What does it look like to explore the language of painting? How do you understand the language? What does it take to become fluent in it? I had the incredible honor of sitting down and discussing this fascinating topic with the artist, Maggie Siner. Maggie grew up in New Jersey and currently resides in France. She began her studies at the Art Students League of New York in 1968, graduated from Boston University (BFA) in 1973 and from American University (MFA) in 1976. I can’t wait for you to learn from Maggie’s fascinating and unique perspective!
Habits learned early.
Do you have certain habits and lessons you learned early in your career that shaped you as an artist? What made those habits stand out in your mind? For Maggie Siner, those early habits came from her time at Boston University. There she learned the value of a steadfast work habit and working through the challenges and hurdles that life puts in the way. Maggie also discovered profound respect for the materials of her craft that has stayed with her all these years later. Maggie stresses that she is the artist she is today due to the valuable lessons that were instilled in her during those formative years.
The language of painting.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “The language of painting?” Does it take you to a place of deep intellectual contemplation or does the phrase bounce off of you with little meaning? Maggie Siner says that the language of painting is not merely about color, it’s about the transformation of materials. She goes on to explain that it also has to do with the abstract structure and arrangement of color and shape that creates the meaning of a painting. I was thrilled to hear Maggie’s compelling explanation of this beautiful phrase; I hope you get value from it too!
Painting from real life.
When I asked Maggie to describe her artwork, she was quick to tell me that she doesn’t like classifications because their meanings change so often. I was able to get her to open up about her artwork and what she tries to accomplish when she approaches the canvas. Maggie paints from life, meaning she is looking at her subject as she paints it. In her approach, Maggie doesn’t like to use photos or her imagination, the subject in front of her is of the utmost value. Ultimately, her goal is to extract meaning from the chaos of the world around her.
Stay committed to the process.
Let’s face it, our line of work isn’t the easiest or most forgiving. We all struggle with self-doubt and bouts of creative block. What have you found to help you through these challenges? For Maggie Siner, it all comes down to staying committed to the process. Much of her tenacity and determination harkens back to those early days and lessons learned at Boston University. She says that persistence and hard work are the secret weapons that keep her focused on her work through the good and the bad.
Outline of This Episode
- [3:15]I introduce my guest, Maggie Siner.
- [4:45]What led Maggie to a career in art?
- [11:30]Work habits that Maggie learned early in her career.
- [14:45]The language of painting.
- [22:45]How did Maggie end up in France?
- [32:45]Maggie describes her artwork.
- [45:00]Creating beauty in the midst of chaos.
- [47:50]Why it’s important to stay committed to the process.