Monday, November 17, 2014

Along With Her Pen, Maria Mazziotti Gillan Lifts Her Brush

Maria Gillan's newest book is a poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets, that pairs new poems with her own watercolor paintings.

Maria says that her artwork "comes from an instinctive place. In my watercolors and collages I try to do what I do in poetry—that is to let go, to allow the old wise woman who lives in my belly to take over."

In comparing the two forms of expression, she says that when writing a poem, "After the first few lines it is as though the pen moves across the page almost by itself, operating out of the subconscious mind. I don’t allow my conscious mind to control what is going on in the poem. For me, the same thing happens when I am painting or building a collage. Allowing my imagination to take over, gives me the freedom to paint people or birds or flowers as they exist in my mind rather than in reality."

Can you see the Maria we know from her poetry in the art? Probably not.

Readers used to Maria's tough poetic honesty and her own stated mission to "root my work in the details and specificity of ordinary life," may be surprised that in her paintings and collages she is not attempting to achieve realistic portrayals.

The people, birds and flowers that appear in the art is her attempt to capture energy and feeling. "I am trying to get the essence of the subject down on paper," she says "to convey joy or sadness, exuberance or loss."

You can view more of Maria's artwork in the new gallery on her website.

Maria's Official Site is at

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