In a small studio in a typical Del Ray duplex, artist Mary Louise Marino explores written line drawings, an art form influenced by nature and Japanese calligraphy.
Mary has a degree in graphic design and studied experimental calligraphy and lettering in Switzerland and Japan. Instead of brushes, Mary uses found objects, providing an organic, ancient-styled stroke. The paint she uses is gouache, similar to watercolor paint, but heavier and more opaque.
Grassy implements create delicate, whimsical designs.
In the studio, the house’s second bedroom, Mary keeps things tidy — she says it’s helpful to approach her artwork unencumbered by clutter. Bulk supplies are kept organized in this IKEA wardrobe and also on a bookshelf by the door.
But when she actually starts creating something, she says: “I like to tear the place apart — pulling things from my cabinet and shelves, spreading everything on the floor, scattering things up on my studio table. It’s very liberating.”
This past year Mary has shown her work at Del Ray Artisans (where she’s a member), Falls Church Arts, The Art League’s annual student show, and Gallery West, a national juried show.
Another interesting project she shared reminds us of print-making. First she took a blown-up photo of some Indian tiles.
Then she outlined the tiles onto a special graphite-coated tracing paper and placed the tracing paper over white paper. As she traced over the lines again, the graphite on the opposite side left a mark on the white paper. She then covered over the outline with charcoal.
It took us a few minutes to understand the process, but here she shows the tracing paper (made from the photo) and the finished product. Mary added that this could be replicated with any photograph and graphite tracing paper.
Recently, Mary has been dabbling with color. She originally created these 9-square sets as a way to better understand the relationship between colors, but then she realized they would make beautiful notecards. You can buy them at A Show of Hands in Del Ray.
She also used the paper to transform plain cardboard boxes into works of art .
Mary’s been collecting decorative paper for years — each square individually cut and organized into a box.
Oh, the time and patience it must have required to get these just right…
As we left, Leslie and I both remarked how calm and peaceful Mary’s home and her studio made us feel — echoed in her artwork and personal demeanor. For her next project, Mary says she wants to “go big.” We’re not sure what this means, but we’re definitely looking forward to learning more.
Check back for more about Mary or stay connected by visiting her website.