the paintings of watercolor artist,
by Kristina W. Martin
March 7, 2022
Everyone has had the experience of seeing someone in their neighborhood, school, or workplace, exchanging greetings while coming and going. This can go on for a very long time. Sometimes even years. Or, we may be acquainted with someone we think we know quite well, but we really only know our own experience with them, unaware of their other interests or history. Such is the case for me and my neighbor, Marilyn Lincoln.
I have been acquainted with Marilyn for years, have always enjoyed seeing her at church, and saying hello when she and her husband, Ken, would walk by my house. I wasn’t even exactly sure which house was theirs, but knew it was nearby. I regret to say that it wasn’t that many years ago that I learned she is a gifted artist.
Marilyn’s paintings captured my attention one day while on display at the Old Sloop Fair. I have always loved peonies. I even wore a large blossom from my mother’s garden in my hair for my wedding. And Marilyn’s life-size watercolors of peony blossoms are breathtaking.
When I visited Marilyn’s home last May to collect a photo and stories about her mother for our congregational Mother’s Day video, I found myself surrounded by so many of her wonderful paintings—gardens, still lifes, landscapes, cityscapes! I asked if she would be willing to let me take photos of the paintings sometime and compile them in a video to share with the people at church, many of whom might not be aware of the magnificent body of work she has generated over the years. Marilyn was humbly game for the idea!
As usual, the days flew by, spring turned to summer, chores accumulated, company arrived, the church building opened again, and we were no longer hard pressed for video presentations for online services. So, the project never got off the ground…until…we found ourselves ringing in 2022 with remote ZOOM services once again. Not that anyone would wish for that, but I knew this was our second chance to make the video—another silver lining.
Guessing it might be a relatively small window of opportunity this time, though, there was no time to waste.
We scheduled a photoshoot at Marilyn’s house. There are framed pieces on every wall in every room and hallway, more in the closets, and a large, heavy box full of unfinished studies from painting classes. Marilyn’s close friend, Sue Herron assisted in taking the paintings off the walls, finding the best light for the camera, and then hanging them back in their places. I left with more than 50 photos, and could easily have taken two or three times that many. In fact, I did return several days later, drawn back, particularly, by that box of unfinished works.
There are anecdotes to go along with each painting, and plenty of interesting stories that shape Marilyn’s journey. The narrative for the video is informed by the delightful conversations with her during this process. I have learned so much more about Marilyn than I ever knew before—her personality, sense of humor, humility, wisdom, her growing up, her husband and children, her travels, her studies and work, her keen eye that sees the world with a painter’s awareness of color, space, light and shadow.
When Marilyn described her “process”—how she would choose the subject for a painting, and the order of steps she would take to create it, I asked how she would begin applying the color after she had sketched a layout of the work. She replied, “Oh, I don’t know. It seems, sometimes it was almost random. Whatever would catch my eye … I would just start there!” (Intriguingly, it is in that large, heavy treasure box of unfinished class studies that one feels almost present in that moment when she might have been waiting to see what would “catch her eye”. Hence the title of our video:
Whatever Catches Her Eye ~ the paintings of watercolor artist, Marilyn Lincoln
Marilyn expresses freely and often how grateful she feels to have been able to invest herself throughout her life in her passion for painting, for travel and association with fellow artists, and for the many stages of family life. She has worked intensely to magnify all of these blessings.
“I’ve had everything I ever really wanted in life”, she said. “I am content.“
I, too, feel grateful … for the expansion that Marilyn’s life and work have affected on my own.