Belle Marko
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About Belle Marko

I began art school in 1985 studying graphic design, a year later I switched my major to printmaking and developed my skills in drawing, stone lithography, etching, dry point, aqua tint, monoprint and monotype. To further explore the medium on my own, I purchased an old stone lithography press from Schmidt Litho, an old commercial print shop in San Francisco. Though I enjoyed printmaking, and still have plans to work in the medium again, I sold the press after graduation—deciding instead to pursue painting because of the access to the incredibly inspiring landscapes surrounding me in Marin—that were just right out my door. The immediacy of the acrylic painting process was also great attraction to me, as it avoided the complications of printmaking.

My painting career started quite by accident, really. One day I went up to the ridge overlooking Bolinas and saw something so extraordinary in the view toward the ocean—I don't even really remember what exactly it was that attracted me to the spot—but I did a sketch of the location, and came back the next day to paint. I had never done plein air painting before, but the experience of just sitting outside painting by myself brought me peace. I had a great first lesson in the challenges and techniques of plein air. The wind blew sand and weeds into my painting—and with really no option but to just go with it—the elements fast became a part of the painting, giving it a certain aesthetic cache.

Since then I have painted all over Marin, Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii and up and down the California Coast—hauling my blank canvases, paints and a little chair—making due with rocks and logs as easels.

It's been 14 years since I started, and along with continuing my plein air works, I now also do custom commissions for home, garden and landscape portraiture.

B. 1956 San Francisco o BFA 1990, California College of Arts and Crafts

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