Local artist Marianne Harris continues to make her creative mark on the community while always moving forward in her own artistic growth.
Harris, whose work is a terrific balance between the bold and the subtle empowered by both vibrant colours or more muted tones, has always enjoyed sharing her skills with others as they embark on their own creative journeys as well.
“I continually have a curiosity to try new techniques, new media and combinations of those techniques, new looks and styles of the art, and improving each time I paint a piece,” she explained. “I’m excited for any future opportunities to use my skills and talents and don’t want to say no to any such opportunity that may present itself – one connection always seems to lead to another.”
These days, besides having some paintings featured at Red Deer’s A + Art Gallery & Unique Collections, much of Harris’s works of course can be checked out in her own home-based Paintwerx Studio. “Anybody is welcome anytime to just come down and view the art. I always have a minimum 200 pieces on the walls at all times and they just rotate.”
Another upcoming show featuring her works will be at the Red Deer Regional Hospital spread out on three floors, and it runs from Oct. 15th to Nov. 30th.
Meanwhile, her work has also been featured in the Kiwanis Gallery located in the downtown branch of the Red Deer Public Library. She’s also part of the Red Deer Art Club and the Red Deer Arts Council.
“What I still find enjoyable is that I love when a piece comes together, and I’ve been able to enhance a photo reference I’ve been using, or change colours, mood, composition, style and final look of the piece,” she said of her process.
”I feel very satisfied when I know I’ve improved over previous work, and am proud when I have a successful outcome after pushing myself to try new directions with my art.
“I’m still inspired by such a variety of subject matter I want to try, and applying new techniques to create a whole new look, especially in the creation of my acrylic pieces. I can tackle larger sizes that require a different approach, mind set and skill set, and even different materials and how they are used,” she added.
“I also still really love the high realism of watercolour though, as well as the new and improved outcomes that come with experience and confidence in applying paint to various surfaces, often in new ways I haven’t tried before. So I guess I’ll have to keep painting to accomplish all the above!”
As mentioned, Harris finds fulfillment in teaching via a number of local workshops in watercolours and acrylics. “They happen about every two weeks – every second Wednesday roughly,” she said, adding she also travels to Central Alberta communities for teaching stints.
She also wrapped up a couple of teaching sessions in tandem with the recent Alberta Culture Days at Fairview Elementary and Gateway Christian School. “I enjoy the interactions of students and those ‘aha’ moments they have, and seeing them progress and improve and become proud of their work.
“A compliment or two doesn’t hurt either, going both directions between myself and my students. I’ve taught from elementary school kids to mature students well into their 70s and 80s, proving you’re never too young or too old to explore a passion.”
Being an artist can mean having plenty of solitude, and Harris said she enjoys balancing out the hours spent alone with the fun of meeting new people.
“I like the different venues, and it does keep you young a little bit,” she added with a laugh. “I also still take workshops myself. Once a year, I’ll attend a big workshop and I’ll bring a lot of that information back to my students and continue that way. So it pushes me as an artist and also helps my students – I’m enthusiastic about sharing it.”
She also hosts ‘Away to Play’ paint events. “I do every kind of event, from corporate to Christmas to family reunions to anniversary parties to girls’ nights out,” she said of the special paint events.
Another creative path Harris recently took came last year, when she provided illustrations for a children’s book entitled Snot, Snails and Salamander Tails which was penned by Lloydminster author Ann Campbell.
Ultimately, there is an unmistakable joy that can be seen in Harris as she discusses her craft and how she wants to continue to grow. “I’m still looking forward to perhaps publishing/writing/illustrating children’s books, getting published in a book or a magazine, participating in various art venues, and becoming a member in larger art organizations.”