Marianne Morris | Artist

Living Life in Full Colour

That Elusive Muse

Drawing of two pears in oil pastel by Marianne Morris

“Pair | Pear”, Oil Pastel on paper. I think this was the most successful of my three drawings. I’m amazed I remembered how to use my pastels, but somehow it felt really natural.

There was a time I got excited when I managed to free up some time to go paint. If you are a regular reader, you know that lately, it all has seemed like a bit of a chore. It always does when things aren’t going well. In an effort to get that feeling back, I’ve been changing things up… last week I did a lot of drawing, and on the weekend I participated in a group art night.

It wasn’t what you would think. The people I was painting with were scattered across the continent. We had met in an online art group. Patti was Canadian from the opposite end of the country, who I had never talked to before we started. Kim and Thomas have know each other for years, one in Wyoming, the other in Florida. We started a group chat, decided on a subject (abstract still life), Thomas set up a Spotify playlist which we all tuned into, and off we went.

The process reminded me of school in a way. We all worked away, then my phone would beep… someone would post a photo or ask a question, we would chime in when we could. We weren’t in the same room, but we were connected in a way. I got out my oil pastels since the others were talking about working in pastel. I figured working with something other than paint would probably help reset my brain. I haven’t used oil pastel in probably 15 years. It was a nice change. And I remembered more than I thought  I would. My pieces were actually decent.

I really enjoyed the camaraderie of working in a pseudo-group. I’m hoping these nights will become a regular thing. I may not be able to manage every weekend, but it is important to fit some play time into my schedule. I’ve managed one work session this week and I really looked forward to getting into the studio. That in itself feels like a huge leap forward.


  1. I love the pieces you created for art night! I especially liked seeing how you took the really bright background and pushed it way back, allowing parts to show through without it overpowering the piece.

    We did have such a great time! Working alone can be really nice, but sometimes it’s nice to have some company and not feel so isolated. The people in my day-to-day life have very little passion for anything and so they are not able to understand why I would spend my time off creating art – especially when they see the not so great stuff that is inevitable when you are learning. It is nice to connect with people who have the same passion that we do and can understand ‘why’ we do what we do without any explanation.

    It is also good to have a sounding board when you are working on something and aren’t sure where to go next. I do think it would be harder if we had more then a few people participating at once. We would probably spend more time checking messages then we would working on art 🙂 Maybe

    This week I really had an art supply struggle and my first portrait went horribly wrong. I covered my substrate with two coats of transparent oil stick and attempted to do a charcoal portrait over it. The last time I did this the charcoal blended into the oil stick so perfectly. This time – nothing was working.

    I still have no idea what was different this time vs. the last time. The only thing I can think of is I MIGHT have gessoed my paper first but it was months ago and I do not remember if I did that last time. I would think that would make it harder to blend and not easier – maybe I will do a small test.

    Thanks for the great post and for participating in art night 🙂

    • I always work in pretty much total isolation. Having someone who can make a helpful suggestion when you’re stuck is so valuable. But I’m afraid I can’t help with the oil stick/charcoal thing… mixing the two is something i would never have thought of doing. Maybe I’ll give it a try sometimes…

  2. Marianna,

    So happy you joined us! You are a delight!
    Thomas and I love sharing and learning – as Thomas said, to be able to find artists (Muses) with the same passion and drive is a treat. Look forward to another night of art and music.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.