A SAINT CA L L ED MOTHER NATURE BY MARQUE TODD Marque Todd, a self-taught artist and veterinarian, has a fundamental knowledge of animal anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Her studies proved to be vital to her work where she combines detailed animal and bird imagery with imaginative realism, allegory and symbolism.
Renaissance Jay, 14”x20”, oil and metal leaf on panel
INSPIRED BY NATURE | ART BY NATURE
"I CONSIDER MYSELF LUCKY TO HAVE HAD EXCELLENT ARTISTS AS MY MENTORS"
How did you become an artist? I can’t remember a time when I did not think of myself as an artist. I am largely self-taught, and I use the knowledge and skills I acquired as a veterinarian and biologist to help me understand and render the animal form. Through private instruction, workshops, and extensive reading about the philosophies and techniques of my favorite historical artists I developed my current painting practices. I consider myself lucky to have had excellent artists as my mentors – including Koo Schadler, Pam Hawkes, and Vicki Walsh. They helped me improve my technical skills in composition and painting, and also encouraged me to authentically express
ART BY NATURE | INSPIRED BY NATURE
myself and my world view through my paintings. What role did creativity play during your childhood? My earliest memories are of drawing animals. My mother and grandmother were both artists and always had animals around. As a child, my mother would let me sit at her drafting table and use the “grown up” art supplies. I was drawing using pen and ink, and coloured pencils when most kids were using crayons. Who or what inspires you and in what ways? Mother Nature inspires me in so many ways - the variations of animals, birds, insects, and plants with their array of colours and sounds. My representational narratives, painting techniques, and use of color all reflect my love of the 14th to 16th century Flemish and Italian Masterworks and decorative techniques. I am particularly enamoured of the Flemish and Italian painters from that period, including Van Eyck, Memling, Gozzoli, Botticelli, and Fra Angelico – to name a few.
From top left clockwise: oil and metal leaf on panel 10"x10" "Gothic Fox" Finished and stage in progress; skulls, decorative objects, and taxidermy specimen in the artist’s studio; the Brothers Van Eyck “Lamb of God” – one of the artworks that inspires the artist 35
"I HOPE TO FOSTER A SENSE OF REVERENCE AND RESPECT"
Can you describe the steps of your creative process? My creative process is contemplative and spiritual in nature. I first choose an animal or bird along decorative objects that inspire me at the time.
Silverpoint drawing of a raven, 4”x4”
Can your artwork be seen as representations or reflections of Saint-like beings? In Western culture, spiritual essence has traditionally been beautifully represented by the use of Medieval and Renaissance iconography and classical symbols such as halos. In my art, I use such revered symbols to show the world the saintlike essence manifested through the spirits of all living things including animals and birds. I hope to foster a sense of reverence and respect for our fragile planet and all living things residing on it.
I make some very quick initial sketches to capture the idea and that idea sits in my subconscious for days to months before I proceed to transform it into a detailed composition using drawings, photographs, and digital art tools. After the design stage, I transfer the composition to a primed panel by rendering a detailed drawing of it in graphite or silver point. I then slowly build up thin transparent layers of colour in oils over the top of the drawing. These pure colour glazes give the painting a jewel-like quality, much like a beautiful stained glass window in a cathedral. v marquetodd.com
by Fatima Rao & Samia Azhar Naim
Photos of Marque, in the studio and inspiration: Mark Ross Photos of completed painting: Mark O’Donnell at Pixel 2 Creations.
INSPIRED BY NATURE | ART BY NATURE
Nature inspires. An independent magazine dedicated to creativity inspired in any way or form by nature.