It’s a puzzle, a wonderful puzzle. Just to find the key. Like, how to make color and depth and composition fit. Then, working the puzzle a key is found and it becomes the “wow” moment.

Sometimes it is visualized even before the first strike of color, and then sometimes the work is finding the key just because you know it’s there. It’s very, very exciting. You think you know what you’re doing right from the start. You think you know the key to the puzzle. It will always trick you. What fun!

A critical review by Lori Waxman, a Chicago-based critic and art historian, of Chicago Institute of Art, says:

“Painting under the moniker “Maru”, Marcia Shelly practices a vibrant, broad form of genre painting that touches on such time-honored, pleasure-seeking subjects as the great outdoors, floral still-lifes, figurative portraits and animal scenes. Her style varies from work to work as if seeking out the most enjoyable approach: textured mountainscapes, flat and luminous plains, jazzy likenesses, soft-focus blooms, sketchy tourist pictures.

Of these, Maru’s vertiginous, oddly-colored peaks appeal most, revealing a parallel between subject and object, paint and referent – the rough, irregular pigment reads as tough and sublime as the real thing, or, at least a marvelously idealized version of that thing.”

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