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Merrill's Philosophy on Mobilizing Your Paintbrush

February 24, 2018

Merrill's Philosophy on Mobilizing Your Paintbrush

“Let’s give it a try” might be the best philosophy, especially when approaching the creation of any work of art.  Merrill Heubach did just that about eleven years ago. 

“I have discovered that painting is a way for me to express my impression of the world around me. Natural settings are what inspire me … colours, textures, shapes, movement and light.”  Merrill Heubach

Merrill Heubach Yellow Landscape Paintings

Yellow Landscape Collection

As far as visual art goes, Merrill started when she asked a few of her professional artist friends for some guidance and to be given a shove in the right direction.  Merrill said it took a little coaxing to start but she began with a life drawing class in Mahone Bay; this was her giant leap into the unknown.  As the classes continued, Merrill’s comfort expanded.  Over the past decade, her original classmates and teacher have been the source of her support and encouragement.  She is also in a painting group led by Susan Hudson – another Whisper Wind Gallery artist, who has mentored and encouraged her.

One of the things I find most interesting about Merrill’s paintings is that she never has a plan.  I want to follow her lead but as much as she says that having a plan freezes her creativity and immobilizes her paint brush, that’s how I feel if I sit at a canvas without a good idea of what the end result of the painting should be.  Merrill says that not knowing what she is going to paint can back her into the corner on some days, and combined with a lack of the necessary patience it takes to work in that corner there are times she just has to walk away.  She and I are exact same in this respect; those trying projects have been abandoned for a fresh canvas, but continue to call for my return. 

“I will try just about anything and am open to new techniques and styles. My sense of colour, shape and tonality are my strengths.”  Merrill Heubach

Forest Floor abstract painting Merrill Heubach

"Forest Floor"

As you will see with Merrill’s collection on our gallery, abstract is her preference, and even more so is a focus on abstract landscapes.  One technique that Merrill uses often is painting in the negative space.  She primarily uses transparent acrylic paints and inks, which is applied, layer upon layer, painting in the negative, to create interesting and often surprising textural under-paintings.  She then adds opaque paints to fill in the negative space.  The result of this process is unpredictable, which delights her.

Merrill has had her work shown in:

If you are in Lunenburg when the Art-in-Action studio tour happens this year, you really should check it out.  Artists open up their studios and encourage you to come see them work in their space, typically there are a few artists in action per location and the works can be purchased on the spot. 

Leaves Collection

Currently, Merrill is working on collage, combined with paint and charcoal, dabbling in watercolour and in her words, "truly just messing about".  Again, I envy this ability to mess around and see what happens.  I really must embrace that philosophy more often and just give it a try!  There is something freeing about being able to just take that leap and see where you land, and listening to Merrill Heubach talk about her approach to learning her art and then each individual artwork has me longing for that freedom.




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