Marlene believes that making art is an enjoyable life-long learning activity. She works mainly in acrylic, pastel and watercolour, sometimes combined, creating personal interpretations and impressions of the world around her. She enjoys walking the land experiencing nature firsthand, making sketches, taking reference photos and when possible plein air painting. Her artwork often consists of reoccurring themes which may become ongoing series, developing over time. She frequently creates a unique painting style to help tell the story of each series and sometimes holds onto these artworks for continued inspiration and exploration. Because of this, Marlene’s techniques are varied and over the years she has refined a number of signature styles which she continues to work in.
Marlene’s exhibition titled Changing Lands features a collection of acrylic paintings emphasising the changes taking place in the Okanagan natural grasslands by focusing on the development of Lake Country’s Spion Kop Mountain, while highlighting the beauty and vulnerability of our natural landscapes.
“In 2000 I started walking, recording and painting the foothills and natural vegetation of Lake Country’s Spion Kop Mountain, unaware of the changes that would soon take place. In 2005 the mountain began to be carved up with plans for a 1000+ house subdivision. Since then, I have been regularly photographing the natural vegetation and wild flowers before they are gone forever. Scenes of these natural grasslands overlooking Okanagan Lake are the major subject of these paintings. I also developed a new painting technique for this series in an attempt to better tell its story. Recognizing the grassland’s fragility and vulnerability I apply the paint with a palette knife using broken colour over a coloured underpainting. In a loose impressionistic style, I attempt to capture the essence of the land with its disappearing grace and beauty. Sections of the image may also appear to slightly fade away into the underpainting, describing the scenes as fleeting. “
Marlene McPherson was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada into an ethnic Mennonite family. Raised in the faith with a deep appreciation for music and respect for the land has all influenced her creative journey. Desiring to be a visual artist from a young age was foreign to her Mennonite heritage and Marlene is the first practicing artist in her known family history spanning 100’s of years. Marlene considers making art to be an enjoyable, life-long, learning activity. As a child she studied classical piano with the Royal Conservatory Program but drawing was her favored activity. Later as a preteen Marlene’s family moved to Abbotsford, BC where Marlene had an opportunity to regularly visit a neighbor’s art studio, Mr. Janzen, and spent many hours quietly watching him paint. She attributes this unique experience to help strengthen her commitment to become a practicing artist. Marlene began her formal studies during her teen years with Abbotsford artist Gladys Murray and later enrolled in the fine arts program at the University College of the Fraser Valley leading to a business background in commercial and graphic art in the Fraser Valley.
In 1992, Marlene moved to the Okanagan with her young family. Soon after, she founded M.G.M. Fine Art Studios, offering fine art instruction to children, teens and adults. Discovering a passion for encouraging others to also explore their creativity, Marlene developed a unique teaching style and curriculum. She has also been an instructor with the City of Kelowna, Lake Country and Kelowna Public Art Galleries and led many workshops for schools and artist groups. Her art programs are accepted by the Province of British Columbia as an excellent alternative to the BC Provincial Art Curriculum. In 2008, Marlene was nominated for the ‘Teacher of the Year’ Okanagan Art Award recognizing her teaching contribution in the Fine Arts and in 2010 her business, M.G.M. Fine Art Studios, was nominated for the ‘Creativity in Business Award’ through the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce. Marlene is involved in the art community and holds memberships in local public galleries and art groups and each year she enters a number of juried competitions. Marlene has held active status with the Federation of Canadian Artists since 1998 and exhibits regularly at Artwalk in Lake Country, at the Lake Country Public Art Gallery, Vernon Public Art Gallery, the Central and North Okanagan F.C.A. Chapters Juried Exhibitions, and on occasion at the Federation of Canadian Artists’ Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC. Her artwork is in the permanent collection of the District of Lake Country as well as being featured in C.E. Krueger’s book, Beauty is… A Collection of Okanagan Art.
Marlene G. McPherson