Artist Marie Scott: Painting Glimmers of Hope for this Broken World

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,
and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
–Henry Ward Beecher,
Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887

Two weeks ago, I discussed how the starving artist is not so hungry. I referenced impassioned honeysuckles and tulips. Here’s Mirriam-Webster’s definition of impassioned:

Impassioned: filled with passion or zeal: showing great warmth or intensity of feeling.

Today’s guest creates such impassioned paintings. She starts with simple, ordinary  parts of nature. Things we’re used to seeing every day, all summer long. Sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias, meadows, and marshes.

But she does more than just see them. As Henry Ward Beecher said, she dips her brush in her soul and paints.

On top of that, I’m proud to say that she was once a student of mine.

Only a handful of my high school art students from the 1980s grew up to be professional artists. Marie Scott is one of them, and it’s no surprise. Even back then, with great skill and dedication, she brought a careful, thoughtful, loving approach to each project. And now, decades later, I still enjoy her fresh and vibrant artwork, hanging on my wall. Her sunflowers are my favorites.

Marie Scott (photo @2017 Cameron Reynolds Photography)

Marie Scott spent the first decade of her grown-up life working as a graphic designer. She eventually quit her day job in 2001 to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an artist who paints “Pictures of Happiness.”

In 2008, after painting blue skies and sunny places for many years, Marie and her family left her hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

They chose to relocate their life to South Carolina–for the express purpose of living in a place where the sky most often looks just like the sunny scenes Marie loves to paint.

What do you love to create?

Marie: I am an artist who loves to paint bright, bold, contemporary flowers and also soothing, peace-filled coastal landscape scenes. No matter what the subject matter, my goal is to create pieces which capture a perfect moment in time.

Having spent the majority of my life as a Midwesterner,
I still find myself captivated by the open, tranquil beauty
that is so unique to the Lowcountry (South Carolina).
Even after nine years of life in the South,
I am still falling in love with the beautiful places
found all across this visually-inspiring state.

(photo @2017 Cameron Reynolds Photography)

Where do you get your ideas?

Marie: This probably sounds counter-intuitive, but for me, I think my creative inspiration comes from planning. When I have no “plan” I flounder. Everything feels way too overwhelming, and too big, and too hopeless. But when I have a series of three or more paintings drawn onto canvasses — ready and waiting for me to bring them to life — it is like all the clouds of despair that often chase me at a distance melt away.

“Celebrate Everything” ©2018 Marie Scott; 20″ x 40″ oil painting; Marie Scott painting “Celebrate Everything”

With each new oil painting I create, I am striving to evoke feelings of happiness, hope, and peace. I love to paint landscapes that offer an uplifting view of beautiful places. I also love to paint flowers that smile with contentment as they bask in a pool of the sun’s warming light.

Each of my paintings are intended to be snapshots
of one perfect moment in time.
They are meant to provide a glimmer of hope
for this broken world.

How do you create? Say something about your creative process.

Marie: I think my process of painting is very much the same as how one would put together a puzzle.

So my favorite part of my job is when the “puzzle”
is about 80% done and I can feel the momentum build
as I unravel all the shapes and make sense
of so many squiggly lines that I drew onto the canvas
before I began with the paints.

I paint from photos that I take on bright-blue-sky, sunny days. I take a LOT of mediocre photos when we travel. Or sometimes I will just be in my studio or in my yard, or my kitchen, and I will see the sun casting shadows onto a flower so I will photograph that.

I normally paint in a series of three or more pieces, so I will choose photos that I think could all hang together on the same wall. I then take these photos and one by one I put them into my “artograph” projector to project the image onto a canvas which I hang on the wall so it is completely upright. I then copy what I see by “drawing” that image onto the canvas.

What this gives me ends up looking nothing like the original photo. It is more like a jumbled mess of crazy lines. But the main thing it does is help me define the areas of lights and darks and the general composition. My painting style is built on contrasts so this is a really important way for me to get these areas placed correctly.

Some people may call this cheating. But I don’t think it is. I am perfectly capable of drawing a photo onto my canvas. I would just rather use my time to paint with color than draw a boring gray pencil line. I love how there are no hard fast rules in art. (Unlike so much of the rest of life!)

©2018 Marie Scott

Who wouldn’t be inspired in this beautiful light-filled studio?

Next time, Marie will share more about the blend of art and business. Stay tuned . . . (

Whether or not you’re an artist, which locale is the most inspirational for you?

Please add your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Ever musing,


P.S. Next time: Marie will share more about the blend of art and business.

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15 thoughts on “Artist Marie Scott: Painting Glimmers of Hope for this Broken World

  1. This was very refreshing! It always does the heart “good” to see the fruits of our labors as teachers. Since we are mostly in the “seed planting” business, we don’t often get to see the harvest. Marie’s work is an exception to that rule. You must be so proud.

    Locales that are most appealing to me are seascapes, particularly those in the Caribbean! There is something about the beautiful blue Caribbean sea juxtaposed against those white sandy beaches that simply takes my breath away and makes me say, “Thank you Jesus for eyes that see!”

  2. It’s interesting how locale affects artists of all types. I am not a visual artist; I am a writer. While one would think that writing words would not depend so much on locale as visual art, setting is so integral to a story. Similarly, there is something about nature, and man’s manipulation of it, that bleeds creativity. I find much of my best writing environments are where I am surrounded by the outside. Particularly driving.

    No, I am not jotting notes or punching a keyboard while behind the wheel! Rather, much of the spiritual creation of the story has come while I’ve been driving for work, staring out the window. I translate those interactions, conflicts, and feelings to the page when I get back to a desk.

    I’ve discovered, in my driving, that Wisconsin is absolutely stunning! I find pleasure in the open prairies and their wildflowers, as well as the idyllic farmscapes or hilly forests of the Driftless region. That, combined with the rich Midwestern culture we have in our people here, make for a perfect place to write a novel.

    1. Mark, I appreciate your sharing your locale inspirations for your writing, reminding us how much setting impacts characters and their stories. Settings are often the spark of a new story for me–whether southern Appalachia, the North Woods, or Lake Michigan. So glad you can use your driving time in such happy, inspirational ways!

    2. I totally agree with you, Mark. As a writer, locale can be so helpful. Especially if it isn’t in my kitchen when the dishes need to be done 😉 Locale is so important that I carefully chose my desktop pictures for scenes that inspire me. Beaches, forests, mountains,… While I don’t often make it to the ocean anymore, the beaches of Michigan are a great alternative. And, yes, the many landscapes of Wisconsin!

  3. Marie Scott’s work is gorgeous! Vibrant, bold, and FILLED with light. Some of those pieces look like they’re painted glass with the sun shining through them. Quite a talent.
    And I loved hearing her process, transforming “mediocre” photos into the brilliance that she captured on canvas.
    Thank you for sharing her creativity

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