Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcia R. Wise.
Marcia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My interest in art began during weekly visits to my local library when I was about 7 years old where one day, as I was looking through the art section, I came across a book about French Impressionist painters. The full plates of color-filled images gave me an immediate feeling of having found… well, “Home.” This was some wonderful feeling, as if a recognition from long ago, a deja vu feeling, came over me.
I grew up with my Italian grandparents and my childhood home was filled with creative energy. My grandmother was a dress designer and my grandfather was a shoe maker. My mother and her siblings were musical, my uncle was a big band leader and could play just about any instrument. In this home, I was always encouraged to be creative. I loved watching all the leather machinery in my grandfather’s shop and my grandmother taught me how to sew, knit, crochet and cook. When I began to paint with my mother’s nail polish, I was given watercolors, colored pencils, chock pastels and end rolls of paper from the local newspaper.
At 7, I began filling sketchbooks with odd characters who I would bring to life in my mind. Being an only child, this was a way for me to have “playmates” of a sort.
My first love was music and my mother began taking me to musical theater productions. And although I loved it, I was a painfully shy child, hardly unable to speak in front of anyone, let alone be on a stage. Having my loved ones see this helped them guide me. I was given the opportunities to take piano, guitar and voice lessons which I am always grateful for, just as grateful for the direction in which I was lead – into visual art.
Growing up on Cape Cod, my mother searched for a place where I could take art lessons and to my mother I give all the credit for my knowledge of color! She found Henry Hensche at The Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Mass and somehow convinced him that he should allow me to take classes at his school. So, by the time I went into High School, I knew what I wanted to do and I also knew where I wanted to study.
The Impressionist palette lead me to L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. And eventually, after the shyness abated, I found myself as a young woman in Paris, France. This is where I did my undergraduate work in Fine Arts – Studio Art/Painting being my major.
Returning to the states as I was nearing the end of my studies, my father was a constant reminder that I would need to further my education so that I could support myself. Oh, yes, right… but I wanted to be an exhibiting artist! Now the question of how to make this happen arose. The answer came in the most unusual of circumstances. But isn’t life like that?
I had decided to do some traveling after college and since George Harrision was an idol of mine, I decided to travel through Europe to Asia, ending up in India – sort of following George’s footsteps, if you will. I’d been “a seeker,” and George Harrison did for me what I am sure he did for many – for me he helped me to understand from where comes this desire to create. What is the purpose for making art? And, for me, by that Beatles’ example, the answer was soul expression. However, I only made it as far as Israel – a country I had not really contemplated visiting. It happened that I met people going there and since I was alone, I tagged along. After all, it was in the direction in which I was headed and now I wasn’t alone anymore.
Little did I know then that I would spend 2 years in that country, learn Hebrew, and work with the youth, teaching art. From that experience, I realized that I was a natural teacher and that I was highly inspired by people younger than me as we worked together. I never made it to India until 2013, but I returned home from Israel knowing how I was going to support myself, happy to let my dad know my plans, and then proceeded to return to school for art education.
I was an art teacher for over 40 years during which time I continued to paint, experiment, learn and develop my own style, a style that continues today to grow and open and expand.
Today, I am finally ready to retire! It’s interesting to me because after retiring from teaching in an educational environment, I began to develop my own workshops and then facilitated them for many years while putting more time into my own work. I have a few more workshops scheduled for next year, but those will be my last. What I will continue to do is take other painters to Italy and the Southwestern US to paint. Who knows, maybe other locations will appear. My love of travel is now doubled with my love of painting and in being with others who want the same experience.
Along with this, I also have my business located in the South End of Boston’s Arts and Design District of SoWa at 450 Harrison Avenue. I’m presently in studio #403 and this is new! My husband, Ed, and I moved closer to Boston from Western Massachusetts and after a bit of a wait, I was offered a studio in SoWa. I also have a work studio in my home, so I use both and my studio at 450 Harrison Ave is more a show space for me now. It’s exciting and vibrant, so full of wonderful creatives, and I’m making new friendships there, too.
A bonus is that right across the street at 460C Harrison Avenue is where Fountain Street Gallery is located and I am a core member there. My first exhibit at Fountain Street Gallery will be October 31 to November 25, 2018 and is titled “Where Earth Meets Sky.” The Opening Reception falls on a First Friday when all the studios and galleries in the area are open for the public. That is Friday, Nov. 2nd from 6-8PM and all are invited. Oh… I forgot to mention that my husband, Ed, is a professional musician and he will have the Ed Wise Duo playing for the event! Lucky me – to have found him, a musician, when I myself have always been so in love with that art form!