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Artist's Statement

I have been creative as long as I can remember, and always knew that I would have a career in the arts. I have a love of the landscape, and seek to interpret the feeling of a place in my work. Viewing a scene while riding in a car or train, I will sketch bits and pieces of the voyage and meld them into one final image. I work primarily in oils on either canvas, or most recently on wood panels. I do sketches in watercolors, colored pencil, pastels, or collage. I also incorporate my own photography to work from within the studio. I will often take the sketches and photos and meld them together on the computer to work out a sketch to develop into a painting. My color palette is strong and bright, yet often mysterious. I work in layers of color to achieve a glow in the colors and a blending of subtle shades and hues.

 

As a student of both illustration and fine arts I gained an in-depth knowledge of color, form and design. Painting outdoors along the Seine, in the fields of Tuscany, and the French countryside, I gained an appreciation of the various landscapes. The colors, light, weather, land formations, plant life, and movement of the sky inspire my style. A strong sense of design influences my compositions with movement and creative forms.


I am currently working on a series of paintings from visits to our National Parks. The work includes not only landscapes, but animals, plants, and structures, such as cabins, within the parks. I strive to connect the viewer with my travels and to join my experience from a variety of viewpoints. Some pieces focus on the movement of the land, others on the weather, the sky, or the plant life and animals.

 Having moved to South Carolina three years ago, I am also painting a Carolina Coastal series. From the marshes, the intracoastal waterway, to the ocean, the variety of subjects has sent me on new adventures. The color palette and the sky in this area is unique and I work to bring that to my new series of work. It was with this series that I began experimenting with cold wax and oil paint which brings a more fluid and subtle approach to my palette. I use the cold wax to create glazes of color, and bits of thick color to accent and highlight. My approach to cold wax is not the traditional method of adding and replacing thick paint, but to add color in thin layers. I will see where this new approach takes me as I continue on my artistic journey.


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Follow My Blog

Visit marybellsteffen.blogspot.com to follow works in progress, artful insights, and join the conversation.

Biography

Learn more about my history as an artist by reading my biography.

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Education

BFA in Illustration, with honors

Parsons School of Design

New York

Studied in New York, Paris and Tuscany

 

MA in Fine Arts

Montclair State University
Montclair, New Jersey


MA in Corporate Communications

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Madison, New Jersey

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Affiliations - Past and Present

Member of the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) since 2004

 

Member of the South Carolina Chapter of NAWA since 2010, and currently serving on the Board of Directors as Treasurer.

 

Member of the Art League of Hilton Head since 2020.

 

Member of the Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild since 2020.

 

Former member of Lancaster County Art Association, Lancaster, PA and the New Art Group, Watchung, NJ.

Recent News

I recently had three paintings accepted into a juried exhibition at the Art Museum of Myrtle Beach. This is through the Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild. The show will open on April 29th and continues through May 2021.