Marianne Rice believes we have to get past the resistance we have to our individual callings. “What if Beethoven never tried music, or Rembrandt never tried painting?” Rice spent decades trying all sorts of arts and crafts, everything from pottery to soap making, before even trying oil painting. “I found my artistic calling at the age of 40 and it’s been such a gift.”
On April 5, 2019, Marianne Rice opened her first set of oils. She dabbed her brush into some green, and then painted the spring landscape around her. The paint was richly pigmented, fluid and malleable; she loved everything about it. At that moment she knew she was going to oil paint for the rest of her life. She turned to her children and said, “Your mom is going to be a painter!”
Since then, Marianne has tried many forms of oil painting, finding joy and success in each form, but especially in representational portraits, human forms and still life. Drawing inspiration from her life, old master painters and the work of contemporary painters, Rice is developing her own signature style. After only three years, Rice is being featured in galleries. She feels good about where she’s at and is excited about the future, which includes plans for personal growth as well as plans for the Sparta arts community.
Rice believes that anyone can be an artist. The key is first trying, and then practicing. Rice says that it helps to have an affinity with the art. Marianne relates, “Professional basketball players have to dribble and practice for hours every day. It’s the same with fine art painters; we need to paint for hours a day.”
Marianne explains that with four paints: white, red, yellow and blue, anything can be created. She often uses black instead of blue. “There’s actually a lot of blue in black, and I like the tone I can achieve with it,” she explains. Further, starting with a small palette as opposed to a huge array of colors ensures harmony in the painting.
Rice starts her paintings by covering the canvas in a muted tone, which she creates by mixing a bit of each color that she will use, together. She then paints her subject; perhaps a still life, an outdoor landscape, a posed model or a favorite photograph, marked out in a grid. Unlike most other art forms, mistakes can be wiped away. Oil paints take time to dry; those times vary by color. “Mistakes happen all the time. I am constantly wiping away my painting and starting over until I am happy with what I’m working on,” Rice stated. “I can spend a whole day working on an eye.”
With a background in literature, Rice is a self-taught oil painter. Once she knew that she wanted to be a professional oil painter, she began learning more, by reading lots and lots of books, exploring Instagram and watching YouTube. She began during COVID shutdowns, when many teachers went virtual. “My favorite contemporary oil painters were offering live classes online, sometimes for a fraction of the cost of a live workshop, and then you get lifetime access to the video,” she said. Rice has also found in-person instruction invaluable and is thankful for her time learning with artists Kathie Wheeler and Timothy Rees.
With her children all in school, Marianne can devote her time and energy to painting during the day, with office-like hours. She gets the kids off to school, starts the laundry, answers emails and then heads downstairs, where her husband, Jake, has converted their basement into a spacious art studio for her. Once in her studio, she tries to keep regular hours, to develop her new-found profession with daily discipline. Each day is different and she may find herself reworking a painting, starting a new piece in her developing style, or experimenting with something new.
Marianne has found a sense of permanence in the medium, and enjoys creating a legacy for her family, by painting her loved ones. Marianne finds so much joy in painting that she wants to share it with others, by creating a legacy for the Sparta community. Rice envisions founding an artist community in Sparta, to encourage other aspiring artists to grow and support one another. “Paintings have life; they lay witness to our human existence, and that imbues them
with meaning,” says Rice. “To be moved by a painting is to sense a spirit of familiarity; a shared human experience that returns you briefly to a moment, a place, or a wistful memory. Such images, when brought to mind, move the heart toward emotion, and what is art, if not emotion?”
To view current work, commission a piece, or receive updates on her art and her dreams for the art community, you may reach out to Marianne by phone, or on the web. Studio visits to view paintings are available by appointment.
Marianne Rice is on Instagram: rice_marianne
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