Tag Archives: sense of place

A Sense of Place

As October came to a close so did my abstract landscape painting class taught by Pauline Agnew in Ireland. It was a very successful class for me. I not only learned new techniques, but I let myself experience the pleasure of loosening up my painting style. My horizon lines are now getting a little ambiguous, which is a good thing.

All of my daily class assignments will remain online for a year, and I plan to go back and do some similar work sometime in the near future.

Here are a few things I learned:
1. Acrylic paint and paper are interesting together, but I would rather paint on canvas.
2. Trying new things is a wonderful way to increase one’s repertoire.
3. It is a little difficult to see the blues and greens of Ireland and paint in New Mexico.
4. Oil pastels need to be protected with a frame and glass.
5. I like to have my work critiqued.
6. I like having a daily assignment.
7. I enjoy painting in an abstract way.
8. Now I really want to go to Ireland.

Ann Hart Marquis, Sense of Place, acrylic on canvas

Sense of Place, acrylic on canvas, 16×20 inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

My last painting assignment directed me to attend to and paint what is called a “sense of place.” In other words, Pauline encouraged me to paint an area or location with which I am familiar. I have painted New Mexico many times so I wanted to paint something more intimate. What better place than my back yard?

A Sense of Place

Guest post by Rebecca Dierickx

For better or worse my environment or, in other words, my “sense of place” influences my art. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say my childhood location has become the “standard” to which I compare other areas I have visited or lived. This is shown in an excerpt from my artist statement: “I am intrigued by memories and emotions and these have become recurring themes in my art.”

Iowa Memories-oil

Iowa Memories, oil, 8×10. ©Rebecca Dierickx

The influence from my childhood can be seen in my oil painting “Iowa Memories.”  For the first twelve years of my life I was raised on a farm in Eastern Iowa. Rolling hills, creeks, and timbers surrounded me. My husband was raised on the Western Slope of Colorado surrounded by breathtaking mountains. Even though he might appreciate what I call sublime, he needs to be near mountains to feel his sense of place.

I feel fortunate to have lived in a variety of places throughout the United States. I’ve viewed diverse scenery and met many people—some of whom became life long friends. Part of my “sense of place” isn’t just the countryside, but the feelings and emotions I was experiencing during those times in my life.

Standing Still

Still Standing at 442, 30×32 inches. ©Rebecca Dierickx

An example of the location and emotions being displayed in my artwork is a linoleum cut print, “Still Standing at 442.” I was living in Oklahoma where tornadoes are frequent and my house number was 442. My emotional “sense of place“ at the time is also displayed. My husband was deployed to Iraq. I was raising our two children by myself while completing my BFA. Talk about stress! But I managed to survive and be stronger for it.


I love storms—not the destruction, but the feeling in the air and colors in the sky. That’s probably influenced from residing in both Iowa and Oklahoma for many years of my life—both notorious for being in Tornado Alley. The painting “Oklahoma Afternoon” is based on a memory of an afternoon sky I viewed from my backyard.

Oklahoma Afternoon-oil-10x20

Oklahoma Afternoon, oil,10×20. © Rebecca Dierickx

I now live in a gorgeous part of Colorado where I’m creating a new sense of place. Nevertheless the trees, rolling hills, and stormy skies are still my favorite vistas.

Contemplative Day-oil 9x12

Contemplative Day, oil,  9×12. ©Rebecca Dierickx

“Contemplative Day” is a view near my home in Colorado; but the influences from my youth show through. Understanding my ‘sense of place’ helps me know the influences on my art.


Here are a few more examples of my work:

My summer at Rock Creek-pastel 9x9

My Summer at Rock Creek, pastel, 9×9. © Rebecca Dierickx

Vivid Autumn-oil 12x12

Vivid Autumn, oil, 12×12. © Rebecca Dierickx