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Marie Johannes has a beautiful studio tucked away in her home hidden from distractions of every day life. A place of beauty and out the window lies a landscape that inspires every stroke in her palette of color and light.
Over the years, Marie has studied just about every art medium and she summed it up “As we tell our story of life, we change and as we change we share our story through our artistry.”
Growing up in Dearborn Michigan, the youngest in the family, Marie was “always interested in the visuals”. Her Mom was a gardner who loved crafting and knitting and Marie became quite the seamstress through High School, even making her own prom dress.
She attended Michigan State and managed to obtain a degree in Interior Design, a field that had very little professional accreditation at the time. When the professor said, “All assignments were to be turned in as watercolor renditions” Marie was instantly taken back, overwhelmed and became catatonic from the experience.
Without mastering the world of watercolors in her field of study she decided to pursue the imperfections of perfection. “I am a perfectionist to a fault” I wanted to learn as much about art as possible so “I set out on a journey of learning.”
Over the years Marie has studied with 50-60 artists and craftsmen to develop a technique and style of her own. She said, “Everything in life leads up to today, It’s the way I see the world.”
Her favorite work by far is landscapes,” One thing I have learned is you have to know what a good painting looks like.” Nature doesn’t always give you the perfect painting, “you have to fill in the blanks from your own knowledge bank.” That is the magic that happens on a canvas.
We talked about Plein Air painting vs Studio work and they both have a different challenges and styles associated with the environment. A studio is a controlled experience without the influence of nature. “There is something romantic about Plein Air painting” that is really beautiful. You are outdoors, you feel it, you breath it and really experience your surroundings. “There is nothing like your wet painting hitting the ground in a wind gust” It can be very humbling.
Several times in our conversation Marie shared her passion and love of the arts in differrent ways. “I like to paint, and I like to study it.” Light, colors, shapes; it all has to come together in a creation. “I really love to teach it!” When you teach you also learn she added. You really have to know it to teach it.
We looked at several pieces in her studio and one in particular that took a tumble in a wind gust. Marie held it up and said, “In the world of quilting there is a saying, Far from good but good from far.” We laughed. It looked pretty good to me. “Sometimes painting is like cooking, you pull out the ingredients and see what it makes”
Marie spends her spare time quilting and golfing and both are cross training for her life passion, “Painting”
Johannes has a collection of her work on display at Cozens Ranch Museum in Fraser through February. Stop in and have a look at the exhibit called “Paintings For You”, a four-part series that captures the natural beauty of Grand County and her travels. The exhibit highlights a masterful range of color and light.