Rose Marie Prins, is a mixed-media painter, sculptor, and educator. Her work has been exhibited all over the country and is in public and private collections in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Keep reading to get an up-close insight into her inspiration, art process, and experiences as a visual artist.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the reaction that occurs when compounds are mixed, or when found objects are allowed to rust and weather; or simply the color and texture of soil from various parts of the world. Lately, it’s the leaves I picked while at an artists’ retreat in India that have been my inspiration. Ultimately, my involvement is with the tactile, sensuous aspect of materials—often nontraditional materials.
How has practicing art changed your life?
That’s a difficult question since I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t practicing some form of art. My artist father recognized my talent when I was in first grade and by second grade I was attending private, extracurricular art classes. I was always singled out as the “artist” in my classes at school.
After I graduated from art school in Johannesburg, South Africa, I worked as an artist in ad agencies in Johannesburg, London and Toronto. For a while I owned a women’s fashion boutique in Johannesburg called “Roses” where I designed much of the clothing we sold. Being Rose of “Roses” was a lot of fun but, after several years as a commercial artist, I decided to return to art school and focus on fine art. I attended the San Francisco Art Institute and loved it—it was enormously liberating after years of making art to please clients. THAT was a life-changing experience!
What motivates you to keep creating?
I had never lost the urge to create until after my son Jaro died in September of 2016. Creativity, in one form or another, was something I had always taken for granted—but then I suddenly lost the urge. It was a devastating period. Luckily, by that stage, I’d been teaching art in a variety of settings, as well as making art with patients in a local hospital for years. The discipline of simply showing up regularly and being forced to focus on others’ problems and concerns was invaluable. Plus, the fact that I often worked with patients whose illness was terminal gave me a different perspective on my own loss.
A Leaf in the Wind
Poems by JARO MAJER
Artwork by ROSE MARIE PRINS
Another fortunate occurrence was the fact that in early 2016 I was awarded an Individual Artist Grant from Creative Pinellas. This enabled me to travel to the artists’ retreat in India that I mentioned earlier. The eventual outcome of that trip was that I published a book, A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins. This includes twenty-one of my son’s deeply spiritual poems and twenty-three of my watercolor and Sumi ink images.
Here's an excerpt from the book:
The title A Leaf in the Wind evolved as follows: …
I had, for many years, longed to go to India. Like Jaro I love so
much of what India has given to the world, including its unique
culture, its delicious cuisine and, most of all, the spiritual path of
yoga in its many forms.
Shortly after my arrival at the Sanskriti Kendra I took a late
evening walk through the retreat grounds. Suddenly, I was struck
by the sight of a lone, bright pink lotus blossom emerging from
the dark depths of a pond. In the receding light of day, with the
first stars appearing in the sky, the bloom glowed as if lighted
from within. At this time, three months after Jaro’s passing, my
grief was profound. The sight of the glowing, pink bloom was a
sign of hope and promise; I experienced an epiphany.
After this, I viewed not just the lotus but all the trees on the
property as models for a way of being in the world—they thrived
in spite of the drought and New Delhi’s suffocating smog that
engulfed them daily. I abandoned my original plan for an art
project and started collecting, identifying, and cataloging
the leaves on the property. The names of the trees, such as
Krishna’s Buttercup, Bodhi Tree, Devil’s Tree and Tree of Sadness,
Teak leaf, watercolor and eco-print of a teak leaf, 14” x 14”
(one of the images in the book, A Leaf in the Wind)
Tree of Sadness and Whistling Pine
Indian soil and acrylic on Indian handmade paper,
12” x 9”
Inspirational too, was the golden soil on the property. I collected it and, using a mosquito net I found…, sieved it. Then I baked it to remove impurities and, using an acrylic medium as a binder, applied it to sheets of Indian handmade
paper. Next, I placed the leaves that I had collected onto the soft golden ground, carefully traced around them and then painted within the outlines with black acrylic paint. I created a total of eighteen of these sheets with black silhouettes on a golden ground. Before leaving India, I lovingly pressed the leaves between the pages of a magazine, saving them for the next phase of the project.
Since then the project has undergone several iterations. While at
an artists’ retreat in Mexico, I experimented with colorful watercolor grounds with tracings and collages of the Indian leaves. Later, during residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Virginia and at the Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France, I added the Indian leaf silhouettes that are included in A Leaf in the Wind. After my return to Florida, I used the actual leaves to make eco-prints—collagraphed prints on textured, golden ink grounds.”
Lately, the Indian leaves have appeared in several works on paper and canvas. As I explore their potential, they continue to be part of my grief therapy.
Free, Tumbling Like a Leaf in the Wind, From Life to Life
acrylic, American soil, collagraphs of Indian leaves, intaglio ink, on canvas, 36” x 60”
How would you describe your art in five words?
What materials do you prefer to work in and why?
The list is too long to mention here! I’ve used rusted metal objects, wire, horse hair, tar, mud, charcoal (even a charred book!) retrieved from burned out-fires in the hinterlands of the southwest. I can still remember the aha! moment that I experienced as a student at the San Francisco Art Institute when I realized the infinite potential of the plethora of mundane objects waiting to be explored. Often I use these to make conceptual points in installations such as the multimedia installations Homeland Lost and Found, Sanctuary and Sanctuary East and West.
Visit www.rosemarieprins.com to see how I typically use a variety of materials and media.
For the past several years I’ve enjoyed sharing my love of mixed-media in Day-Long Mixed-Media Workshops that I hold in my garden studio in St. Petersburg each Spring and Fall.
This piece is in the permanent collection of Hillsborough Community College, Dale Mabry Campus, Tampa.
Chiti Shakti, found objects, wire, mixed media on canvas mounted on panel, 68.5 x 27.5”
What is one major lifehack tip you would give to aspiring artists?
When I was sixteen I left high school to attend art school. That’s a long time ago, but I still remember one of my teachers at art school repeating, “art is five percent talent and ninety-five percent hard work.” I’ve since learned that talent is a great asset, but without hard work and dedication talent is of little value.
Myrobalan Leaf, from the A Leaf in the Wind series
Indian Leaf, American soil, cold wax, India Ink, Intaglio ink and acrylic on watercolor paper, 21” x 17”
Rose Marie offers Day-Long Mixed-Media Workshops in her garden studio in beautiful St.Petersburg, Florida each Spring and Fall.
The difference this year is that they will be socially distanced and masked!
The next workshop is on Saturday, April 17