St. John, Marie – Painter

Artist's Background Information

This is a question and answer session about the artist.

Tell us about how and when you first started painting?

Working in advertising and public relations, I always did my own copywriting and designing for ads and brochures.  I began art lessons in California, when my husband arranged for them.

Did you experience start, stop and restart in your painting career?

After my divorce, I continued studying but eventually put my art endeavors on the back burner, since work became my primary focus.  For more than four years, I served as Advertising Manager for Abbott Scientific Products, a division of Abbott Laboratories. When I left Abbott, I was determined to go into the ad business.
With only a typewriter, drawing board, card table and chair stationed in my bedroom, I launched my efforts.  My outside office was the telephone booth at Farmers’ Market, where I did my cold calling.  One year later, I moved into offices on the other side of the Marina Del Rey.  As an ad boutique, I did very well doing work that major agencies considered a waste of time.  I successfully survived for more than 15 years.  For
several years after that, I  taught writing and grammar.

Tell us about the highlights of your career as an artist?

The high light and letdown as an artist came when our apartment building invited tenants to exhibit their hobbies.  As it  turned out, my parents were visiting me from Chicago.  Of course, they attended the Show.
Much to my dismay, they made no comments about my paintings.  Several weeks later, my dad called me and said, “I was wondering how you could paint like that.  I discussed it with your aunt, and she told me that there were painters in the family centuries ago. You must have a gift.  But I want you to stop painting.  All painters are crazy.”

  What mediums and genres have you tried?  Which ones do you like and which ones are boring?

I prefer to work in acrylics and glaze in oils.  I find oils take too long to dry.

Which mediums and genres are you excited about? Acrylics is definitely my preference. What inspires you the most?

The beauty of what I see is inspirational.  I do not like to portray unhappy sights or persons.

Who is your favorite artist?

Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh are my favorite artists.

Tell me about any procrastination habits?

Procrastination occurs, when I am unable to achieve the effects I want. I then set aside the painting for “tomorrow”.  However, I continue to persevere.

How do you get an idea for your artwork?   What are your thoughts about learning art at this time in your life?   What makes you happiest about your art?

I’m happiest when people come to my home and compliment me on the paintings that hang in every room of my house in art gallery fashion.

Is there a particular time of day you enjoy painting?

I prefer painting in the evenings, with classical music in the background.  

Do you listen to music while photographing?  What type of music?  Do you prefer silence? Classical music. What role does an artist have in society?   What is the best advice you could give to an aspiring artist?

Best advice: if you have a talent or gift for art, don’t let it go under any circumstances.  Continue to develop it against all odds.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?  My art is an expression of myself. Do you collect anything?

I have a large collection of porcelains which were given to me by my writing students in California.

What is the last artwork you purchased?   What is the most important item in your studio or work area?

Having a mini  art studio that’s shared with my writing area is most important to me.  In California, I painted in the garage.

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