Marian Van Soest
I think I wanted to be a visual artist from a very young age. Although I received no professional artistic training until mid-life and twice got deflected from an artistic career path by forays into writing and human services, I clung to my passion for art until retirement made it possible to study painting seriously, full time, for the rest of my life. Transparent watercolor was my first love. It was portable, brilliant, and perfect for achieving dramatic effects of light and dark–and thus for painting landscapes, figures, and still lifes. However, it seemed to lack the solidity I was trying to convey. After several years of experimentation with other media and subject matter, I found myself drawn back to basic design, composing with large colorful shapes held together by strong structural elements and much surface texture. Abstract, non-objective painting has satisfied my deep need to create and taught me a lot about materials and the importance of brushwork. However, because it is in danger of becoming too inward-looking and private, My next challenge is to find a way of re-introducing recognizable subjects that will convey more meaning, especially my love of people and the nitty gritty of the world.