May 7, 2012

The Artist Nancy Marlatt

Do you remember, on that old show Northern Exposure, how everyone was an expert at something?  How they were making films and created world-class cuisine and so on?  How worldly they were?  Well, I feel like I’m surrounded by that as well.

My friend Nancy Marlatt is an artist.  Not for her day job, but as an avocation.  (Well, her day job requires lots of creativity.) She, like many of us, got derailed from a degree in what we love but then came back to it later in life.  She’s originally from Colorado and now works in public relations here at UW. She creates these amazing watercolors. 

We were talking about how different media require different mindsets, and watercolor is one that you don’t lay on the white but rather paint around it.  It’s quite a different approach than to, say, oils.  You can’t just paint a background and then paint white in places on top. No, you have to have an awareness from the very beginning about where the white is, therefore where the light is, and paint around it.  It creates this unusual awareness of light in general that is peculiar to watercolorists.  And the paint itself is so vibrant and light, it’s as if you’re applying liquid light to the paper.

It's like poetry, really.

So, enough of me blathering on.  The real treat, and what you’ve been waiting for, is her art.  You rock, Nancy!


Melospiza said...

I love these.

And yes, I do remember that about Northern Exposure--maybe that was one of the things that made it so magical (even though that seems to be a trope of TV and movies generally. Characters are rarely something so dull as a midlevel acquisitions manager or a database technician. No, they're architects! Or TV news anchors! Or Novelists, because that is SO a profession! Normally I find it irritating and reality-denying, but I liked it in Northern Exposure. Maybe because these same people had actual jobs that were normal, mostly.)

Tamara said...

Aren't they lovely?

I totally understand where you're coming from! It becomes unbelievable and cartoonish. Yet I loved the fact that it countered the prevailing notion that people in the boonies are hicks and totally uncultured. That has not been my experience, and so it was a refreshing difference.

And I love that you say they were normal, mostly! I agree. :-)