Marsha Connell is a Northern California artist known for her evocative collages and her colorist paintings in oil, watercolor, and pastel. Her work has been exhibited widely in solo and group shows and in art and literary publications.
An Adjunct Professor in Santa Rosa Junior College’s Art Department and Associate Seminar Professor in Sonoma State University’s Depth Psychology Program, she has also presented workshops and lectures in many California venues, as well as in Alaska, New Mexico, Oregon, New York, and Mexico.
Selected images from Marsha’s painterly and luminous plein air paintings are now available to a wider audience in elegant limited edition giclée prints. While some of the original paintings are in private collections, many are still available for purchase. The Dream Vessels are available as limited edition color laser collage/prints.
My artwork has two major directions: expressive landscape painting and narrative collage.
My paintings are about the spirit of place. Though my subjects are inspired by my travels near home and abroad, I find some of my most resonant themes in Northern California, where I have lived for over thirty years. Painting on location, en plein air, in oil, watercolor, or pastel, I observe the place: mood, shapes, color, and spatial relationships. I reflect on how the sense of place affects my own interior landscape.
The energetic pleasure of moving brush and paint keeps me from getting distracted by small details. I am attentive to nuances of color and value, but do not require fidelity to local color; expressive color often feels more true. Watching, listening, trusting intuition and gesture, infuse my painterly representation with an abstract sensibility.
I enrich the freshness of the initial exploration with the luminosity that builds from glazing and scumbling layers of color, continuing over time with return visits to a site and more meditative painting in the studio. This can evoke a new place of some mystery to me, a place of the heart.
My newest painting series, “Hats on Broadway,” came out of the last four summers plein air painting on Broadway, the main street of Saratoga Springs, NY at the Saratoga ArtsFest. There I began to paint cottage gardens, and then the riots of flowers on hats and dresses, in shop windows and worn at the famous Saratoga racetrack.
The Dream Vessels collages bring together elements from dreams, of the night and the day. They are story and metaphor, merging images of destruction and healing, of vanitas, the poignant awareness of death in the midst of the beauty and sweetness of life. Begun in 1991 as letters without words to my daughter during the Persian Gulf War, they continue in a series of over one hundred fifteen titles. Color laser xerography transforms them into limited edition collage/prints, enhancing the visual unity.
Investigations in other media keep open channels of creative expression that support connection and meaning-sculpture installations, poetry, working from the body in figurative drawing and bronzes, creative dance and Authentic Movement.