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WORKING IN WATERCOLOR

The water runs down

Painter Marie Siegrist discovered her medium at an early age

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“One of my earliest recollections (probably age 4) of painting was when my parents gave me a little pail of water and a paintbrush and asked me to paint the garage,” Las Cruces artist Marie Siegrist said during an August interview.

“I painted the boards as high as my arms could reach with the brush dunked in water and I delighted in the pattern the water made as it ran down the brown paint of the garage,” Siegrist said. “Painting has been a passion ever since.”

And, is it any wonder her favorite medium as an accomplished artist is watercolor?

“It’s spontaneous,” Siegrist said, allowing for both “loose” and very detailed work in the same painting. She also works in acrylics – mostly on paper but occasionally on canvas – and with mixed media.

Siegrist is a member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society (NMWS). Her work has shown in local galleries and will be displayed in a solo exhibition in September at the Doña Ana Arts Council gallery, where she will also teach a watercolor workshop in mid-September. Siegrist also continues to be represented at a gallery in Neenah, Wisconsin, her home state.

Siegrist and her husband of 55 years, Mike, moved to Las Cruces in 2002 after visiting many times.

“I carry a sketchbook just about everywhere I go,” said Siegrist, who often paints from her drawings and from photographs she takes during travels throughout the United States with her husband, who retired from the U.S. military in 2006.

“I paint by freeform,” Siegrist said; “anything that interests me, anything that intrigues me.” She paints a lot of landscapes and loves to paint “jumbles of grasses.” Siegrist often wanders with a friend into the desert near her Picacho Hills home to find subjects. She sometimes adds birds to her paintings and occasionally small, abstract images of people. Siegrist also likes painting textures, including rocks, weathered wood and adobe.

Siegrist learned to paint through an in-depth study of watercolor on her own and teaches classes and workshops in Las Cruces. She also was an art teacher at the Watertown, Wisconsin, campus of Madison Area Technical College.

Siegrist’s advice to would-be artists is to draw or paint “something you enjoy. If it pleases you,” she said, “just enjoy it for its own sake” without being concerned about selling it. “It’s amazing what people can do if they put their minds to it,” Siegrist said.

In addition to NMWS, Siegrist is a member of the Artists of Picacho Hills, Artforms and Las Cruces Arts Association. She also teaches art classes.

Contact Siegrist at msiegrist2@comcast.net.

Mike Cook may be contacted at mike@lascrucesbulletin.com.

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