Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Feature: Marsha Chandler

Friday Feature: Marsha Chandler

"Pear Mosaic" by Marsha Chandler

 Today I have a fabulous Friday Feature, Marsha Chandler.  Her work is gorgeous!!!!  Her studio location sounds amazing and it sounds like Marsha and I work in a  very similar way when it comes to our still life set ups.  

To see more of her work visit her website and blog .

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t like to draw and paint. At Christmas or birthdays, I always wanted art supplies. Art classes were not available in my school so my first art class was from a local artist when in my mid-twenties. I was hooked. I took classes and painted in different mediums for several years and displayed my work in various local shows. I put my art on hold while my children were growing up. Finally, in 2005, I resumed painting.  I had to start with the basics again so I took classes and workshops to make myself better.
 At first, I tried to loosen up and paint more impressionistic. I didn’t think you were supposed to paint realism anymore. I painted landscapes and got in a few shows and won a few awards which made me feel good about what I was doing. But I kept seeing realism in magazines that won awards and thought if other people can paint that way, I can too.  When I began painting realistic still lifes, I started getting in shows and winning awards. I felt like I had come home. It’s what I love to do, what I do well and what makes me happy!
"Cherries Jubilee 3" by Marsha Chandler
 Where were you born?

I was born in Boaz, Alabama where I grew up on a farm. My daddy made a living farming, so my three brothers and I always had a lot of chores.  I couldn’t wait to get off the farm! Guess where I live now? On a farm! I think you could call it a ‘gentleman’s farm’ because it is my husband’s hobby, not his living. Now I really enjoy the peacefulness.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t dream about anything other than what I have. My 2 children and 2+ grandchildren (#3 is due in June) are within 20 minutes of me so this really is the perfect place to live. My studio is a mobile office with two sides of windows that sits a few hundred feet from my house. It is surrounded by pasture and trees and feels like my cabin in the woods that I have dreamed about. Two places I love are the beach and mountains. The beach in less than 5 hours away and the mountains is about 2 hours from here. We are only about 25 miles from Atlanta, so the art world is at my fingertips. I have the best of both worlds.
"Green Apple Kaleidoscope" by Marsha Chandler
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why

I love painting still life paintings. Most of my paintings are of fruits and vegetables and include silver or glass. What I really love painting is anything shiny or clear that reflects or refracts light.  I’m working on a painting with aluminum foil and have several paintings in my head using plastic. Reflections and refractions intrigue and excite me. I’m trying to incorporate other things so I’m now painting candy in a jar or to be exact, spilling out of a jar. The possibilities are endless.

 Could you talk about your painting techniques?

I set up my still lifes outside in the early morning sun so I get soft light that creates long shadows. I use a digital SLR camera and take probably 200 pictures of the same setup from different angles, perspectives and with things moved around. After loading the pictures on my computer, I study them for hours before I decide on the one with the best composition and light. I print out a 13 x 19 image for a reference and I use my computer to zoom in on the image to see the details. I usually paint local colors but I enhance them a lot. If you were to compare the reference photograph to the painting, you would see a lot of difference in the two. I want the painting to jump out and grab you so I pay a lot of attention to detail but not so much that it is photorealism.  Painting in layersI always paint from light to dark
"Lemon Kaleidoscope" by Marsha Chandler
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Winsor Newton- New Gamboge, Sap Green, Aliziran Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Aureolin, Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Blue
Daniel Smith-Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Quinacridone Gold   I have a lot of other colors that I use, but these are my most frequent colors                                              
Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I love all artists that paint realistic still lifes especially watercolor artists. Laurin McKracken and Chris Krupinski are two of my favorites. When I first started painting still lifes, I emailed them an image of a painting and asked them to critique it which they did, not knowing me at all. This was a big help to me and I appreciate what they did so much.  Recently, I took a workshop from Chris in Atlanta and felt like I was in heaven.
"Pear Go Round" by Marsha Chandler
 What have been some of your crowning achievements?

  1. Receiving an Honorable Mention in Watercolor magazine’s What do You Love competition and having the painting published in Watercolor Artist magazine.
  2. Receiving Signature Membership in Watercolor Society of Alabama in 3 years and in Georgia Watercolor Society in 4 years.
  3. Being accepted into the Annual Southern Watercolor Society Exhibit twice.
  4. Being juried into the International Guild of Realism.
  5. Being in the Atelier Gallery in Charleston, S. C.
What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

  1. To be accepted into the Annual Southern Watercolor Society Exhibit again and receive Signature membership.
  2. To be accepted into America Watercolor Society and National Watercolor Society and then receive Signature Membership in them.
  3. To be accepted into the International Guild of Realism Annual Exhibition.
  4. Have an article published in Watercolor Artist magazine
  5. To be in Splash 16.
"Vegetable Medley" by Marsha Chandler
 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Find out what you love to paint and stick with it. Paint, paint and paint until your paintings are professional quality and build a cohesive body of work. Enter competitions to begin building your resume. Start out with local competitions and work your way up to National competitions. Join a local artist’s organization and at least one national organization. If I had done this after I had my first art lesson, I don’t think I would have ever quit painting. It’s important to have other artists to share with.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

I received the above advice several years ago and adhered to it.

Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla

Your dream vacation spot? France

Book or movie? Book

Favorite author? James Patterson

Favorite movie? Gone With the Wind

Romance or comedy? Romance

Favorite dessert? Carrot Cake

Night owl or morning person? Morning Person

Thank you so much Marsha:)


  1. Marsha's work is very similar to your own, Carrie. Both of you paint beautifully.

  2. Wow - she paints just loike you Carrie! It's incredible work! :0)

  3. Great interview Carrie. Such talent!

  4. Wonderful interview, Carrie!. Marsha's work is incredible!!!