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The Art Group was founded nearly two decades ago when several Little Rock artists came together to share an art studio. In 2013, the artists officially opened a gallery, The Art Group Gallery, in Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center. Follow along as At Home in Arkansas interviews each of the group’s artists to find out more about their inspirations and processes for creating.
At Home in Arkansas: How did you first become interested in art? Is this a passion you’ve always had?
Marie Weaver: I was an only child until I was 10 years old, so I became quite creative entertaining myself. I would design clothes for my Betsy McCall paper dolls and have tea parties for all my stuffed animals and dolls. Of course, I loved to draw, color, and read! For my seventh birthday, my Aunt Louise gave me a little book titled Love Is A Special Way of Feeling. It was written and illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund and filled with wonderful drawings of round-faced children with no noses or mouths and dots for eyes. I loved them! I began writing my own little stories with characters like hers. I was forever hooked on art!
AHIA: Did you grow up in Arkansas?
MW: I am native to Arkansas. I was born in Fort Smith. However, due to my father’s job we moved about seven times, once from New Orleans to New Jersey—that was definitely a culture shock! My family ended up in North Little Rock, which was where my father grew up, and I’ve lived here ever since. I met my husband and raised my three sons here.
AHIA: After discovering your passion, how did you develop your techniques and learn more about creative processes?
MW: I’m predominately self-taught. After work, I would take care of my boys, put them to sleep and take out my watercolors; it was a perfect end to the day. Then a few years ago, on my way to work, I passed by a gallery on Maumelle Boulevard with a sign that read “art lessons.” That little gallery is now the Art Group Gallery in Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center in Little Rock. I took lessons from Matt Coburn, an impressionistic artist. This led to painting with very talented fellow artists. I’ve also taken workshops from Bill Garrison, Jason Sacran, and John Lasater.
AHIA: Do you have a favorite medium or style?
MW: I like to paint impressionistically with loose strokes and softer colors. Although I enjoy the intensity and texture of oil, I most love watercolors. There is often an element of surprise with them. Bob Ross would call these “happy little accidents!” The softness in colors you can achieve with watercolors evokes feelings of calm emotions.
AHIA: Do you have a favorite subject to paint? What do you hope people gain from viewing or purchasing your work?
MW: I get the most enjoyment from painting the uninhibited actions of children while dancing, painting, or playing. I hope my paintings evoke precious memories of their childhood, children, and grandchildren. I hope they remind people how wonderful and carefree life can be.
Learn more about Marie and how you can shop with The Art Group Gallery at artgrouparkansas.com.