Monday, March 02, 2015

2015 solo show

Marci Oleszkiewicz 2015 solo show

Gallery Russia
Opening night March 12

Please visit my newly renovated website to see the new works for this show

Saturday, March 08, 2014

2014 Show at Gallery Russia

Stop by my show at Gallery Russia, March 13-30, 2014 in Scottsdale, AZ

Sunday, March 03, 2013

March 7 – 21
15+ New Works
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 7, 7-9 pm

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

American Impressionist Society Show

Red Ribbon

            Here is my painting from the AIS show this year.  I had a chance to drive out to the Eckert and Ross Fine Art Gallery in Indianapolis to see the opening last Thursday.  It was a wonderful collection of fantastic painting. I'm so glad to have made the drive to the opening night as I was lucky enough to meet the delightful couple who purchased my painting that night. Its always wonderful to hear the impact your painting has on someone else. It is what drives me to continue to paint what I love and what is near and dear to me. I believe that is what resonates with others, when you paint from your heart it will connect in some way with others. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oil Painters of America 2012 Eastern Regional Show

Opening Night September 29th 5-8pm

Bennington Center for the Arts
Vermont Route 9 at Gypsy Lane
P.O. Box 260
Bennington, Vermont O5201
September 29 - October 28, 2012

Aubrey's Red Flower 12x9
 I am so excited and honored to be a part of this year's eastern regional show. I wish I could be there for the opening weekend, sounds like its going to be a wonderful time. If you are in the area please stop by to see all of the amazing paintings.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Alphonse Mucha

Mucha Self Portrait 1899

Recently I took a road trip with my husband to Cedar Rapids, IA to see the Alphonse Mucha show at the National Czech and Slovak Museum . I wasn't sure what to expect at the exhibit, would it be worth the drive or not.  I have been a fan of Mucha's work since the first time I saw any of it in print so we had to take the risk and go see it. The entire Art Nouveau movement has been an inspiration for me. Maybe it is the elegance and flowing lines, the organic quality that I love so much, the abstraction and design just excites my creative juices. 

The Lady of the Camellias

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon but decided to wait until Sunday morning to see the show. We planned to get there when they opened so we could avoid the crowds and take out time in the exhibit.

I'd say the exhibit was rather large and yes we did avoid the crowds. Getting there right when they opened was key, although it never did get nearly as busy as the special exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago often does. I was struck right away by the first painting in the exhibit, A self portrait done in 1899. Wow the prints you see of this painting do not do it justice. The colors were amazing,  so vibrant and subtle at the same time. I spent probably a good 5 to 10 minutes gazing at this painting in amazement. I was definitely psyched to see the rest of the exhibit. My husband likes to read everything in these exhibits, while I scan most of it and get right to the images, I passed him up rather quickly but got stuck for several minutes or so at each image, photograph and drawing they had.

Zodiac - 1896
The exhibit was broken down into sections of his life, early schooling and painting, beginnings of his art nouveau style, leanings toward his Slovak nationality, his famed posters, his Slav epic paintings, and steined glass work.  Although they did not have the original Slav epic paintings, they had several studies he did for the work which were great to see the process he went through. You will need to go to Prague to see the original painting.

I loved seeing the contrast of Mucha's early paintings and the color palette he used, it was rather dark compared to his famed posters and their vibrant intense colors.

Several times my husband, being a graphic designer, pointed out the beautiful line quality and designs of large and small shapes, areas for your eyes to rest in and areas of extreme detail in which you want to linger and discover.  He loves looking at those qualities in a work of art and I am always learning from his insights.

I can't say any one image that was my favorite in this exhibit, it was just exhilarating to see some of Mucha's work right up close. I would say that I was especially delighted to see some of his work that I have never seen before, more specifically his paintings of little girls with typical Czech apparel. Perhaps its because of what I am doing in my own work right now with my Polish themed paintings, in any case they were a delight. His overall colors were also fascinating, so vibrant and alive. Perhaps like most paintings you see in print they do not compare in any way to seeing the work in person.

Women with a burning candle  1933

One particular fun surprise in the exhibit was photographs Mucha actually took for references to work from. It was like looking at his sketch book, getting right into his head.  Sometimes I think these are the best ways to really see what the artist was thinking, how they work out an idea, you learn so much. It was also very interesting to see the interior of Mucha's studio in these photos as well as several of his artists friends included Paul Gauguin. The photos themselves were pretty amazing,  as much as I love having digital images in this day and age, they do not compare to that old black and white print photography.

One important thing I walked away with after seeing the show is how what we do as artists can speak to others in a deep way. Many of Mucha's works were speaking out about the trials of the Czech people and their history, he was deeply drawn to his nationality and wanted to give a voice to them. He created works that spoke from his heart and he wanted to give the people, all people, access to real art and so birthed many of his Art Nouvaeu designs and objects. He embraced what he was called to do, what his passion was and many were touched and delighted to take part in the gift that he so willingly shared.

In closing it was worth the somewhat short drive from Chicago to see the show and would recommend any other Mucha fans to take the trip. You will be inspired and energized to create the work that touches your own heart and speaks to you.

Monday, June 25, 2012

William Merritt Chase

The Blue Kimono
Another one of my earlier inspiration came when I happened upon a book of works by William Merritt Chase. He was an incredible figure painter as well as landscape, interiors and all of the above. I was especially drawn to his figure work and specifically some of the asian inspired works. There are several of his paintings with a women in a kimono or asian inspired background. I love the idea of a three dimensional figure along side a flat two dimensional pattern of fabric or wallpaper background. Maybe because it makes the figure that much more dimensional and interesting against something we know to be flat. As artist we are constantly trying to paint the idea of three dimension on our flat service and that juxtaposition enhances what we are trying to say. 

Back of a nude 1888

There is also the beauty of what might be considered the colorless or at least less colorful quality of the human figure under a specific light source and the more vibrant colors of a piece of fabric or background that just makes the figure sing. I am certainly drawn to that idea. I really do love color and anytime I get a chance to put in a vibrant blue or rich red I'm all over it. 

At the same time, as much as I enjoy color and putting in those vibrant patches whenever possible in my own work, there is an elegance and softness in keeping colors much more muted and understated that I am drawn to as well. An example of this in Chase's work is yet another one of my favorite images in the book. The painting Meditation is a pastel painting in beautiful grays. The subtlety is stunning, the composition is beautiful, the dark light pattern is so captivating it is definitely a piece that inspires me and encouraged me to explore this idea of a more subdued color palette in some of my work.
Portrait of Miss E. 1892

Another example of this simple color palette with a slightly more dramatic punch of color is in his painting Portrait of Miss E. 1892.  I've also used this palette in my own work whether consciously or unconsciously inspired by this piece and other works by Chase. The design of this painting is so captivating to me. If you squint down at it to where everything is so simplified, you will see nothing less then visual poetry. You can not go wrong I think with a mostly dark painting along with small shapes of light placed just so, and then incorporating mostly subdued colors with one punch of a more vibrant color. Just stunning to say the least. Less is more as the saying goes and I believe it certainly is true in this case.
Portrait of a Lady

So to touch upon the idea of inspiration and getting out of the artist “Funk” or to shake things up a bit in your own work so as to keep the creative juices going and growing, I suggest, pulling out one of your favorite art books. Browse through the pages and find one image that grabs you. Ask yourself what is it about this image that touches me, that speaks to me. It may be the abstract quality, it may be the color palette or design, perhaps the subject is what grabs you. Take your answers and turn it into your own work. In the end,  your painting may be something quit similar to the inspiration piece or something totally different and yet was birthed from the inspiration, Whatever it is, just go for it, challenge yourself, be inspired by these great artist who have come before us and learn from them. They have a lot to teach us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another artist that inspires, Robert Heindel

Several years ago I came across a fabulous little book that truly inspired me. On the cover is a mult- figure piece in an orange and blue color palette. A beautiful image of ballerinas. Their instructor or perhaps, and more likely a choreographer stands in the midst of them explaining some steps or emotion they are to convey in their dancing. It is a horizontal image, with most dancers blending into the background, not fully rendered, and all but one focusing their attention on this single choreographer. This one dancer facing us, her head turned upward, appears lost in her own world, perhaps dreaming of what it will be like for her to be dancing on the stage before an audience. 

I can't remember where I came across this little book, but I was immediately captured by the subject, at the time I was in ballet classes myself and have always been moved by the beauty of the ballet. I was even more compelled to own this book as I saw such power in the true beauty of the abstraction and design on the images in the following pages.

The artist whose work was in the pages of this small book is Robert Heindel. This was my first exposure to Heindel's work and wow I just fell in love with it. I love the realism combined with abstraction and design, so many beautiful lost edges, value and color pattern. There is so much feeling in his work, its just amazing. Heindel was an illustrator for many years before turning to doing work for himself and becoming a gallery painter. In this little book he talks about the freedom he was experiencing in not having to please a client and having all those deadlines. He mentions how being free from that pressure had helped him grow as an artist. Heindel passed away in 2005 at the age of 67 but his work and voice live on in his amazing paintings and illustrations.

All of the paintings, drawing and pastels reproduced in this book were inspired from his work with the Royal Ballet Company and several other ballet companies he worked with. You can really tell how familiar he was with the ballet and the drawing of human anatomy, you can feel the strength of his subjects, the weight and strain of muscles the dancers have and yet they are full of elegance and grace. He talked about how he was not as much interested in the technique and getting everything dead on correct but rather being more interested in the emotion and feeling of the piece. However, without a doubt you can see his knowledge of drawing and anatomy coming through each piece. 

I believe this was the first “Art book” I ever owned and it is a constant inspiration to me, the images are full of life, emotion, movement and strength, all of I which I aspire to emulate in my own work. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Norman Rockwell

Going along with my previous post regarding getting out of the artist "Funk", one of the ways I've found to jolt myself out of it is by taking one of my many art books off the shelf and allow myself to get lost within its pages.

Today I decided to pull out one of my many Norman Rockwell books. What an inspiration for capturing scenes of everyday life and those special moments that tug at our hearts. About a year or so ago I read an autobiography of Rockwell, titled Norman Rockwell my adventures as an illustrator. I could not put the book down, it was very humorous in the way that he wrote it and much like his paintings, you felt as if you wanted to be a part of his world. Although some have criticised Rockwell for not being a "real" painter and only an illustrator, I believe he was a great communicator, inventor, story teller,  visionary and yes a great painter.  Really someone who could capture a feeling, idea, an aspect of humanity and communicate it so clearly and beautifully.

                                                    Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera

I enjoyed reading about his process of paintings and seeing some of the photos he worked from in some of these books. If he needed an image of say a child running for example, he would prop their feet up with books to look as though he or she was running. If it was a girl he would tie her braids up to look as if they were blowing in the wind. Then he would put himself in that position and animate the action himself so that his little model could see and feel at ease about posing in such a ridiculous pose. I learned a lot from reading his biography especially since I work with children so much.

                                             Norman Rockwel my adventures as an illustrator

When he found a great character to use as one of his models he would use them over and over again until they moved out of town or the Evening Post would nag at  him "enough is enough", and then he would disguise that favorite model somehow to keep using them. the secrets out, I've done that myself as well.

Another favorite subject of his was none other then man's best friend, the dog. I guess it adds a certain nostalgia to the paintings, it confirms our need for companionship as humans and just adds to the universal truths Rockwell so often painted. I've not added the trusted dog yet to any of my work but I'm sure it will come about sooner or later.

I love paintings that evoke some sort of emotion or feeling within, something that I can relate to on a deeper level. It may speak to the reality of life, family, friends, good times, bad times, it speaks to the core of who I am.  I can connect with the piece and therefore I am a part of it and I believe the artist has communicated something profound,  not just a surface level but a much deeper level at the core of every human being.  Many artists have done this in a variety of ways, some, dare I say in a much more illustrative way as in Rockwell's work and others in a more painterly way as maybe Sorolla and others like him. I think in either way, if you are able to  speak to the viewer at this deep level you are an artist, a visual communicator and that I believe is a blessed, and amazing gift.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Still in the funk

Having had to prepare for a show once a year for the past few year, I've noticed a few things about the creative process that I'd like to share with you.

I'm remembering some time ago when I was not yet in any galleries, just studying like crazy, that the painting process was rather simple. That is, when I was talking classes and going to open studios  it was always rather laid out for me in terms of what I was going to paint that day. The class began, the model showed up and you just started painting. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't quit that simple, you had the teacher's instructions on what you should be learning, your own thoughtfulness before painting and asking yourself all of those previous questions I mentioned in my last post, but there is something decidedly different when you are no longer in a class or just painting in open studios. You begin to find your voice, your purpose as a painter, things become more personal and intuitive. Its no longer just about getting in front of the model, still life or landscape and applying some lesson you had just learned, instead, It becomes more about what I am connecting to when I look at the model, landscape... etc. and putting that on the canvas. Going a step further, when you are setting up your own set ups, choosing your own location to paint at, or choosing whether or not to snap that photo to paint from later, you are starting to pull from your own experiences and drawing upon the core of who you are. I don't know if that makes any sense, but i have noticed this in my own work and especially when I have been working hard to prepare works for a show, it can be exciting and also emotionally draining. My work becomes very personal to me. Coming up with the idea of what to paint and the process of creating that painting, there are so many emotions I go through that when the piece if finally done, I am exhausted and delighted at the same.

I have found also, that once I have finished work for a show or event, it takes me some time to get back in the groove again. I remember other artists used to tell me this when I was still a full time student and I could not quit understand it. Now having painted for more then one show, I fully understand the ups and downs, the high intensity and lazer focused attitude leading up to a show and then the very low,  mountain peak to valley below feeling so many artists go through.  I like to call it being in the funk. It is that creative low, meandering around with no direction, like a fish out of water.  It is not a fun place to be but is definitly a part of the creative process. I think it comes from the deep emotional connection we have as artists to our work, its so personal, we dig down to find that creativity and we critique ourselves so severely sometimes that once we have completed our goal and made it to the top of that mountain there is sure to follow that downward slop of relief, delight, joy, sadness, excitement  and pure exhaustion to say the least. I've tried many things to get out of this funk, the faster the better of course. I give myself freedom to experiment, paint something I wouldn't normally paint, revisit ideas for paintings that I previously abandoned, go paint with friends, visit the art museums and galleries, pay closer attention to life happening around me to stir up the creative juices, read a good book, talk art with friends, talk life with friends.. etc, but I have to say really the best way to get out of the funk is to JUST PAINT.

You have to pick up the brush and go for it. Sometimes those first one or two attempts fail misserably but again its part of the process. Get those bad ones out of the way so the paint can start flowing again and ideas emerge from what we might consider a bad painting and all of a sudden your back in the groove.

So just a word of encouragement to myself and anyone who might find themselves in a creative funk from time to time. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again :)

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The creative journey and the heart of gratitude

The journey of creating a painting can sometimes be a simple one but more often it is a path of decision making and emotional highs and lows that inevitably follow in the process of working things out.  My decision making process will often start with  questions. Questions like, is my idea worth pursuing, what size should it be, how should I approach this painting, do I need to do studies before beginning, do I have enough reference material or do I need to hire more models,  can I see the finished piece in my head or am I just not that excited about it? What is the main point of the idea, what am I saying in this piece, is it about a simple yet profound beauty or are there a few layers of communication going on? These are just a few of the many questions I ask myself.  I need to have clear and often visual answers to these questions before I really begin. Once I start painting, well then there are a million more questions that I need to answer along the way, some come from the painting itself and some come from a much deeper place of self criticism and negative head talk whose only remedy is that of the Holy Spirits truth talk to my soul. I know many understand this negative attitude of self defeat all too well. Thoughts like, I'm not good enough, this painting looks terrible and ugly, I'm not as good as so and so and therefore I should just quit, nothing is working out.... and we can go on and on having our own little self pity party. The problem is, nothing good can come from those lies. So the painting can sit there unfinished and untouched for days while we stare at it paralized by our own fear of failure and perfectionism. The remedy, I believe, is to stop comparing ourselves to others and give thanks for what we have been given, maintain a teachable heart to grow and learn and more practically speaking, put some paint on the brush and go for it. Thankfully once this negative attitude is overcome, for the moment, paint can begin to flow and the painting comes to life and something beautiful drips from our brush again. Hours, days sometimes weeks later, whoa la the painting is complete and we then have the occasion to smile and wonder, how in the world did we do that. Then once again, give thanks to our own creator for giving us a portion of his creativity to reflect his beauty in paint.  With a heart of gratitude, no telling what might come bursting off that canvas.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Solo Show at Gallery Russia

After the Performance 36x48
March 8th - March 22nd
Gallery Russia
7103 E. Main St.
Scottsdale, AZ

Opening March 8th 7-9pm

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winner of the Gold Medal at the Palette and Chisel Annual Gold Medal Show.

I am delighted to announce my painting "Young Ladies in Gold" received the Gold Medal at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts annual Gold medal show.  This show has an amazing history at the Palette and displays the best oil paintings and sculptures by its members each year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New paintings

A few new paintings sent off to Gallery Russia for the winter.

 "Kasia's Bluebells" I worked on this one for my video demonstration. Which by the way I am still working on. So sad that its taking a while to finish up. 
 "Mama's little girl" I really enjoyed painting this one. Love the dark/light pattern and color harmony.
"Bearded Man" This one was done in an open studio session. I think one of the funnest things to paint is men with beards. The contract of very dynamic and bold features along with the soft flowing edges of the beard, just works. One of my favorites for sure.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Lasting Impressions Hurricane Relief Art Sale

This event has been organized to assist the communities of Schoharie Valley in upstate New York, which were devastated this past August by flooding from Hurricane Irene. New York artist Jon Sastko witnessed this great need first-hand, and with the help of many, has put together this online art sale and its proceeds will benefit Hurricane Irene flood victims from Jon's community in Schoharie Valley, New York.

Visit for more information and to view the wonderful works being made available.  Participating artists include Daniel Keys, Kathy Anderson, Marci Oleszkiewicz, Taaron Parsons, Eric Suchowesky, and Brian Jekel, to name just a few.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New paintings submitted to the Waterhouse Gallery's Great American Figurative show opening November 19th.
10x8 Pink Shawl
24x18 Yellow and Green

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Painting and Golf, the similarities are astounding

You may think I am reading much more then I am painting because of these book posts but believe me I am painting. I squeeze in the books just before going to bed. So hear is another one I highly recommend.

Golfs Sacred Journey ( seven days in Utopia) You may or may not have heard that they have recently come out with a movie about this book. It was hearing about the movie that inspired me writing about the book. I purchased this book some time ago for my Husband ( then fiance) for his birthday. He loves golf and is very good at it. He began teaching me golf when we were just dating, I remember him telling me how it is so much a mind game, how much you have to stay focused. Even then I saw parallels to painting but it wasn't until I read this book that I was convinced.  In a nutshell this book is about a professional golfer who on a very important tournament pretty much failed miserable, from one bad shot it snowballed to a complete disaster, his nerves, emotion, mind got the best of him. He leaves the course ready to quit golf and drives out in the country stumbling upon a make shift golf course owned by an old man who was once himself a professional golfer. This is Utopia and the old man, Johnnie, becomes his teacher, counselor, mentor for seven days in Utopia as he learns about vision, confidence, focus, emotions, and trust. He is stripped down, broken and humbled as he is faced with his fears, doubts, pride and failures. Early in the book the young golfer recognized that he had traded Unconditional love for the love of his pet dog and the conditional love of his performance on the golf course. His life was out of control.  In the book, his teacher, Johnnie  gives him lessons each day in a most unconventional way, the lessons are not only about Golf but about life.  There are lessons about Conviction, Faith, Emotional control, Vision, Truth, Trust and many others.

I just found it so interesting, maybe because I am a painter that I apply everything to painting, but I do believe there are parallels in the emotional control, the trust, the conviction of what I am doing as I paint and to not let a random response from a viewer throw me off of my game. Of course as a painter I found Chapter 5 the most exciting to read because the mentor Johnnie actually uses painting to help teach the young man a lesson in golf. In this lesson he introduced the acronym S.F.T See it, Feel it, Trust it to help him get his game back. "We must paint the shot with our eyes first, before our body can produce it accurately.." As painters we too need to first see the finished painting in our mind before we can reproduce it with our hands.

Though the book is about Golf and for me I see the parallel of playing golf and painting, there is a much deeper thing going on in this book, and that is the state of this professional golfer's soul. Early on in the book this young man recognized that he had traded unconditional love for the love of his pet dog and the conditional love of his performance on the golf course. His life was out of control.  By the end of the book Johnnie is able to speak truth into his life "you have been controlled by your performance in life and the opinions of other. You have lost sight of what it means to live a life of significance. You see, success is a destination while significance is an eternal calling. " Amen to that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Step by Step Process of "Weighing the Oranges" 10x8

Step 1. I blocked in an abstract color wash.

Step 2. I began to add thick layers of paint,  leaving some of the original color wash showing through.

Step 3. In this stage I begin to focus in on areas to finish.

Close up of face and hands, the center of interest.

Finished painting. Some areas have been worked on to a more "finished look" while others maintain the original abstract wash.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art & Fear part 2

Just finished the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Great read for sure and I highly recommend picking up your own copy.  I doubt it will be a book you read and put back on your shelf never to be read again. I underlined way too many things to never find it useful again. It is weird to read a book and feel as if the writer is looking within you and saying exactly what is going on inside. I laughed out loud several times because I was reading about myself, about the exact things that go on inside me and it was describing my very actions. The writers got a lot of things right on, and I must say it was quit comforting to realize that  I am not the only one to have doubts and fears in my work. One of the main points of the book was attempting to answer the question as to why so many artists quit making art. It was scary to see some of the reasons stemming from fear yet it also turned the heat up for me to keep pressing on, to not give way to fear and work hard despite my cycles of drought.

Just a few quotes from the book.

"All that you do will inevitably be flavored with uncertainty- uncertainty about what you have to say, about whether the materials are right, about whether the pieces should be long or short, indeed about whether you'll ever be satisfied with anything you make." pg 19

"The truth is that the piece of art which seems so profoundly right in its finished state may earlier have been only inches or seconds away from total collapse." pg 19

"Artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they get better by learning to work. and by learning from their work. They commit themselves to the work of their heart, and act upon that commitment." pg 28

"If you think good work is somehow synonymous with perfect work, you are headed for big trouble." pg 29

"Most people stop making art when they stop being students." pg 85

"Simply put art that deals with ideas is more interesting then art that deals with technique." pg