Artist Feature | Marcy Cook

Marcy Cook 

Marcy is the first in a new series on our blog featuring artists. This series is meant to share their incredible work with you as well as inspire you. I believe in art and it's power to transform hearts, expose our strengths and weaknesses, and it's ability to capture beauty in all mediums.  

Marcy is from just west of my hometown and we went to Baylor together. I have an audible reaction to her work when I see it pop up and one of my dreams is to hang one of her pieces on my wall. I know you're going to love her work and I'm excited to introduce her to you. 

Captured by Taylor Lord Photography

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Marcy - I am from Richardson, TX and I have been painting since I was in early high school. I studied painting in college at Baylor and afterwards went on to own a lovely floral design business called Stems of Dallas with my best soul friend, Katy for 6 years. NOW, I’m a full time abstract expressionist artist. WOAH! I love to travel, especially in love with Italy and hope to move back (soon), I love love love mellow music, chips and queso on a patio, my dog Bonnie and the fourth of July is my favorite holiday of the year.

What is your creative process?

Okay - The process for me starts in the seeing. Keeping my senses open, specifically my eyes (obviously) - I work hard to be attentive, to be disciplined in noticing. Travel for me is, a lot of the times, the beginning of the process. I love to be moving and doing so most times travel kicks my creative process into high gear. I start directly with a blank canvas - typically working off of color studies I’ve worked on away from the studio - I build an “underpainting” that will define my overall (hopefully) composition, and will later allow a greater depth to push through the finished piece. After that, I kinda just let it go - and move forward. A painting can take me anywhere from 24 hrs to 6 months (or even almost a year in some cases).

Where do you find inspiration?  

All over - honestly. I think that is the definition of being an artist, whether in practice or not. An artist is always “eyes open”, sensitive to it all. I try to explain to people how my internal thought life feels, and the best I can say is I feel like my mind is a big balloon filled with confetti, and all of the confetti are bits and pieces of sensory overload. Honestly, what I see - from that sage-y colored grey/blue sky to the sound of Gregory Alan Isakov on the radio in the car and the way the wind feels on my arms when I’m sitting in my front yard reading. It’s all sensory information I lock away and study and notice and pour into my paintings. Sounds overwhelming when I explain it like that...haha.

What advice would you give to other artists pursuing a full time career in art?

1. Set aside fear.

That has been the greatest challenge of the decision to pursue art as a career. It’s a vocation that is really misunderstood by the majority of our world, BUT, in light of that, it makes it even more valuable. To share and work in the business of beauty and delight and intention.

2.  Keep your advocates close - Those people that are championing you on, keep them as near as possible. The voices of the people saying “you can do it” are SO imperative to deciding each day to keep on keepin on. One of my friends says, “just keep swimming”. It’s the best reminder.

Just keep swimming.

3. Remember why it matters - My counselor asked me to write down, on big butcher paper, the mission or vision or mantra for my work and life as an artist - Best thing I’ve ever done. It reminds me everyday to set aside that fear, that inner critic, the fear or failure or being misunderstood that really can overwhelm me, and to take heart as I walk forward in doing the work that I see before me.

4. Write, for 5-10 continuous minutes every morning. Don’t lift your pen from the paper. Get it all out. Each thought. Write all of your fears and hopes and the things you notice and the things you’ve thought and prayed and what you see and want. Writing and pulling all of the “confetti” out of my brain helps me to work towards clarity and purpose in my day.

Being in the creative industry can be hard and sometimes draining. How do you manage a career as a creative entrepreneur? How do you recharge?

Draining is such a good word.

Well, first of all - rest. I have, over the last 3ish years really shifted the idea of rest in my life. I live in Dallas, and there is always SOMETHING to do, somewhere to be and someone to see. Busyness can be glorified in my heart to a very dangerous degree - productivity is honored over connection with God and I can catch myself patting myself on the back at the end of the day because I’m exhausted. Yikes! For me, personally, that is asking for an emotional meltdown. Literally. Haha.

So, I choose nights alone to recharge, and I choose to read good books, I love reading poetry - it helps to slow my little heartbeat and soften my soul towards tenderness and vulnerability with myself and with God and with my loved ones. I also love cooking - so restful to me - I love taking walks, so cliche… but true. Also, most importantly, time with the people in my life that encourage and inspire me.  

How are you inspired by flowers and nature?  

Flowers and nature - in every way.

Back to the idea of practicing the discipline of noticing. This is where that resonates most with me. There is an entire world in every facet of nature - The movement and intricacy of floral is and has always been the core element to my inspiration in painting, but I’ve more recently been studying color as it’s basic level - in nature - and how varied and rich it is, it’s not just a blue or a green, it’s layered with ochre and purple. I love the way God designed + gave us, so graciously, the gift of color and how healing and straight up good it is for our brains to look at.  It is the best gift.

Who are your favorite artists?

SO MANY. Oh my.

Okay - My all time forever favorite is Joan Mitchell. I study her work a whole lot. I travel all over the world trying to see her stuff in person. Her paintings are wild - they were wild in the 60’s and they still are today. I am basically forever trying to channel my inner Joan. haha.

Bobbie Burgers - her floral work is the most layered, intense stuff I’ve seen.

Helen Dealtry - she is a watercolor, floral artist and basically I am in awe of her color theory work - it’s rad.

Yang Yang Pan - She paints with such intentional movement and I study her layered texture a lot.

Monet - He worked on paintings for like 10 years. TEN YEARS. And that’s why they’re so entrancing to stand in front of. There’s SO many stories and lives painted onto his canvases and it’s just amazing, no words can do his work justice.

What is your favorite flower?  

Hardest question ever. I can’t choose one - Impossible.

I love a romantic antike garden rose at the very end of it’s life when it’s wide open. That rosy pink is my favorite color.

Sweet pea - I LOVE sweet pea. It is the best flower to press and I just love the softness of it, and it adds such a strong line in floral design.

Clematis - Happiest vine ever. I love it when it comes in pure white. And the leaves are my favorite shape to draw. I feel like clematis blooms are little cartoon characters with personalities and happy voices. (see, I’m crazy.)

Currently reading and listening to?   

LISTENING TO:

Fleet Foxes has new music out, so that’s been on repeat. I also LOVE forever the song “Someone You’d Admire”. It’s magic.

Gregory Alan Isakov, I listen to every day - he’s the most calming sound for my anxious/crazy brain. “Unwritable Girl” is beautiful. I write the lyrics to that song down, everywhere, because the words are so lovely.

There’s this song that WIllie Nelson sings, “Always on my mind” - I love it right now. It’s so tenderhearted.

John Mayer : “Something Like Olivia” - I was on a trip a couple weeks ago, and there was a card in my hotel room that said “Your room has been tidied up by Olivia” - then I got “Something like Olivia” stuck in my head ever since and it’s just the happiest song. It makes me feel light.

PODCASTS : OnBeing, The Liturgists + Shauna Niequist’s new podcast :)

READING :

“New Morning Mercies” - Tripp - The best way to start the morning. I love his reminders and perspective on the love of God and the way in weaves it’s way in and through my life thru mercy and grace.

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver - SO GOOD. Kinda rocking my world in regards to food choices, choosing to eat and live slow and local.

“Chasing Slow” - Erin Loechner - Back to the idea of choosing rest and pushing back this whirlwind culture of busyness + more.

“Small Victories” - Anne Lamott - I love her writing.

“Felicity” - Mary Oliver - I try to read a poem from this book every morning - She’s a master in the art of noticing. I LOVE Mary Oliver.

What would you say to encourage the creative and artist communities?

My friend and artist, Whitney Schlander shared this once and I keep it written on a note in my studio -  

"whatever your work is, keep doing it. Through your doubt, through your not enough, keep putting it out there. Your purpose, your art, will land in the hearts it's meant to. You won't be for everyone, but you are for someone. And to that someone, what you have to give matters, and that changes everything.” 

Lastly, where can we see or purchase your work?

www.marcycookart.com 

https://www.instagram.com/marcycook/

www.villeapress.com

https://www.instagram.com/villeapress/