Marisa Mary Myrah was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and studied Fine Arts at Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver, graduating in 1990. She completed a Post-Baccalaureate in Painting at the Cyprus College of Art in Paphos, Cyprus in 1994. She has had a number of solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, USA in 2000 and at the Fundación Valparaíso in Mojácar, Spain in 2002. She works and lives in North Vancouver B.C. with her partner Rob, their two children and their two dogs.
These artworks are from a series called, “on the edge of where I live” which describes a section of land adjacent to where I live in Lynn Valley that is slated for development. It is a pristine area of old growth forest within a residential area, so unique that I want to document and describe this landscape through my art before it is gone. As an artist, nature is my refuge and when painting I’m relaying the experience of being in that landscape. Creating a sense of sublime or awe is what we expect historically from the landscape, however there is a desire to move the conversation forward to do something different and challenge what we expect of it. I am interested in a space that is about to fall apart, in varying states of agitation. The overgrown patches of land that are easily overlooked and the idea that the shadows and undergrowth may harbour a hidden menace or other secrets, provide an alternate experience of the landscape than the conventional picturesque viewpoint.
What initially drew you to your medium/media of choice?
I started out painting with acrylics in my first year at art school. I found the paint dried too fast for me, so I switched to oils. Best decision, as the texture and lushness I get from oils cannot be beat. I also work in watercolors, which is great when I am working out a composition or actually in the forest painting.
What aspect of your art do you hope really comes across to your audience?
Mood for one thing is important. As well, I’d like the viewer to see the landscape in a different way than say, the conventional picturesque landscape painting. I love looking at areas that are overgrown, the shadows, the ghostly bits even that offer an experience of the landscape that can be easily overlooked.
Who inspires you in your life, whether it be artistically or otherwise?
Family and friends, absolutely. Support and encouragement from other artists can be very powerful as well.
What keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find that creative drive?
The creative drive is just there, always. It’s more than a need; it’s part of who I am. When you feel let down or are struggling, and a painting isn’t going well; these times can be tough. There are lots of hurdles being an artist and we have to keep leaping to the other side and press on.
Tell us about your primary goal for the future. Has this goal changed over time?
I think many artists want their work to be seen or be heard and to share with an audience. I’m working towards showing my paintings more and also stay active in the art community. My goal with my work right now is to expand on this body of work I have been creating for the last year, as I honestly feel it’s the best work I’ve made.