MAUREEN OBEY

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

 

My earliest memory of art is standing by my mom,  when I was probably six, while she doodled with a pencil showing me how to shade in boxes and circles and swirls just like her.  The next day I proudly tried to duplicate this magic on my test paper which didn’t make Sister Mary very happy at all!  We played outside a lot in those days so much so that our backyard had no grass just lots of dirt which made me happy since I didn’t need any paper, just sticks and hard packed dirt.    I had drawn what I thought to be a perfect face of a dog’ big, long floppy ears and a long snout.  I loved this dog and for days would go and make sure he was still there.  I was crushed and sobbed my heart out when the day came that the rain washed my “masterpiece” away. I remember feeling so shy but proud winning Honorable Mention in 8th grade for my rendition of Irish dancers.  The time though that stands out as THE pivotal moment was when at 15 I saw the painting “THE STANDARD BEARER OF THE HARVEST FESTIVAL” by Antonio Mancini at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It literally took my breath away and through all the years ahead I never forgot that moment and how it made me feel. I returned to the museum many years later, tears filling my eyes as I slowly breathed in this masterpiece once again

With no formal art education, In my early twenties I delved into the art world holding only a charcoal pencil copying portraits of singers off my music albums. Not much time later thinking I had that down pretty good and being in a hurry to learn as much as I could, I began watercolor. I was enthralled with the magic of watercolor but somehow my paintings came out so dark that the instructor suggested I might be better with oil or acrylic. Once my three kids were older I did find the time to begin oil classes and discovered I adored that creamy texture and freedom of mixing colors. I try and grow by challenging myself whenever I get the chance, learning new techniques and everything I can to make myself a better painter. I want to paint moments that stand out for me, that make me catch my breath. I want to share that feeling with others using canvas and a brush or pastel stick.  Everywhere I look I feel there is a painting to be done. I have added pastel to my work because the richness in colors always makes me stop in my tracks.  I’ll never want to stop learning and why would I since I’m having the time of my life living in my stretch zone. “You use a mirror to see your face, you use works of art to see your soul” George Bernard Shaw

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