Whether shes working at her Blue Nude Studio overlooking the Animas Valley, or traipsing around outdoors au plein air, Maryellen Morrow brings a singular point of view to her imagery.
Her studio overflows with works in progress, with finished canvases gracing the walls everywhere you look. A visitor is struck by the sheer diversity of her art not just the subject matter, but her choice of colors and treatments.
The paintings represent a virtual history of the past along with ideas that are developing daily, Morrow said.
Asked about the somewhat titillating studio name, she cheerily responds, I love Picasso, and I did a blue nude (stained glass) window for our home. Of course, I love Matisse, too (his painting Blue Nude was a seminal work and started a rivalry with Picasso). I cannot think of any more creative artists than Picasso and Matisse. There are so many wonderful artists, but the two of them never stopped discovering and creating. I try to share that direction, never settling on my laurels but always keeping my imagination on the front burner.
Her inspiration also is drawn from the work around her. One painting might provide an idea for another, But it is also important to paint uniqueness into each work that allows it to stand alone, she said.
After she and her husband settled in Colorado in 1981, he encouraged her to get back to her art, and it was in a masters oil painting class at Fort Lewis College that she first reached beyond representational landscape. She admits, however, that it was her artist-in-residency in Santa Fe last year that truly motivated her to supercharge her career.
She sometimes joins the Four Corner Plein Air Painters in the field but departs from their traditional approach of capturing the landscape as it appears. Instead, she lets her inner self take command.
To be able to narrow down what subject matters most out of all the visuals surrounding me is very challenging, she said.
What Morrow takes away from an outdoor experience morphs into a visual exploration of form and surface, color and light. The resulting imagery evolves through her abstract depiction of boulders and mountains, rivers and trees while the landscapes depth and perspective are subtly layered to create the illusion of space.
The intriguing titles of her paintings are in certain instances as abstract as the work itself. Morrow also explores interconnected visual experiences by creating two- or three-paneled canvases that form a continuous story but also can stand alone in their beauty.
Her work has been seen at the Durango Arts Center and won awards, she also has been in a show at Shy Rabbit in Pagosa Springs. She is represented at a gallery in San Carlos, Mexico, and has been exhibited in Farmington and Santa Fe.
With her credentials growing, collecting her work now would appear to be a good investment. Morrow recently took exhibit space in Durango at Antiques and Art On Main, so if you act quickly, you have a chance to get in on the ground floor, so to speak.
Stew Mosberg is a freelance writer and has written about art regionally and nationally. Reach him at email@example.com.