“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Me at about age two

Me at about age two

I knew I wanted to be an artist pretty much from the second I was born. As a young child, I found a thrilling and peaceful refuge fingerpainting in our Ohio basement. My art classes were the ones that motivated me to go to school; the rest of my classes just seemed like the stuff you had to learn to satisfy the big people who ruled the world.

 

When I was about five years old, I was totally excited to learn about the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  I saw it on a segment on Captain Kangaroo, and decided right on the spot that I would go there for art school when I grew up.

Salvador Dali - Persistence of Memory

Salvador Dali - Persistence of Memory

Even though my parents had other ideas, they were not quite successful in discouraging my early passions to pursue what they considered to be an impractical career. They never took me to an art museum, but I fell in love with Monet and Wyeth and Dali from tiny little thumbnails of prints being sold in the back of a magazine. I later used my allowance to buy my first art print – Dali’s “Persistence of Memory.”

 

The Cheshire Cat, linoleum block print

The Cheshire Cat, linoleum block print, junior high school

As a young teenager, I spent hot Dallas summers in my air-conditioned room, drawing and painting, and designing clothes, interiors, and houses. I began to buy books of artists’ works, and copied the drawings of Beardsley and Tenniel in pen and ink.

 

Copy after Aubrey Beardsley, pen and inks

Copy after Aubrey Beardsley, pen and ink, high school

It was about this time that my father informed me that, as a girl, there was neither any money nor any point in my going to college. That thoroughly derailed a lifetime’s worth of planning, leaving me adrift for quite a while.  During the remaining years of high school, my major became having fun, but otherwise, I was aimless.

Life goes on, however. I did go to college without my father’s help – five of them in fact, which I put myself through, eventually graduating with a BA in English. I worked as a technical illustrator to put myself through school, and the practice of drawing strange things for large impersonal corporations just made my forsaken dreams of becoming an artist all that much more poignant.

Graduating from SAIC, 1993

Graduating from SAIC, 1993

So I went back to school again, studying fine art with some excellent teachers at Austin Community College.  Then I was accepted into the school of my childhood dreams, where I studied with some of the best teachers in Chicago, and all too quickly graduated with a BFA in painting.

 

I may have gotten a late start, but I am finally beginning to live my dream. I am pursuing my love of painting through a focused exploration into the beauty of abstraction, in its many forms.

I hope you enjoy looking at my work as much as I enjoy creating it.

-Marilyn Fenn

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success.” — Henry David Thoreau