Maria Marino – Responding Emotionally To The Landscape

When I think of the work of Maria Marino, I think of pastel paintings full of vitality, texture, and colour. And when I say paintings, I think with Maria Marino’s work, they really are paintings! She applies the pastel so thickly, you feel you could be looking at a thick brush stroke of oil paint.

I’ve featured Maria in my monthly selections and have always been intrigued by the process by which she works. I’ve also been amazed by her very textural ink drawings full of density and dark. So, as you can imagine, I am delighted to have Maria Marino as a guest blogger!

Just in case you don’t know her work, here’s a teaser:

 

Maria Marino, "First Snow," pastel on LaCarte paper, 12 x 16 in. Sold

Maria Marino, “First Snow,” pastel on LaCarte paper, 12 x 16 in. Sold.  Painted from a photo of a scene from my home.

 

Before I hand you over to Maria, here’s a wee bit about her.

 

Maria Marino Bio

Maria Marino is a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America (PSA) and has achieved Master Circle Status from the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), cum laude with a BFA in Interior Architecture. Maria currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Pastel Society of America and is an Elected Member of Allied Artists of America. Her pastels have garnered many awards. You can read more about Maria Marino and see her work on her website.

 

And here’s Maria Marino!!

*****

 

Born in Washington, D.C., I became a fulI-time artist in 2015 after a 20-year career in interior design. Before then, painting was only available to me after hours since the demands of architecture took many hours overseeing the design and construction process of a project. Weekend time was also limited yet you could find me painting in the wee hours of the morning.

 

Maria Marino, "Sailmates, pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 6 x 9 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a scene located in Mystic, CT.

Maria Marino, “Sailmates, pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 6 x 9 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a scene located in Mystic, CT.

 

I am a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art and Design (MICA) and majored in interior architecture. That time was truly a wonderful part of my life for the school curriculum fused the fine arts with the applied arts. Given the fact that I returned to school in my 30’s with a 5-year-old daughter, taking 18 credits and working 25-30 hours a week proved to be challenging yet very rewarding.

 

Maria Marino, "Giverny's Lucie," pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 16 x 12 in. SOLD Painted the innkeepers daughter who posed for the group plein air in Giverny

Maria Marino, “Giverny’s Lucie,” pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 16 x 12 in. SOLD Painted the innkeepers daughter who posed for the group plein air in Giverny

 

One particular instructor that influenced my passion for creative mark making is Linda Mansy, a textiles instructor at MICA. She was truly inspirational and many of the assignments required the student to create a final submission that included drawing and weaving. Textiles incorporate form, line and color to create a beautiful means of expression. Throughout my time there, several instructors encouraged students to keep a sketchbook and to record our thoughts and ideas.

 

Maria Marino, "Port of Honfleur," felt tip pen on rag paper, 9 x 24 in, NFS. A sketchbook drawing completed with a felt tip pen. Great way to nail down strong values in a drawing.

Maria Marino, “Port of Honfleur,” felt tip pen on rag paper, 9 x 24 in, NFS. A sketchbook drawing completed with a felt tip pen. Great way to nail down strong values in a drawing.

 

Maria Marino, "Pond at Giverny," felt tip pen on rag paper, 9 x 24 in. NFS. A sketchbook drawing completed with a felt tip pen.

Maria Marino, “Pond at Giverny,” felt tip pen on rag paper, 9 x 24 in. NFS. A sketchbook drawing completed with a felt tip pen.

 

Drawing is what helped me find a myriad of loose and free strokes that I incorporate into my paintings. This was also reinforced by my mother as I was encouraged to paint and draw to my heart’s content while growing up.

 

Maria Marino, "Le Jardin-Giverny," pastel on Wallis board, 12 x 16 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a view of Monet's Pond at Giverny.

Maria Marino, “Le Jardin-Giverny,” pastel on Wallis board, 12 x 16 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a view of Monet’s Pond at Giverny.

 

I enjoy the use of pastels mostly because I feel that the medium has not yet experienced its full potential. I like my paintings to be truly unique in technique as well as texture. Many of my paintings focus on the landscape and capturing the atmospheric quality of that given moment. It is truly an emotional response in reflecting the conditions of the landscape using the full color range. The texture gives the painting the opportunity to be more dimensional in view and many of the pastel brands out there have their own unique qualities.

 

Maria Marino, "Autumnal Light," pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 9 x 16 in. Sold. Plein air painting completed during an event. The image is a hedgerow of trees located at Liriodendron Mansion.

Maria Marino, “Autumnal Light,” pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 9 x 16 in. Sold. Plein air painting completed during an event. The image is a hedgerow of trees located at Liriodendron Mansion.

 

For instance, Terry Ludwig pastels have a definitive edge to create a myriad of marks while their buttery quality allows the fusion of various color selections. The edges are especially ideal for getting those sharp strokes that are crucial in the foreground of a painting.

 

Maria Marino, "Ready to Sail," pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 6 x 9 in. Sold. Painted from a photo of a scene located in Eastport, MD which is located next to Annapolis, MD (sailing capital of the world).

Maria Marino, “Ready to Sail,” pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 6 x 9 in. Sold. Painted from a photo of a scene located in Eastport, MD which is located next to Annapolis, MD (sailing capital of the world).

 

Another brand that I love to work with is Sennelier pastels. They are super buttery and are available in various sizes. Sourcing them in this manner gives the artist an opportunity to expand their mark-making capabilities. The Giant size pastels are especially amazing to work with. One can break them into pieces and/or wield them effortlessly across the surface. Because they are so large they do not tend to easily crumble and allow the painter to cover a wide area quickly. The range of yellows and yellow ochres in the Sennelier line are especially beautiful. They provide a wide range of hues to work with.

 

Maria Marino, "Soleil," pastel over watercolor on Wallis board, 12 x 18 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a view of Monet's Pond at Giverny.

Maria Marino, “Soleil,” pastel over watercolor on Wallis board, 12 x 18 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a view of Monet’s Pond at Giverny.

 

Another must-have pastel brand that is in my collection are the Diane Townsend pastels. The unusual shape and gritty texture lend themselves to parcels of pure super-rich pigment that lodge into the tooth of the support. Several color selections have pockets of pigment dispersed through the stick more than others. Crack one of these in half and experiment with the various marks one can achieve. I also use Giraults for detail work, Roches for the final touches of color, and Unison pastels.

There are several surfaces that I typically use: UART 320 grit either loose sheets or mounted on board, Sennelier LaCarte, and Multimedia Artboard. See examples of each below.

 

Maria Marino, Mear Marina-Eastport," pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 12 x 16 in. Sold. Studio painting of a boatyard in Eastport, MD.

Maria Marino, Mear Marina-Eastport,” pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 12 x 16 in. Sold. Studio painting of a boatyard in Eastport, MD.

 

Maria Marino, "Quietude-M Heflin," pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 9 x 6 in. Available. Painted en plein air at Solomons Island, MD event. The artists got together and painted a model en plein air.

Maria Marino, “Quietude-M Heflin,” pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 9 x 6 in. Available. Painted en plein air at Solomons Island, MD event. The artists got together and painted a model en plein air.

Maria Marino, "Quietude-M Heflin," pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 9 x 6 in. Detail.

Maria Marino, “Quietude-M Heflin,” pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 9 x 6 in. Detail.

 

Maria Marino, "Summer Light," pastel on Multimedia Board, 6 x 6 on. Sold. Painted from a photo of a view of William Paca House Gardens, Annapolis, MD. (abstract microcosm)

Maria Marino, “Summer Light,” pastel on Multimedia Board, 6 x 6 on. Sold. Painted from a photo of a view of William Paca House Gardens, Annapolis, MD. (abstract microcosm)

 

There are other papers that I experiment on such as Moulin de Larroque and Moulin du Pombie that is sourced from an old paper mill in France as well as Val de Laga Mill of the Moulin Richard de Bas which is a paper mill that dates back from 1326. Their surface is quite different and not sanded so the process changes to accommodate the surface texture at hand. Beautiful color selections are available yet the distributor here in the United States closed their door last year making it difficult to source.

Another paper that I use is Rives BFK which is available with a slightly sanded surface.

 

Maria Marino, "Rebirth of the Soul," pastel on Rives BFK paper, 22 x 28 in. Available. Exploratory studio painting which I call a landscape.

Maria Marino, “Rebirth of the Soul,” pastel on Rives BFK paper, 22 x 28 in. Available. Exploratory studio painting which I call a landscape.

Maria Marino, "Rebirth of the Soul," pastel on Rives BFK paper, 22 x 28 in. Detail. Available. Close-up showing texture.

Maria Marino, “Rebirth of the Soul,” pastel on Rives BFK paper, 22 x 28 in. Detail. Available. Close-up showing texture.

 

Beginning with the UART 320 grit paper mounted on board this is my process as to how I paint on that surface. I always begin the painting by sketching the composition in with a charcoal pencil and using a watercolor underpainting, implementing transparent color washes throughout. These washes are usually part of the final painting. Allowing the watercolor to run here and there establishes different value ranges throughout the composition. It is important to allow the painting to breathe and not mask the transparency of the watercolor washes.

 

Maria Marino," Nocturne-Charles St," pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 6 x 9. Sold. Painted a dry docked boat in boatyard (nocturne) plein air at Solomon’s Plein Air event.

Maria Marino,” Nocturne-Charles St,” pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 6 x 9. Sold. Painted a dry docked boat in boatyard (nocturne) plein air at Solomon’s Plein Air event.

 

From there I apply pastel both using a soft grazing technique as well as cracking the pastels onto the surface pretty hard, to create a myriad of interesting marks. Impasto texture fills the composition and it takes a lot of pastels to achieve this quality. Be prepared to use quite a few in completing a painting!

 

Maria Marino, "Paca House Serenity," 2013, pastel on Wallis board, 12 x 18 in. Sold. Painted en plein air at William Paca House Gardens, Annapolis, MD.

Maria Marino, “Paca House Serenity,” 2013, pastel on Wallis board, 12 x 18 in. Sold. Painted en plein air at William Paca House Gardens, Annapolis, MD.

 

I typically do not use my fingers to blend the pastel since it dulls the spectacular quality of the pigment. The end result is to have pure pigment dispersed throughout the painting. I rely on simultaneous contrast of colors to pull forward and recede areas in the composition. The larger the strokes painted in a dynamic manner, the more interesting the painting. A mix of softer edges will give me the volume I need in certain areas of the painting. This is evident in my painting “The 3 Sisters,” a mix of watercolor washes and pastel completed en plein air.

 

Maria Marino, "The Three Sisters," pastel on UART 320 board, 6 x 9 in. Sold. Painted en plein air at Solomons Island, MD event.

Maria Marino, “The Three Sisters,” pastel on UART 320 board, 6 x 9 in. Sold. Painted en plein air at Solomons Island, MD event.

 

Working with LaCarte I use a completely different approach since the finish is comprised of a finely ground natural cork on heavy cardstock. This paper cannot take a water application and I rely on a different process to complete a painting.

 

Maria Marino, "The Breath of Spring," 2015, pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 24 x 31 in. Sold. Painted from a photo of a view of an artist’s atelier located in the rear of Hotel Baudy-Giverny.

Maria Marino, “The Breath of Spring,” 2015, pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 24 x 31 in. Sold. Painted from a photo of a view of an artist’s atelier located in the rear of Hotel Baudy-Giverny.

 

The composition is drawn in using a charcoal pencil and I begin by massing in the dark areas and establishing the highlights early on. I will work to develop the light scheme within those parameters. From there I explore the use of different colors, relying on temperature and value to bind the composition together.

 

Maria Marino, "Morning at Blue Bridges Cumberland, MD," pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 12 x 16 in. Sold.

Maria Marino, “Morning at Blue Bridges Cumberland, MD,” pastel over watercolor on UART 320 board, 12 x 16 in. Sold. Painted at a plein air event landmark – Blue Bridges in Cumberland MD.

 

The studio painting “A Winters Passage” illustrates this approach. Even though this was painted from a photo I wanted to express the icy feeling of that winter’s day in Chadds Ford, PA. That lone sycamore tree was bathed in beautiful light that particular early afternoon during a visit to the museum. The tree is the focal point and the most important element in the painting. The range of blues used in this painting was sourced from my Sennelier, Terry Ludwig and Unison stock.

 

Maria Marino, "A Winters Passage," pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 24 x 3 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a scene located in the Brandywine Valley, PA.

Maria Marino, “A Winters Passage,” pastel on Sennelier LaCarte paper, 24 x 3 in. Available. Painted from a photo of a scene located in the Brandywine Valley, PA.

 

Multimedia Artboard is altogether a different surface and comprised of paper pulp and thermal set epoxy resin. It is lightweight and great for using watercolor wash underpainting without buckling or warping. “Summer Light Reflections”, a small 6 x 6 inch painting, is a great example of the buildup of pastel achieved on this surface. Working on such a small footprint, the texture suggests the form without slavishly copying every detail. Keeping those darks semi-transparent and lights opaque give the painting the uniformity it needs. It also lends itself well to the application of a grit primer and well suited for plein air studies! It’s such a great size to record those fleeting moments of light in the plein air environment.

 

Maria Marino, "Summer Light Reflections," pastel on Multimedia Board, 6 x 6 in. Sold. Painted from a photo of a view of William Paca House Gardens, Annapolis, MD. (abstract microcosm)

Maria Marino, “Summer Light Reflections,” pastel on Multimedia Board, 6 x 6 in. Sold. Painted from a photo of a view of William Paca House Gardens, Annapolis, MD. (abstract microcosm)

 

I have to admit there is no other medium like pastel! Its versatility, from creating beautiful drawings to paintings that are full of impasto and explosive color, is unmatched. Truly they are my sticks of joy and I hope that my paintings express my emotional response to the landscape.

 

Maria Marino, "Hell's Kitchen Fury," pastel on archival board, 24 x 18 in. Sold.

Maria Marino, “Hell’s Kitchen Fury,” pastel on archival board, 24 x 18 in. Sold.

*****

 

Thanks so much Maria for being a guest here on HowToPastel.com!! I just LOVE all those thick pastel marks! I think they are brave and dynamic.

Maria and I would love to know what you think of this blog post so please leave a comment with a thought or any questions.

Don’t be shy. I LOVE hearing from you!

 

Until next time,

~ Gail

 

25 thoughts on “Maria Marino – Responding Emotionally To The Landscape

  1. Sandi Graham

    Fantastic work! Interesting to view and when you zoom in to see the marks and colors used to create her paintings!Wow ! Almost pointillist except the marks are varied in size ,shape and thickness. I would love to know how they are framed to preserve the layers of thick pastel .
    Thanks for giving us a chance to see Maria’s wonderful work.

    Reply
  2. Cynthia Fox

    This is an excellent post. I really love hearing about Maria’s approach to the different papers she uses, and her use the pastels for the beautiful texture and strokes she achieves. Her beautiful strong colors and style always speak volumes for her work.
    Gail, I always enjoy reading and seeing all of your posts and demos. You have an excellent eye for art and your descriptions of artworks often make me take a second or third look at the artists and their paintings that you speak about in your blogs.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Glad you enjoyed Maria’s post Cynthia! I was quite surprised at the variety of papers she uses as artists do have a tendency to find a couple of brands they like and stick to them. Each paper gives a different effect and using different papers can stir things up for you. If you’re feeling uninspired, mix it up!!

      And thanks for your kind words Cynthia. They help motivate me to keep going!!

      Reply
  3. David Wells

    Gail,

    What a stunning selection of works. The colour contrasts and texture are just wonderful to behold.
    I particularly like Giverny’s Lucie where Maria’s understanding and appreciation of textiles really shine through. Thanks so much

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Glad you enjoyed them David. And yes, what a good point you make about Maria’s texture background coming through in that painting!

      Reply
  4. Amy Szwaya

    I agree with so many of her comments: pastel is a relatively unexplored medium; each brand has it’s own unique qualities. Appreciated her insight to this. Love her work! Pastel is an old, but new, exciting medium!

    Reply
  5. Maria Marino

    I can’t thank you enough for your kindness and support!

    Regarding framing thicker applications of pastel I typically thump the back of the painting several times to remove the loose pieces when finished. I rarely frame my paintings with mats and prefer using spacers with the chosen frame. I can say there have been paintings with much less impasto that have been damaged by the shipper and several with more impasto that traveled overseas and returned in perfect condition!

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      You are so welcome Connie. It was indeed my pleasure!!
      I know Maria is offering a workshop in New York.. And yes, it would be wonderful to learn, in person, how she creates her textured work!

      Reply
  6. ute

    I loved this post from Maria having been blown away with her use of bright colour and mark making. To have her comment on her technique as well is very precious and generous. Thanks to Maria and Gail.

    Reply
  7. Tina

    I know a pastel artist who places the glass right onto the painting without spacers. Did you ever try this and what are your thoughts about it?

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      I myself am against putting work directly against glass after a conversation with a conservationist at the Getty Museum. Perhaps Maria will share her views on this question?

      Reply
      1. Maria Marino

        Agree with Gail. Michael Skalka, Conservation Administrator – ‎National Gallery of Art, and I have discussed the aforementioned framing option and he advises not to place work against the museum glass or museum acrylic.

        Reply
  8. ChrisD

    Late to the party again… I can’t help admiring how artists get so many vibrant colours into their pictures….if I tried it, I would make a real mess! 🙂 The blues here seem especially stunning….and that last one on black is a knock-out. What I noticed especially was the small size of many of Maria’s works….proving once again how small can be very beautiful and you don’t need to create a large work to be impressive.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Chris, late is ALWAYS better than never turning up! 😀
      Thanks for chiming in with your reaction to Maria’s work. Love that you point out the size of some of Maria’s pieces and that even though they are small, they make a powerful impression!

      Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Stunned and speechless indeed!! Laurel, keep painting and keep dreaming. And then paint again…and again. You’ll get there and the journey will be something worth taking!

      Reply

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