
As a student at the University of Maryland and the Maryland Institute, College of Art my focus was improving my skills as an artist. In my teaching, being able to share my love of art will hopefully inspire others and improve their skills. I continually remind students to look, and that is what I continue to do. I think that looking is how I draw.
|Girl with Flowers, Charcoal, encaustic, mixed media on panel, 14"H x 11"W x .5"D|
When I think about drawing and my materials I’m remembering how satisfied I was when I could work with chalk pastels to develop a landscape. The pastels could be painterly, and I felt I could achieve the feel of the landscape and create atmosphere. Moving the chalk with my fingers, I would blend the colors. The combination of materials and motion of my process seemed to bring about what I saw and felt. When I worked in oils, I loved that with a brush I could move the colors, blend and draw and that seemed to work for me. I experimented with surfaces, and found that I wanted to add more to build texture. A tar paper surface works well for landscape painting. Drawing into the paint, the black textured paper shows through. Revealing the dark background gives my paintings depth.
About ten years ago I learned about weekly life drawing sessions at Montgomery College. I’ve been going there regularly ever since. It had been many years since my life drawing classes in college. Now, if I miss a week of drawing, it feels like a huge sacrifice. That’s how important the weekly sessions are to me. My charcoal of choice is General’s 6B (soft) compressed charcoal sticks. I’m able to draw lines with the charcoal, capturing gesture. I move the charcoal with my fingers to give the drawings a tonal quality, which can define the volume of the figure. Here, I am able to be painterly with charcoal.
I don’t know if it was the first time, but I started taking notice of other artists’ work in encaustic in 2009 at The Divas and Iron Chefs of Encaustic Exhibition at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. In 2010, I was included in The University of Maryland University College’s exhibition, “Mind, Body, Spirit, Celebrating Regional Women Artists.” There, I found other artists working in encaustic and I finally thought that I would like to do this.
I think what captivated me about the encaustic paintings I saw was the surface. The painting did seem more like a construction, a play of light, with a surface you wanted to touch.
Ellyn Weiss, an artist whom I have admired, instructed me to ‘bring whatever I liked with me for my tutorial with her in encaustic painting. I brought my drawings from the life drawing sessions along with miscellaneous materials and started exploring encaustic painting. I was hooked and that started my love of working in encaustic. I’ve loved seeing Ellyn’s work through the years. I’m especially drawn to her palette and the energy of her paintings and drawings.
|Eagle Eyes, Charcoal, encaustic on panel, 13"H x 9.5"W x .5"D|
Today, I use the encaustic painting to highlight my drawings. I feel the added texture, luminosity, layers, and dimension all help in my construction or building of my artwork. I add, and take away, sometimes making the painting more of a sculptural form. The carving away is another form of drawing. You have to see it and touch it to understand. It is the back and forth nature of collage that lends itself well to encaustic painting. Collage elements add more texture, dimension and depth to the paintings. I may work with a painting for weeks, or over a month. It is rare to do a painting in one sitting. That is also my approach with mixed media/collage. I need to live with it, get a better look at the parts of it, and think about what may be necessary.
This past year has been a difficult year for my family. David, my husband, had surgery in July to remove a cancerous tumor from his duodenum (small intestine.) The extensive surgery was a success and he is now managing the results of the surgery and chemotherapy. Our regular walks we take together in beautiful Rock Creek Park continue to inspire me. We’re fortunate to have our younger son Rigel with us now to help at home and offer his positive spirit, but we know we’ll miss him terribly when he leaves for Armenia in March to join the Peace Corps. Our older son Orion has been working for several years in Hubbard’s Fine Art Services, my husband’s art installation and sculpture conservation business. Orion has gained the expertise in working in metal and he thinks like an engineer to manage installing and securing art in all kinds of ways. David and I look forward to visiting Rigel in Armenia and I am also investigating artist residencies in Armenia.
This is Week 47 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Marcie's story today. To connect with her and see more of her work, please visit the following links: