Country roads, mountains, white clouds in blue skies, waterfalls and dainty fabrics spread across wooden tables–these are the serene images featured in the artwork of Marlene Wiedenbaum. A graduate of Queens College, SUNY New Paltz and attended the Arts Students League in NYC, Marlene’s award winning paintings have been exhibited internationally, including at the 2010, 2012 and 2014 International Pastel Artists Invitational in Taipei, Taiwan and the Xian Art Museum, China. As a result, her work is among six International Master Pastelists featured in two text books commissioned by the Taiwanese government and she is an International Honorable Member of the Beijing Pastel Research Academy.
In May 2015, Fine Art Connoisseur featured her exhibit of Hudson Valley Landscapes in their online newsletter, Fine Art Today. Moreover, in 2012, Marlene was selected out of 1500 artists as one of 10 Semi-Finalists for the prestigious Basil H. Alkazzi Excellence in Painting Awards. In 2010, she was awarded a residency at Platte Clove through the The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development and was a featured artist in the November 2010 issue of “Art Times” and the December 2009 issue of “American Artist.” Her painting, “Downriver from Potown,” was also selected by “American Artist Magazine” for their 2011 calendar.
Currently, Marlene teaches pastel classes and plein-air workshops in the Hudson Valley. An award winning Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, she is also an Active Member of such prestigious arts organizations as the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, Audubon Artists Org., NAPPAP, NYPAP and LongReachArts. Her work is in private and public collections throughout the country and is represented in the Tri-State area. Recently, Marlene spoke to the Examiner about her experiences working as an artist:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How and when did you decide to become an artist?
Marlene Wiedenbaum (M.W.): I don’t know that I ever “decided to become an artist,” it’s always been a state of mind that I’ve felt comfortable in, even as a child. Drawing, coloring and a visual world gave me a sense of self. I do remember consciously deciding to pursue my passion and commit to making art in my late twenties.
M.M.: Growing up, which artists/types of art interested you?
M.W.: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, anything representational. Yet, when I started working with pastels, I began to work abstractly and continued for almost ten years. That opened a door of discovery -O’Keeffe, Bonnard, and Morrisot, Monet and all the Impressionists, etc.
M.M.: How would you describe your work and what inspires it?
M.W.: Having worked abstractly, the work is really marks on paper that create shapes and forms.
I am inspired by nature, hoping to engage the viewer to experience the sense of space and place and belonging.
M.M.: How did you go about getting into galleries?
M.W.: I queried galleries that carried work complimentary to mine for their submission procedure, as I continue to do today. I also joined local arts organizations and entered competitions for the support and networking that is so important to any artist.
M.M.: Do you have a favorite piece? If so, which one and why?
M.W.: I couldn’t say that I have a favorite, but there are several that I consider important pieces. Those are paintings that I pushed the envelope, and succeeded. Usually the strongest piece in a series is one that makes the clearest statement. Such a piece would be “On the Edge,” part of my Threads series.
M.M.: What are your mediums of choice?
M.M.: Are there any mediums that you haven’t worked with yet but hope to soon?
M.W.: I worked with clay many years ago, and would like to someday work with it again. I’ve always enjoyed sculpting; I like the contact with my fingers, much like with pastels.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding experience involving your artwork and/or being an artist?
M.W.: That’s hard to say, I feel I have been so fortunate as an artist. What comes to mind is being invited to have my work featured in two textbooks on Pastel Painting, along with master pastelists whose work I greatly admire. It was an honor to be included among them.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an artist?
M.W.: Just do it. Don’t give up if it’s what you really want to be doing.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
M.W.: My newest work is featured at the Belvoir Gallery in Millbrook, N.Y., and I will be teaching a still life class this November, check my website for details. Also, The Audubon Artists have accepted my new work “Free Will II” into the 73rd annual exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in NYC, opening Sunday November 1st, 2015.
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To learn more about Marlene Wiedenbaum visit her official website. To find out about her current exhibition, visit the Belvoir Gallery website.