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Marion Brennan
Marion Brennan

Beauty is at the centre of much of our inspiration. It can come from many places; a beautiful garden, animals from distant lands and even from other artists’ work. South African-born Marion Brennan can lay claim to all of these, with a mixed bag of wonderful sights capturing the essence of her work. “I love gardening and am lucky enough to have a large garden where I grow everything from our veggies to beautiful orchids. To see the amazing colours in flowers with the early morning light on them, or a gorgeous fantail flitting around me while watering is enough to talk to my soul. I am also very passionate about the African animals which in the main are under threat. I have spent a lot of time in game reserves in Africa and the wild animals inspire me to try to capture their unique beauty.”
African animals in particular shine through in many works from Marion; the influence also evident in the creative process, as she often has traditional African music playing in the background as she creates. In most cases, these creations are ‘scratch painting’. Marion follows a simple and effective 10-step process once a subject is decided upon. “Step 1: Take photos of the subject. Step 2: Draw the subject on tracing paper once my composition is decided upon. Step 3: Transfer the drawing onto the scratchboard by applying pastel to the reverse side and tracing over it with a pencil. Step 4: Using various tools scratch through the black layer of the board to expose the white clay beneath. Steps 5 - 9: Apply various coloured inks and re-scratch to get the right depth of colour, light and shadow. Step 10: Apply fixative.” With scratchboards to the fore, it’s clear certain products take centre stage and in some cases are of a special or particular quality. “I use Ampersand scratchboards, Koh- I-Noor or Winsor & Newton inks, craft knives, and Micro Mark fibre glass pens. Ampersand boards are gallery quality and one has to choose inks carefully as an ink that dries with a hard skin finish is not suitable to scratch through. I have to import some of my materials from the USA.” This attention to detail shines through in her alluring and striking work, the animals in particular ‘coming alive’ off the scratchboards.
Marion Brennan

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