We had the good fortune of connecting with Marian Fortunati and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marian, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My long-time career of almost 40 years was as a teacher and principal in LAUSD. It was a very challenging but rewarding career. However as I contemplated retirement, I realized that I would need to find some other challenging and interesting vocation to help transition from a very demanding job to a time in life which would still be interesting and fulfilling.
I began taking art classes. I am not sure why I chose that direction, but I have never been sorry I did.
Science had been my main focus in college and I had little art history and no technical classes.
However, over the twenty plus years since those first classes with John Paul Thornton, I realize more and more that that art will take me on a journey that will never end. Aside from learning and practicing the fundamentals, there are limitless points of views and ways to approach and apply paint that are ever-challenging. Each tiny change or development leads to new discoveries and delights. I love learning and hope to always be able to learn and grow.
After those first classes with John Paul, I began painting outside to create visual memories of the scenes and emotions I felt as I traveled and visited different areas near and far. I have met many wonderful people — teachers, artists and collectors. Those travels and experiences and people all affect the work I create now — they are a mosaic of what is and what can be.
Hopefully my work will strike a chord with others – either to inspire them to travel, to create their own vision or to simply relive a memory.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a contemporary California impressionist who enjoys painting outdoors. I use oil paints to create interesting experiments with texture and color. My outdoor sketches often serve as references for larger studio work, but are also special mementos of places and adventures.
I met my husband while I was on a summer vacation adventure in Venice, Italy. We were married there in Venice a year after meeting. My surname means “lucky” in Italian. The Italian translation reminds me that as I interpret my experiences in paintings, it is my aim to engage and entertain viewers with interesting forms and playful paint. I am lucky to be on this journey.
It is always my hope that those who purchase my art will add their own memories and meaning to the artwork that graces their home or office.
I am a California native. I grew up and worked in Southern California. I had a long career as a teacher and a principal in Los Angeles. After painting and studying art for many years during time off work, I now paint full-time.
I have had many learning opportunities in order to establish a strong foundation in the Impressionist tradition of seeing and painting shapes of light and color. Numerous historic artists, most notably Joaquin Sorolla, John Singer Sargent and William Waugh inspire me. I have taken workshops from many artists including Ray Roberts, Frank Gardner, Matt Smith and Daniel Pinkham. I studied extensively for over ten years with Master landscape and undersea artist, David C. Gallup.
My artistic style and unique way of seeing has developed over time. I am an award-winning artist, and my work is found in collections throughout the United States, Europe, China and Australia. I am an Artist Member of the California Art Club, and I’m affiliated with the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America and various other art organizations. I am a founding member of PAC6 Painters; an adventurous group dedicated to exploring and painting the beauty and grandeur of the American
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have many “best” friends and where we would go together would depend on which friend I was with. However, let’s say I chose a friend who was a painter and who had never been to this area. I would take that friend to many different places in the Malibu / Santa Monica Mountains area.
I love to paint with friends at Leo Carrillo State Beach. The rough cliffs and ever-changing water make painting there always interesting and challenging. Inland I find the areas around Malibu Creek State Park and King Gillette Ranch have great variety and views.
Right now there is a show at the Weisman Museum of Art on the Pepperdine University Campus called ” On Location in Malibu”. Visiting art museums is a great way to experience the different ways different people view and approach artistic creativity.
Afterwards, a fun visit to Malibu Seafood on the Pacific Coast Highway is always welcome. However, recently my husband and I had a great lunch at Nobu in Malibu…. A very different experience!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
John Paul Thornton was my first teacher. He taught me fundamentals and about some remarkable artists in history.
Currently I paint with a group of women who call ourselves the PAC6 (Six women Painting Across the Country): Linda Brown, me, Nita Harper, Debra Holladay, Laura Wambsgans and Sharon Weaver. We have a show called “Vistas, Varmints, and Vagabonds” which will open at the Santa Paula Art Museum on July 31st.
I have painted off and on for the last 11 years with David C. Gallup who currently paints mostly undersea scenes / diving scenes. He has had the longest influence on my artistic journey.