Marsha Deane puts a little of herself into each work of art she does. But she leaves it up to the viewer to channel that emotion.
“My paintings are my heart and soul. Knowing that a piece of my work will grace someone’s walls is very gratifying to me,” she said. “I like to allow the viewer to feel the compassion and movement of my work, without spelling it all out. So, I do not paint each wave or each line of the picture. Instead, you let the viewer feel the emotion of the work.”
An exhibit of Ms. Deane’s oil and acrylic paintings will be on display in the gallery area of the Carteret County Public Library in Beaufort through May.
Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. Each of her works will be available for sale and identified with title, media and price.
Ms. Deane considers herself a “contemporary realist,” which to her means seeing art in a simple, “non-photographic” way.
And her favorite subjects are close to home: the vivid and vibrant wildlife and seascapes of the Crystal Coast.
“I paint the beauty that our beautiful coast gives us. We are blessed to live where the beauty surrounds us daily, if we only take time to enjoy God’s creation,” she said. “I love painting birds in flight and fishing for dinner. Our beautiful inland water ways and marshes are also a joy in their simplicity. The media just finds its way into my hands.”
Equally adept at using oil and acrylics, Ms. Deane finds more freedom with oil paint because acrylics dry quicker.
“Oil lends itself to great movement, blending and freedom, while acrylic paint is a bit less flexible, because it dries very quickly,” she said. “I love to use color and heavy paint. Using the pallet knife lets me do so, with a boldness of stroke and color.”
A native of Sheffield, Ala., Ms. Deane’s original intent was to design fabrics and textiles, which led her to enroll at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, Pa., to study textile design.
But life intervened and she left Moore College after just two years.
“Moore was well-respected for that, and fashion illustration and interior design,” Ms. Deane said. “A textile design artist – once hired – could mail the designs to the company from home. That suited me, because I knew marriage was in the near future.
“I got married to John Weirick and we moved away to Harrisburg, Pa., so my college career was ended. But I have studied with artists at Virginia Commonwealth University and North Carolina artists, including Lena Ennis, Heather Sink, Lynne Golitz, Larry Burge, Lou Wilson and others,” she continued.
One new medium Ms. Deane has been working with recently are alcohol inks, which have a ground pigment made into the ink with an alcohol-base liquid.
Alcohol inks must be used on non-porous materials such as glass or metal.
“Alcohol inks are new to me. It is an ink that is alcohol-based. The colors are brilliant and very colorful,” she said. “I very seldom use brushes. Mostly, it is turning and tipping the work to get the right effect with drops of ink placed very carefully. Sometimes I draw on top of the dry ink with various pens. Each painting makes its own way.
“You have to be patient and look to see what is transpiring. Blending different colors is tricky, too, because you can end up with a muddy mess. Less is more. I’m still learning different ways to use it,” she continued.
Now retired and with her children grown, Ms. Deane and her second husband Wayne T. Deane have been married for 23 years and reside in Pine Knoll Shores, where she finds she now has more time to paint.
She recently won the Award of Excellence for her entry in the Art from the Heart competition sponsored by the Carteret County Art Coalition and also won awards at the Carolina Artist Gallery in Morehead City.
“Winning the Art from the Heart award was very exciting because it is a huge show and the judge (Eric McRay) is a respected gallery owner from Raleigh,” she said. “I have won honorable mention twice before in other years, which is still an honor, considering the amount of talent in these shows. There is always at least 300 pieces of art.”
Award-winning works, including “Best Plein,” “Regatta” and “Poppy Garden,” will be included in the Beaufort library exhibit, as well as some of her paintings of the wild ponies of Shackleford Banks.
“Right now I’m working on a commission piece, and it is a challenge,” she said. “Because, not only do you want to please the client, but the challenge is to please yourself with something of which you can be proud. I’ve always seen things differently from others. I also like to mess with paint. You have to get your hands dirty and feel the moment – maybe that’s why I like gardening, too,” she continued.