Once Maren Devine has the spark of an idea, she lets her imagination take over. “I love doing flowers. Previously, I would work from ones around the house. Now I make them up. They’re more abstract. I do use subject matter [as a starting point] but I find if I don’t have a preconceived idea of what something should look like, I like the end result better.”
This idea of trusting her instincts has served Devine well over her career. She earned an MFA and worked as a designer, but when her daughters were small she went back to school and became a high school art teacher. “I loved teaching high school,” she remembers. “The students were so fun to talk to. They were fearless. There is a lot of happiness being around high school kids.”
But she also started painting every day, and quickly realized she’d missed working with her hands. She started showing her art. And soon she knew she was ready to make the leap and start working on her own art full time. She says her husband was a major supporter of that decision, which helped her take the important step.
Devine loves being a full-time artist, and she says she always has music playing—any music. “If I have music on everything goes better,” she explains. “I love jazz and old music like ’70s or new stuff that my daughters are listening to. Anything that sounds good that day. It just puts me in the mood. I’ll just have it on in the background. I don’t sing along,” she adds. “That would not be good!”
In addition to flowers, Devine finds herself drawn to painting marshes, probably because she remembers them fondly from her childhood. “We’d go for drives to the marshes [she grew up in Florida and New Orleans]. My paintings remind me of that. We did a lot of traveling growing up. We even have them in South Texas, where I live now, that look very similar. Some of the ones I paint are memories I’ve had or pictures I’ve taken from driving down the coast.”
Devine says she loves color but doesn’t have a particular favorite. “Right now I like a lot of blue,” she explains. “I love pink too. Last year I was using a lot of lime green. It always changes.” She pauses. “But if you looked at my paints you’d think my favorite color is pink. I have one large box for each color but two for pink. I can’t not buy a tube of pink paint. I love them all: the light ones, fuchsias, magentas…”
Maren Devine considers for a moment, perhaps letting inspiration find her again.