“In my defense I was left unsupervised.”
For self-taught artist Marybeth Eilerson, the key is in the layering and tools. Now a painter with over 15 years of experience, you may recognize her artworks for their whimsical and quirky characters.
“When it comes to my paintings, there’s a lot of freedom in my creative process. When you can paint random layers knowing that NOTHING is a mistake, it creates all kinds of opportunities.” Marybeth often begins each painting without a plan, instead opting for spontaneous mark making, which is the basis for her Animal Urbanity series. “I will play music and let my tools dance across the canvas unrestricted; then, once there are about 5 or 6 layers, I’ll start thinking about what animal I want to create.”
Marybeth’s hallmark is juxtaposing abstract markings with realistic facial features for each animal, which appear to almost emerge from the canvas. “I use so many tools in those early parts which are not paint brushes.” Her tools can range from credit cards, q-tips and legos, to a meat tenderizer, a potato masher, and even hair combs. At the end of the lengthy and spontaneous process, each painting is between 10-12 layers of paint.
Most of Marybeth’s characters from her Animal Urbanity series have dual meaning, either through literary references or symbolism. When an animal emerges in a new painting, she will start thinking about it’s name, like Larry Llama DDS. “As soon as I painted his teeth, I knew he had to be a dentist! I always hoped a dentist would buy this piece because of that” she says laughing.
For Marybeth, humor, joy and bright colors remain hallmarks of her artworks. Not one to remain idle, she has recently branched out and created new abstract works – such as her mandala paintings. “I’m always wanting to try something new.” No matter what her subject matter, vibrant colors and layering are always center stage.