The color of the sky right before sunset, importance of letting go, following your artist’s soul… these are just a few things, I got to talk to Maureen E Clark about during our first encounter at the Art with Anna class.
My two weeks old baby was quietly sleeping in a carrier, I was painting a nice piece for my daughter’s room, and talking to someone of the same spirit seemed to be such a treat.
I followed the lead of my curiosity and offered to take photos of her workspace. Well, I was curious. And I also wanted to get back to work after having a baby. So a couple of months later there I was, at her studio in the artsy end of West Rich St.
Maureen E Clark
Bright and colorful, impressionistic, local. Her works inspire, they brighten your day, they make you relax, think and most of all feel the space in the painting. Feel the mood. I am happy to share a series of photos of Maureen, her paintings and her space, as well as the interview.
While preparing questions for the interview, I never know, what the answers are going to be. And it is such a nice surprise to get the answers I never expected.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by life; people, nature and experiences. Every day brings new inspiration. I am an observer, therefore everyday new experiences and individuals cross my path. After thorough reflection my creative energy needs an outlet. I may not necessarily paint, I may write or take photos, create a meal. Everyday, in a billion different ways I am always in the process of creating… I don’t think it ever stops.
Your favorite time of day?
Oh, my favorite time of day is in the evening as the sun starts to lower and everything has this golden glow. It is before sunset, the sun is warm and soft everything seems to sparkle and shine. The daytime sun is too bright and it is difficult to see everything clearly. The nighttime is too dark to see details. During this time just before sunset the sun is soft enough to see everything with great detail. It is perfect.
Place, you go to/ things you do, when you want to reboot/feel better?
My favorite thing to do when I feel overwhelmed or need to sort out my mind is to take a walk. To be in the world with an open mind and view all that is around. It is the easiest way for me to simplify. Let everything go and enjoy the moment. I always discover new places or perspectives every time I walk. This past summer, I had been on the same path multiple times near my home. One day I noticed this beautiful flower growing out of the most unlikely spot, brick and metal fencing. I wondered why I had never seen it before. This was because I was always looking across the street at a garden. Moments like that is why I walk, to slow down life and take notice of unexpected beauty.
How did you discover your style? What did you try?
I started with more control and discipline with my technique, aiming for a more realistic approach. However my paintings always took on more of an illustrative look. I have always enjoyed color, It is just the way I see the world…colorful. Eventually, I started to work in more monotones and earth tones, followed by a dark period. During this time my hand became much more loose while using large brush stokes and I was painting with strong emotion. After this my paintings started to lighten up and color began to emerge again. My technique developed and grew to what it is now. I would describe it as Architectural Impressionist Expressionism, lol!
What are your recent artistic discoveries and future plans?
I have discovered that mind set has a lot to do with success, and success is only measured by self-content. My painting style has evolved to become my own expression. I can not wait to see where else it goes. Future plans involve more community involvement and collaborations. Continue to keep an open mind and heart to any opportunity that may present itself, to explore and learn. I certainly cannot predict what the future will bring, but it will be fascinating and I will be painting!
Favorite place in Columbus?
Many years ago I worked downtown and would ride my bike into work using the Olentangy bike trail. I would put on my iPod and put in my ear buds and petal to work at 6am. As I neared downtown the pathway would rise up and the skyline would appear at the top of the hill. At this moment I would pause and everyday the same song would begin as I descended the peak, Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies”. I would be looking out to the sunrise over the river and Columbus skyline, with the railroad bridge and twisting trail way. It was the perfect moment everyday, and it was also downhill! So I guess its more of a moment in a place that is my favorite.
How long does it take to complete one painting?
It depends. Considering I build my own custom stretcher frames and stretch canvas, gesso and then paint. It takes quite a bit of time for the building of the canvas. Painting the canvas can be anywhere from one week to months depending on the size of the canvas.
Tell me about those black toned paintings on your studio’s wall. They are so different.
The black series started in Philadelphia as a way for me to express some difficult times. It was very therapeutic to be able to express my feelings rather than ignore and bury them I was able to direct it in a more constructive way. If you take a look at my paintings from that time to now, there is a change throughout my work. It lightens up and color is reintroduced as my perception and experiences change. It’s really very interesting to me to look back to the paintings, I no longer feel the anxiety or fear I once did. I can look on with an expression of wisdom and reflection.
What book are you reading/have read and what music are you usually listening to?
It seems like I am always re-reading, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The idea behind the book is discovering your own destiny, and the journey.
I also enjoy reading how-to and self-discovery books… and I have many cookbooks.
I mostly listen to indie music, however I enjoy all music really. I listen to a lot of blues and jazz, indie rock, classical, bluegrass, hip hop.
Being a freelance artist, how do you plan your day/ organize your routine? What helps?
I have my professional obligations; teaching and personal meetings. As well as the business of my art; submissions, social marketing, website, professional connections, etc. (this can take up quite a bit of time). All this is very necessary to keep forward momentum.
My painting is something that must be done every day, in whatever fashion it may be that day.
I find that it is essential to keep some sort of balance between all the moving parts. There cannot be one without the other. Because I make my own schedule, my life is more flexible. It is very beneficial to an artist to be able to create when feeling inspired, and to work on the business side when the creative process needs a break. Therefore, I do not necessarily have a routine. However I am more productive in the evening and at night. The daytime is when I daydream and plan.
It helps to have some sort of morning routine to get moving and a nighttime routine to settle, because of the inconsistent schedule..