Somojo Magazine

Marilyn Green

How did you discover your talent for art?
It was just taken for granted in our family - my father and grandfather both were painters.

What or who inspired you to paint/draw in the first place?

I was handed a stretched canvas and oils when I was about six and drawing pads from about age four.

Dawn Juggler by Marilyn Green
Dawn Juggler

What do you think is the most important influence in your art?

My spiritual life or dream life, where the figures come through.

Where do you do your work?
I have a carriage house behind my home in Long island and I work there.

Do you work from life, from photographs or from imagination? 
It's a combination of life and imagination or something like that. I do a lot of sketching of people, animals , plants, etc., but I usually don't use them directly in my work. I have a flow of images coming through my mind constantly - I couldn't paint fast enough to keep up with them under any circumstances, but once I have the images down, I may need to go and draw from life to see exactly how a particular position would look. But I may distort it deliberately later.

What are you currently working on?
I'm working on the final image for a show called "People and Animals" that will be exhibited at Trinity Wall Street's Parlor Gallery in Manhattan in October.

Do you have any new projects planned?
Yes, I'm considering ideas for personifications of rivers.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
That's really difficult to answer. The subject, but it's a close race.

What techniques do you use?
I paint with glazes, very thin layers of paint that build up rich color and shading, and then a sort of stained glass outline. When I paint on shaped plywood, I draw the figure, cut the wood, sand it several times, gesso it and fine sand it twice and then use the same oil glazes.


What are your favourite materials to work with? 
See above, although I have worked with film animation, hand pulled graphics, batik and ceramics.

Do you concentrate mostly on content or technique in your work?
Content. The technique is refined to create the content.

Do you work certain hours each day or only when you are inspired?
I work every day, very early, and as much as I can at other times. Inspiration is seldom an issue - trying to keep up with my ideas is the problem. So many pass by while I'm finishing an earlier one.

Where do you feel your art is going?
I feel it's getting stronger, more concentrated, clearer in style.

What do you think the role of the artist is in society and do you think that role is changing with the advances of technology?
I think the role of the artist is to open up life to others, to offer a vision. I see technology making art more accessible, just as it did for music (CDs)  and film (DVDs).

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
Neither. Perfection, if it exists, is a dead stop, so far as I'm concerned; it doesn't leave room for change or growth. And all technique is expressive of something - the issue is what technique is suitable to empower what you want to convey. I find technique as an end dead and repulsive in any art. I'd rather hear a faulty musical performance that was full of life and content than one that makes no technical mistakes and has no depth, passion or soul. I feel the same way about visual arts. Of course, what I really want is both: marvelous technique and powerful content.

What is your favourite period in art history?
I love medieval illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance and Baroque art and the 20th century.

Who are your favourite artists?
Gauguin, Ann McCoy,, Rembrandt's non-commissioned work, Chagall, William Blake, Picasso, Odilon Redon and on and on.

What is your favourite painting/piece of art and why?
So many, but Conversations with Angels by New York artist Ann McCoy, because it is a radiant installation that allows the viewer to fly, because it it one of the purest examples I have ever seen of technique being innovated in order to illuminate (literally) content, and because its intent to heal wounds is so magnificently successful.

How do your market and promote your work?
I sell in shows, through galleries, on the Internet and through past clients. I give talks, get my work out there as much a I can, work with consultants on promotion and create a body of variously priced work for different budgets. I have a professionally created website, blog, advertise, participate in artists' groups, approach companies for commissioned work, etc. I keep a close eye on contests, grants, residencies and calls for art, ad have benefitted from all these.

Have you held any exhibitions?
Yes, both group and one-man.

Do you use any online services like ‘’, ‘redbubble’ or ‘cafepress’?


Do you think the internet has changed people’s appreciation of art by making it more accessible?

What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to take up painting or drawing?
Learn all you can from others, but develop your own voice.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Can't think of anything.

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