Santa Monica Commission

They loved it! Chelsea, a Los Angeles native, had a huge living room wall with nothing on it. She said she tried multiple times to buy art online, but she did not feel a connection to the ocean scenes she came across. She wanted something she could relate to, something from her own personal experience. Armed with a drone and a direction, Chelsea and Michael went out to find the perfect spot along the Santa Monica coast. I titled this painting “Drive to Work” because this is the feel good view Chelsea enjoys on the way to her job. And what a view it is! Thank you for commissioning me to make this painting!!

There were so many details in this seaside view! These are the tiny paint brushes I used on this huge surface.

I have my canvas stretched on custom made surfaces by Stretcher Options in Los Angeles. Many artists prefer to save money and make their own surfaces. The truth is, I do not enjoy measuring and just want to get straight to painting. The size of this canvas is 4 1/2′ x 5′. I painted it for a solid week and touched it up the following week.

Work in Progress in the studio. I bought myself an orchid to encourage my growth as an artist.

Inspirational images:

Wayne Thiebaud and Richard Diebenkorn

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books on a shelf


Books, remember these? I am constantly referring to art books for compositional and color inspiration. And the other books for pleasure or Self Help. Thought I would share a few sections with you.

Jade symbolizes nourishment and gentleness. It is known to bring luck and prosperity. So here it sits on my shelf as a bookend. I use a Jade roller behind my ears and on my face to hopefully reduce stress. It feels good, who knows if it is actually “working”.

If you want to read a hilarious, relentless book about selling read, “How to Sell Anything to Anybody” by Joe Girard. The title basically reveals his mindset, dive in….it is entertaining.

After reading Virginia Woolf’s “A Room Of One’s Own” I rented my first shared art studio in Westwood Village (5 minutes from my home). It was a huge game changer. I had been painting outside for 9 years before getting this space. I knew it was meant to be when I sold a painting that would cover the rent for a year right after I moved in. The space gives me the opportunity to develop many works at once. For the past 3 years I have had the space all to myself. Ten years ago I signed the lease -one of the best gifts I have ever given to myself.

I am so grateful!!!

Pirates and Farmers” and “Air Guitar” were written by Dave Hickey. I had the pleasure of meeting this Art Critic and Writer several years ago who told me to make work that is “Undeniable”. What an excellent barometer to measure the success of a painting…. Is it or is it not?

Love the work of Esther Hicks. You can view countless videos on YouTube where she explores the Vortex and living in our true state of Alignment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnFBz5QL9U0

“Big Magic” is an excellent book, which reads more like a stream of consciousness by Elizabeth Gilbert (who is well known for “Eat Pray Love”). She discusses creativity intimately using her own trials as a writer as a framework for the various topics she discusses.

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Carole King’s producer mailed me a signed copy of Carole’s memoir. She and Joni Mitchell are my favorite all time female songwriters.

Picasso is all black and white photos of him woking in the studio- His work ethic is highly encouraging!

Thank you for visiting my Blog!

Cheers, Marisa

Palisadian Artist Explores Local Landscapes

By Jennika Ingram -July 9, 2020

Photos courtesy of Marisa Murrow

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

Visual artist and longtime Palisadian Marisa Murrow paints iconic portraits of local mobile parks and abstractions around town and beyond.

“Part of the fascination with the trailer parks is the landscape,” Murrow said, adding that it is also related to moving around the plants and trees and changing the colors of the houses.

“It’s really exploring the landscape and human connection,” Murrow shared. “I was wearing a uniform up until I graduated from high school. There was a sameness I was very used to in school. It caused me to pass the surface and dive in to get to know people.”

She added that what is going on inside these homes is very special and different.

“I wonder what the person is like who lives in that house?” Murrow continued.

Murrow also takes commissions; she shared that some of the demand for her work comes from Palisadians who have left the area and miss it.

Growing up in the Palisades, Murrow attended Corpus Christi and Marymount High schools. Her parents, Phil and Pat, still live in the Alphabet Streets.

After graduating high school, Murrow left the Palisades to earn a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Murrow has since exhibited her work at Laguna Art Museum, California Heritage Museum, LACMA Rental Gallery and the Brand Library Art, among many others.

Her exhibitions are often small, intimate portraits of mobile homes in Southern California. The uniformity of these geometric structures appeal to Murrow, she explained to the Palisadian-Post.

“Inspired by the California landscape and densely wooded forests of the east coast, Murrow thrives off the complexity of these spaces,” according to her website and Instagram. “Outside is my home. Painting is my passion.”

Murrow opened her Westwood studio in 2010. It’s set up as a workspace and a place where she meets with collectors.

About three years ago, while a resident at Vermont Studio Center, Murrow branched out to create abstract paintings inspired by the natural world. Lately, she’s working abstractly and representationally, Murrow shared.

“When I do the abstract work, I’m physically working with nature in my hands,” she explained. “The thread through everything I do is nature.”

Murrow shared that she still loves to hike Temescal and Los Liones Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains and often collects nature for her work. She uses a mixture of oil paints, paper and acrylic, and incorporates natural materials she picks up while hiking.

“I like things that are in movement where the physical and psychological can play,” Murrow explained. “Much like German artist Anselm Kiefer, holding on to the things I collect in nature, these elements become part of the painting and the place they come. Like a compositional storm between chaos and order these richly textured paintings describe the restless state of a spirit being set free.”

Murrow shared her reflections on how COVID-19 has impacted her life as an artist.

“I think it’s business as usual with a lot more solitude,” Murrow said. “There are no distractions. What is challenging is that because I spend a lot of time in isolation and look forward to being social and rewarding myself for my hard work and there’s nothing to go out and do.

“I live alone so it’s been really interesting to go within, instead of reaching out for stimulation. I think a lot of people have been forced to sit down and think about how they are living on this planet. This pause has caused me to go deeper and stand through to that.”

For more information, visit marisamurrow.com or @marisamurrow on Instagram.

The Painted BEach

Like a surfer, I am in search of the perfect flow between form and structure. I want the viewer to be pulled into this neighborhood and feel immediately connected to the environment. There is a chaotic mix of industrial materials, hardscape and the natural landscape where palm trees prevail. I use colors that are vibrant, earthy and nothing like the actual neighborhood I am portraying. Drawing from my background in Landscape and Floral Design I enthusiastically change and rearrange the vegetation as well.

Painting During the Coronavirus

The way the sun sparkles over the Pacific Ocean in the spring makes me feel like I am on vacation! This one is small and intimate. I love to make paintings between paintings. The bigger works take more time and a small one like this gives me immediate satisfaction. I love the feeling of accomplishment!
I started this on a surface that was not well primed.
The oil paint did not glide right and then it started seeping into the board!
I ended up wiping it away after three hours.
This is completely new for me- I am searching and exploring ways of interpreting the Pacific Ocean in a modern, abstract way. The whites are the raw surface. Totally unplanned mark making in the sky. Before I begin painting I mix all the colors I intend to use. This approach helps me work faster and more spontaneously in describing the vision I have in my mind.

Painting: Walk on the Beach

SOLD!  Considering we are in the middle of a global pandemic I certainly feel like my art is doing its job! New ideas, new levels, new challenges. I do not really paint clouds because we rarely have them in Los Angeles. There is a thick layer of fog that covers us in July and throughout the fall, but these are not the beautiful, fluffy little clouds that pick up the pinks and lavender tones in the sky. I worked on this painting for 2 days along with other stuff sprinkled in between. I love woking on an intimate scale. 8″ x 8″ because I can get my ideas out, see results and feel a sense of accomplishment. This work is now happliy hanging in the Pacific Palisades.

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The Making of a Painting

I love the way the sun sparkles on the Pacific Ocean in the winter. It took me three weeks to make this painting. It is 30″ x 36″. I want to share with you some images that I referred to in the production of this particular work. The David Hockney of a setting sun, the Richard Diebenkorn image of a neighborhood and finally the flowing tree painting by Renoir.

I am now working on an even larger one in a square format.

MArisa Murrow. Ticket to Paradise

Marisa Murrow. (1)

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David HockneyRichardDiebenkornImpressionism. Renoir

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Books and Tea

At the beginning of every year I make a vision board to improve my life in some way.  Do you see the photo of a woman sitting outside a cafe. This image inspired me to take time every weekend to relax and read. I even joined a book club (She Reads DTLA) that meets every month near the Arts District. Below are a few of the books I read last year. In addition, we read Mindy Kaling’s “Why Not Me”, (loved this honest portrait of a Hollywood actress’s life) “We’re Going to Need More Wine” (Yuck-I just could not get into that one) “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” By Rebecca Skloot (Fascinating!!!!!) “The Last Black Unicorn” By Tiffany Haddish (She is hilarious and I really liked the format of this book-almost straight dialogue)( I loved seeing her onstage at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills-“She ready”) and “The Glass Castle” By Jeannette Walls (a sad story about addiction, tearful.)

vision board. marisa murrow

Yes! Thank you RISD XYZ for featuring me.  If you are a professional writer or visual artist, I would highly recommend the Vermont Studio Center. A whole month of pure artistic bliss! This invaluable experience has pushed my art to a whole new level-You can see the development on my website under: Flowers

risd. marisa murrow

“My Life In France” by Julia Child was absolutely superb! She is incredibly upbeat and disciplined in her craft. I just loved how she followed her bliss in the kitchen, teaching, writing, cooking, eating and loving on her endlessly supportive husband. The drink I am sipping is a fresh pressed ginger, turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, cracked pepper almond milk tea.

my life in france. marisa murrow. julia child

Book Club discussion day of Piper Kerman’s “Orange is the New Black”. These ladies are tough and what can I say, I finished reading this book in a few days! As an artist, I must add that the book cover design is very successful. Simple, clean and modern.

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“Brave”- This was intense and very Hollywood.

brave. teatime. marisa murrow

Here I am in my studio reading this book of short stories about writers who visit Paris. A fast read and great for in-between activities.

a paris all your own. marisa murrow

Best in Show! Did you see this phrase on my Vision Board? well, it happened. I won $1000, got my painting on the cover and had an article written about my work in REED, a California Literary Journal. Hurray!

california marisa murrow

Thanks for stopping by and reading my Blog!

Commission: Going to Miami

Ed, a California native, (now living in Miami) recently spotted a painting from my mobile home park series at his friend’s beach house in La Jolla. He was so excited, that he took it off the wall to find out who the artist was. Ed was looking for something similar to the piece “Holiday Weekend” on my website and decided to commission a painting and purchase a small study from another project I was working on. “Do what you do best” he told me. “I like the exaggerated palm trees, the shadows, the density of the neighborhood, the details, the cloudy sky, I just love, love, love your art” he said.

When I make my mobile home paintings, I am filled with intense joy.  I park my ego outside, get in the zone, stay curious and find myself endlessly challenged by this densely built environment juxtaposed with the sky and ocean beyond. I grew up on the coast, and consider myself a small town person living in a big city. At times, a little too trusting, but hey, that’s me.  Early on, my Father glanced at the work I was developing and said to me- “really Marisa, trailer parks? We sent you to the most prestigious art school in the country and you want to make paintings of trailer parks? And I said,  “That’s right Dad!”

I love the simplicity of the structures, consistent in size and materials. The sameness is what I personally identify with.  I was a uniformed, Catholic school girl until college and discovered at a very young age that we are all decorated differently on the inside.  The actual color of these homes and rooftops are a dull whitish color. I have taken great creative strides towards applying my own sense of color to evoke the neighborliness I feel these mobile home park communities possess. They are the last affordable frontier in Los Angeles and probably California. I love sharing this incredibly beautiful place and inspiring my collectors. Thank you so much Ed for hiring me to make this painting for you. I had a blast making it for you!

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Commission: It’s a Good Morning

Commission complete! I met this collector and his colleagues of Riverstone Growth Partners, LLC at a Mobile Home Park Convention in Las Vegas over 5 years ago.  This June, Scott called and said, “We want you to make us a large painting of a mobile home park”. Below is the finished painting and all the steps leading up to the completion.

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Oh my gosh, I match my art!

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Based on our conversation, I sent Scott and Michelle these three options.

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Painting table in the studio.

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Sold this Compositional rendering to a collector in Miami (Ed).  Ed came across my work in a collector’s home in La Jolla and called to discuss his plans of hiring me to make a large painting for his home. I sent this study and a few others that were slightly similar to the one he liked in La Jolla. We both loved how the painting is unfinished on the edges. It suits the environment, a little frayed on the edges, natural, relaxed, and free from confinement.

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Thank you so much Scott and Michelle for giving me this opportunity and for believing in my art! I enjoyed every minute of working on this project with you- Marisa MurrowIMG_7418

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