Marcie Ann Long


I was originally inspired so long ago by color. I adore colors. The emotions of color move me more than words ever could. Georgia O'Keefe and Vincent Van Gogh were my first favorites: they were sent to me on waves of color, each delighting me with their unique view of the world. O'Keefe's canyons, flowers and bones, and those brightly hued skies sang songs of love, as sweet as any siren's song and I knew I had to be a painter.

Born in Alliance, Nebraska, it is the West's big spaces that are ingrained in my consciousness. Many images in my work were born there. Some of the western images have been inspired by the famous photographs of Edward Curtis—I studied English and Native American Studies at UC Berkeley. I have been touched by the imposing grandeur of our native landscape. My vision of the nobility and beauty of the West was presented at the Carnegie Arts Center, September 2000.

Living near San Francisco inspired me in new directions: the influence of Asian art has been huge in my development. I have made it a point to continually visit the many museums up and down the west coast in pursuit of the personal glimpse into the creative realms of many favorite artists: from Hokusai and Hiroshige just as I was starting to paint in the early 1970s, to Masami Teraoka of late, a modern Japanese-born American painter, who mixes it up with multi-cultural icons from his mixed roots, usually in traditional form (much like another icon in my mythology did a century ago, Frieda Kalo). I spent a lot of time in Mendocino looking at and sometimes buying the wood block prints of Toshi Yoshida. I named my graphics business Obi Graphics in salute to the flat rich graduated color of Japanese prints; their intimate viewpoint, and graceful composition.

Robert Arneson was a hero to me, as well as Peter Voulkos, while I was studying raku and pit-fired ceramics with two Sonoma county potters, Joel Bennett and Daniel Oberti in the 80s. Adams, Weston and Cunningham influenced me as I studied photography during this period also. The perfect clarity of the Group f64 improved my compositions, no matter what media. I could go on at length about which great painters have influenced me; like John Singer Sargent once I started painting portraits, or the Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, since I've taken up the practice of plein air painting.

Which brings me back to flowers. And gardens and fields and woods. Back to the tradition of Georgia and Vincent. I love the soft gradations in her work and the wild mixtures of color and brush work in his. Simple compositions, intimate details, repeating shapes; especially interesting in flowers and landscapes.

So now I paint en plein air. And what air I have; the cleanest in California—Lake county. I joined a group, the Konocti Plein Air Painters in 2003, and can't get enough. Though I will travel all over the greater Bay Area to pursue that elusive perfect landscape, we don't have to travel far up here to have lake, mountain, vineyard, marsh, forests or urban scenes (and no traffic). The essence of being in the moment and using all of your resources, for a focused painting, is one of the most exhilarating of enterprises.

As always though, color is paramount, and delicious, like Wayne Thiebaud's desserts, extreme SF hills or Sacramento delta images. His fanciful color, playfulness and expressive lines make him another major artistic influence in my pantheon of favorite painters.

I want to see all the way into the essence: to express with color and brush stroke the feelings flowers and vines, trees and rocks, inspire in me. Inspiration comes from many angles and I aspire to understand and interpret those inspirations, to express a completely personal vision.

Check Marcie's Artists Guild SF Shedule


Marcie Ann Long