Marie Spaeder-Haas is the kind of visual artist who seems to have no artistic bounds. Give her pen and ink or a paintbrush, and she becomes a maestro at making the ordinary look extraordinary. …
Marie Spaeder-Haas is the kind of visual artist who seems to have no artistic bounds. Give her pen and ink or a paintbrush, and she becomes a maestro at making the ordinary look extraordinary.
The Museum Center at Five Points is featuring Marie Spaeder-Haas as its Artist of the Month and is inviting the public to a special meet and greet on Sept. 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Exhibits of her drawings and watercolors in solo, juried and invitational shows have been seen throughout the United States as well as in private and corporate collections in Australia, Canada and Japan.
She has signature membership in the Tennessee Watercolor Society, the Southern Appalachian Artists Guild and the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society.
Her primary works are done in pen and ink and watercolor, with mountain musicians and old homesteads often being featured. Her gesture drawings are breathtaking in their simplicity and complexity all at once.
Spaeder-Haas is the rare self-taught artist, blessed with an artistic “third eye,” that allows her to see beyond the literal and capture visually stunning images that interest art lovers around the world.
Spaeder-Haas was a biology teacher for about 17 years. In 1984 she said she left the biology lab to paint and draw her way through Europe for three months under the direction of her mentor and friend, Frederick Franck.
In 1996 she left Erie, Pa., for the mountains of Southern Appalachia where she resides with her husband, Frank, through the spring and summer while wintering in Bradenton, Fla.
She explained, “I have been painting and drawing as long as I can remember. In fact I have a drawing of my family from when I was only 7 years old that my mother returned to me in the early 1980s when I had my first exhibition. My drawing has evolved over the years as I have learned to concentrate on ‘seeing’ rather than just ‘looking’ at a subject. Capturing an image in just a few strokes has come with lots and lots of practice. Through the years I have honed my watercolor skills, pushing and tweaking into new and exciting directions.”
When asked about her artistic style of gesture drawings, Spaeder-Haas said, “The goal is to capture a moment or gesture in as few strokes as possible. For every one that ‘works’ there are many on the studio floor that don’t. They are done quickly with a hand-eye response that leaves out the analytical brain.
“I draw at music events often. My husband and I love classical music and mountain music, and I usually have pen or pencil and paper in hand and draw as I listen, experiencing the wonderful sounds at yet another level. I have done literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of drawings this way. When one is particularly pleasing to me, I may embellish it back in the studio with watercolor washes or translate it to a larger image with ink and brush.”
In an email interview, Spaeder-Haas responded to the description of her art being almost like a translation of reality.
She said, “Painting and drawing for me is simply my response to the world around me, so calling it a translation of my reality is pretty accurate. Artists need to do that — musicians with their instruments, dancers with movement, poets with words. My instrument is my brush or my pen. It is something I need to do.”
As far as what inspires her artwork, she said, “I draw or paint what I love. That’s why you see a lot of drawings of my cat — a captive model! I warn her that she won’t eat if she doesn’t work for it! I love painting my environment out here in Ocoee. I love painting the Native American dancers at powwows at Red Clay. I love flowers and interesting people.”
When asked what she is looking forward to most when she comes to Cleveland, the talented artist responded, “That’s an interesting question and the answer varies from the sublime to the pragmatic — like grocery shopping! The place my husband and I enjoy most probably in Cleveland is Lee University, and its incredible music program. When we moved here in 2001 we knew nothing about Lee but have grown to love it and its musical offerings. We also participate in the Encore Program.
“The Museum Center at Five Points has also been a beacon of the arts and history for me. I have had a gallery presence in the Museum Store for around 10 years now. It boils down to the fact that expressing myself with color and line is very important to me as a person. I share it because it feels like that is how my art is completed.”
email: william.wright @clevelandbanner.com
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