Marilynn H. Brandenburger (Artist-in-Residence, 1997)

Artwork shows rocks and driftwood
"Morning in the Cove, Scoville Point", 18” x 12” watercolor, 1997

NPS/Marilynn Brandenburger

Isle Royale Reflection

"My experience as an Artist-in-Residence at Isle Royale took place more than 20 years ago, but despite many residencies since, it continues to stand out as one of the most rewarding of my art career. I was in transition then: turning 50, ending a marriage, starting a new relationship, considering new directions for my life. I kept a journal while I was on the island, and my writing reflects the joy I experienced exploring Scoville Point and environs. Here are some excerpts:

"I love the way the morning sun streams into the cabin. With the sound of water gently lapping the shore, the intermittent calls of seabirds and the sight of big pines everywhere I look, it’s mighty fine."

“I’m watching a curious sunset phenomenon: The sun is to my back, already sunk behind trees. In front of me the sky is a rainbow layer cake. Blue- and pinkish-gray frosting overlies pink cake and a surprise filling of intensely light blue, all of which sits on a luminescent plate of still, dark, blue-gray water. The thing is, when I first noticed this minutes ago, the pink sat on the water and the water was pale blue. Now, as the light fades, the pink rises to the top of the rainbow stack like cream.”

Marilynn Brandenburger portrait
Marilynn Brandenburger

About the Artist

Marilynn Brandenburger was an Isle Royale Artist-in-Residence from August 8th to August 23rd, 1997. She has been drawing and painting since childhood and exhibiting professionally since 1980. After teaching art workshops around the country for 40 years, Marilynn retired to devote full time to her painting. An enthusiastic traveler, she enjoys translating her sojourns into paintings and illustrated watercolor journals. About her work, Marilynn says:

I love sketching and painting on site! The shapes, colors and sounds of the natural world truly inspire me, and being outdoors makes the challenge of painting the landscape a joy. So when my husband and I travel, I paint the landscapes we visit. I take along ink, watercolors and colored pencils, and I work in watercolor sketchbooks or on single sheets of watercolor paper. I start with a rough pencil sketch, go over the sketch in permanent ink, erase the pencil, then layer watercolor or colored pencil over the ink. As I paint, I make notes about the place I’m painting and my experience there, and later I expand those notes, add them to my sketchbooks and share my sketches and writings online through social media.

Marilynn works primarily in water media -- watercolor, gouache (opaque watercolor) and acrylic gouache -- on paper and on panels, in the studio and en plein air. Her subjects are quiet places, primarily landscapes, that provide respite from the frantic, modern world. The landscapes are natural areas that have been preserved and protected because of their unique beauty or ecological value, and the paintings celebrate these special places. Marilynn is a member of the Plein Air Painters of Colorado, Women Artists of the West and American Women Artists. She makes her home in Colorado with her husband, photographer and travel-buddy par excellence, Allen Brandenburger. You can learn more about Marilynn and her work by visiting her personal website.


Last updated: January 5, 2020

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