Marie Witte, Vermont Member Since March 2008 Artist Statement
As a young child in Patras, Greece, Marie Witte could frequently be found drawing with a stick in the sand behind the wall of her white stucco house. After her adoption at five years old by an American family, Marie carried her nascent love of art to her new country, now drawing on the sandy beaches of southern California instead of those of Greece. A trip to the San Diego Museum of Art with her father led to Marie’s discovery of the 19th century French master William Bouguereau, whose soulful and honest portrayals of young women and children continue to inspire Marie’s work today.
As a young adult, Marie studied art and psychology at San Diego State University. There she focused on fashion design and illustration, while also taking courses in life drawing. Much of her initial training in painting came from a self-guided study of old master painters in the art museums of San Diego and San Francisco. At the University of California at Berkeley, Marie took course work in art history, with a particular interest in the painting techniques of the masters from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.
After a brief venture into the world of research psychology, Marie resolved to follow her true passion, electing to become a full time artist at the age of 23. While painting portraits on commission, Marie also sold work at galleries throughout California. Today Marie’s work can be found in galleries across America.
Some of Marie’s early work continues in the tradition of the sixteenth century Flemish painters, with a luxurious use of muted earth tones, while later works speak of 19th century French and American impressionists, containing the same elements of playful, spontaneous brush strokes in individuated, surprising colors. The sparkling movement of the oceans, the free intensity of the spirit of a child, and the shy beauty of a rural landscape are among the frequented subjects of her work. For the past decade, Marie has developed her oil paintings so that the essential, spiritual nature of her subject is captured by a vibrancy of color and an insightful rendering of light. She continues to paint daily from her current residence in northern Vermont.