Marilee Taussig, Alcohol Ink Artist

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I am passionate about, painting, creativity, travel, dogs and alcohol ink (not necessarily in that order.) As a member of the AI community, I am passionate about sharing those passions with others through the lens of my AI work.

I’ve painted all my life and no matter how I make my living, can’t imagine ever NOT painting, drawing and creating. Whether I’m a puppy’s mom, a travel company owner, or a corporate consultant….I will be thinking of what in my day doing that could inspire my next painting.

Professionally, I plowed through two master’s degrees of coursework ( in counseling and organizational psychology) which led me to a decade of write and teach workshops on leadership, diversity in the corporate world. Throughout it all, I painted. Being a consultant meant flying all over the country a lot! For years! I was lucky enough to marry and have a daughter and in order to spend less time separate from my new family, I switched tracks took a job in my family’s travel business ( and got to travel all over Europe, daughter in tow!) Throughout it all, I painted. Which brings me to my passion for place.

Falling in Love With a Place: Have you ever been to a place — somewhere you’ve never been before – and felt as if you belonged? As a result of being in the travel industry, I discovered that a sense of place is utterly central to awakening my own creative spirit. For me, WHERE I am seems to always offer a deep resource into who I am, and who I can grow to be. Some places in particular seem to put my creative self on steroids. Dordogne and its unforgettable golden stone and golden light is one of those places. All of Provence has the magic light. And right here, where I am most of the time, in the Chesapeake Bay, the open expanses of water and the phenomenal beauty of the birds (attracted to the wetlands) is another place that just opens my creativity, like a key opens a lock.
Quoting from “Saturday” by Ian McEwan: “.. a different medium, refracting time and sense, a biological hyperspace as remote from conscious existence as dreams, or as water is from air. As his mother used to say, another element; the day is changed, Henry, when you take a swim. And that day is bound to be marked out from all the rest.” Like the Ian McEwan character says, “Another element and the day is changed.” I would push that further. Come to know another place and you are changed.  Just as the mother recommends a swim a day, I recommend to artists finding new place you fall in love with and jumping in!   That is why I schedule part of my year traveling to someplace other than home. Dordogne is one magic ingredient to my growth as an artist. Provence another. The Chesapeake another. I become different, as an artist and as a person. As I find all the places I belong in the world, I discover all the different sides of who I am.
Falling In Love With a Medium: I came upon alcohol ink in spring 2017…spotting a piece of jewelry at a local gallery from way across the rooms and hearing a very loud voice in my head say, WHAT IS THAT? The vivid colors literally stopped me in my tracks. Most of my painting in the previous decade had been dye on silk. I used to describe it as “watercolor, but on steroids” — because the dye traveled so fast and in so many wonderful patterns, and never got muddy. Needless to say, finding alcohol ink was a godsend.  Talk about your watercolor on steroids!!! It was the medium I had been looking for throughout all the years of watercolor and silk painting.

I love following where the medium wants to go. The ink is a better artist than I, if I can listen to it well enough. That being said, after many months of learning and creating “glorious accidents” (which is what I call the abstracts that nearly paint themselves when you are working with AI), I was also pulled to start working representationally, as I had for many decades.

What a wonderful paradox alcohol ink is! It defies control, and yet, with one’s senses fully attuned to its nature, you can steer the glorious chaos in ways that can be delightful. Currently, I am steering that glorious chaos to express my love for place, representationally. Right now, I paint two places in particular, the Dordogne and the Chesapeake. In southwestern France, in a region called Dordogne, the buildings are virtually all of a particular golden stone. The light and the landscape seem to literally compose themselves into stunning works of art.  It has become a second home, and most of the time I was learning AI this year, I was there.

The second place (my main home ) I love to paint is the Chesapeake: glorious in a whole different kind of way. Since my husband’s retirement at the beginning of 2017, we’ve moved from suburban Philadelphia to our weekend cabin perched right on a beautiful little river that is part of the Chesapeake. We are in the middle of glorious nowhere and our wonderful neighbors are the birds, foxes, water, woods, sunrises and sunsets. Since my return in November, I’ve plunged into capturing the beauty here and most especially the birds in their watery backgrounds!

Alcohol ink is wild. I love that. I will always try to allow that wildness to have a voice in every painting. Some times that will lead me back into the world of “beautiful accidents” … where you simply are “along for the ride”, letting the ink lead you where it will. But more often, I will try to share the utter beauty of the places I fall in love with (I run a small travel company, and will always be going back to France, and discovering new places as well.)  As I have begun to build a skill set specific to alcohol ink, I am grateful that I could also draw upon my nearly fifty years of composition, color and brush work.

 I can fall in love with a place, or a piece of artwork in exactly the same way I used to get crushes on boys when I was young. That love of a particular place can produce waves of happiness so strong, I skip down the street. The same love for alcohol ink can make me stay up late into the night painting. All highly unlikely for someone who is perilously close to “senior citizen” status. I don’t care.  I can become so enthralled in the “flow”  that I lose sense of time, burn supper, or miss appointments. I hope, as a contributor to this wonderful community, I can share not only my work, but the joy of discovering what is possible,  when you let yourself fall in love — with life, with AI, with beauty, and one’s own wonderful journey. I hope I can contribute this wonderful joyful kind of crazy that AI lets us discover.

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Some Recent Works by Marilee Taussig



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