Mareth was born in Maine in 1946 but spent her growing up years in Idaho and Utah. As a very small child, she pored over the illustrations in the family encyclopedias and began drawing pictures of the costumes, landscapes and people of foreign countries. From her love of nature, she created detailed drawings of the flora and fauna of the Boise National Forest where she spent her summers. Ruth Melichar, an exceptional artist and caring wildlife preservationist, mentored Mareth during her teenage years in Idaho. This woman understood and spoke her language – that of drawing and painting. Because of Ruth’s encouragement and valuable input into her life, Mareth decided at an early age she would be an artist. However, after graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Art History, followed by a stint in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, she raised a family and pursued a research/ speaking career. Travel to 23 countries in the ensuing 34 years planted a wealth of images in her artist’s mind.
It was not until 2002 she took steps to realize her dream of being a fulltime artist. Mareth is a student of Charles Reid, Ted Nuttall, William Hewson and Catherine Gill, from whom she has gained much valued instruction, encouragement and friendship. From the faces of Inuit children to the secluded beaches of Micronesia; from the snowy streets of urban Belarus to dust-swept hills of Bahrain; from poor farmers on tea plantations of Indonesia to survivors of Auschwitz; from the coastal scenes to the craggy mountains of her Northwest home region, Mareth is bringing treasured images to the fore and expressing her art with passion and zeal. She paints from her studio in Seattle, Washington.
My art is an expression on paper of what I see, sense, feel, hear, and respond to in my world. It’s not just a sunflower—it’s a burst of yellow and orange and brown and blue and green hues, arranged in a particular and unique pattern, giving off scent, hosting insects and positioning itself skyward to reveal the glory of its Creator. It’s not just another sunset—it’s the finality of day’s end, with new promise for tomorrow, cast in flaming red and orange, slowly silenced by the deep purple of night. It’s not merely a row of run-down buildings in a slum—it’s a series of shapes and colors, revealing the pain of the human heart, the darkness of things gone bad, the stench of evil disregard for human beings. It’s not just a fireman being spewed out of a blazing fire or the serenity of a nursing mother or a soldier at war—these are the sons of man, living out their gift of life with hope and fear, with perseverance and desperation; people who find themselves caught in a web of unmet expectations and delightful surprises. The daily drama of living beings, co-existing with ever-changing nature, comes alive underneath the movement of my pencil, the repeated strokes of my conte crayon or pastel, and the application of watercolor pigment on to dry, pressed rag. It is a privilege to be able to express such things—to examine creation more fully, to articulate emotions with the stroke of a brush. Although I consider my work representational, it is accomplished in a loose, impressionistic style. I am compelled to draw and paint. It satisfies and I am grateful.
I have a vision to chronicle real people in real situations with such clarity of purpose that the viewer has a heartfelt response and is moved to action. Moving the viewer to a place of accepting all human life without regard for race, color or societal status and creating an appreciation and gratefulness for the beauty of nature are lofty but very compelling goals for me.
I love to teach and give to others what has so freely been given to me. This motivates me to mentor and encourage other beginning artists to fulfill their creative call. For me, it is a thrill to draw and paint. The joy of seeing others take pleasure in the finished work is a true reward. I daily move ahead to accomplish the vision, risking new things along the journey and learning from every step.