Sequim couple find solace, understanding in art
by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
Sometimes married people have a difficult time seeing eye-to-eye.
For Sequim couple Marian and Roger Morris, that's not usually a problem.
When Marian wants to understand where her husband is coming from, she simply steps into his studio.
"It is a lot of fun for me to see the world through my husband's eyes," Marian said. "We can talk about images but, really, it's seeing his photographs that lets me understand what he thinks is important."
The feeling, Roger agreed, is mutual.
"I really enjoy the way artwork can give me the feeling of being in a certain place or perhaps a certain mood," he said, describing art as a "good form of communication."
"With Marian's paintings," he continued, "I'm often happily reminded of how striking the scenes were in places we've visited."
Just as they work side-by-side at home, the couple are showing their works together at the Sequim Library through November.
"We have always enjoyed visiting libraries and the Sequim Library is such a comfortable place," Marian said fondly, adding that the recent interior redecoration makes the library an "elegant setting for art appreciation."
"I think the Sequim Library is a great place for art," Roger seconded. "Art tells stories and, at the library, it's set in a place filled with stories."
Marian and Roger lived and worked in Washington, D.C., before moving to Seattle in 1997 and then Sequim in 2000. A friend of Roger's moved to Sequim in the late 1990s and the Morrises enjoyed visiting the peninsula so much they decided to move here.
"All the local outdoor activities were a major draw," Marian admitted. "We enjoy hiking and kayaking, in particular."
Not to mention the aesthetic beauty of the area - truly an artist's paradise.
"My favorite way to paint is outdoors," Marian said, describing "en plain air," which essentially translates to "painting in the open air." The style of painting is completed quickly - in about one or two hours - before the natural light changes.
"The colors are more true and often the feeling is captured more successfully on-site," Marian said.
"Of course, during the damp winters here I mostly work in my studio in acrylics (but) during the warmer months I use oils outside."
Roger's medium of choice is digital photography, which he prints at home using "archival, pigmented inks." He also paints - mostly done en plein air - using oils and acrylics.
Marian has a bachelor's degree in biology and worked as a scientific illustrator for several years before switching careers and becoming a lab technician and then a patent agent. Now, she's returned to her artistic roots and enjoys painting with more freedom than she was permitted as an illustrator.
"To me, painting in a relaxed style is just as demanding as making an accurate scientific image but it is what I enjoy doing now," she said.
"In my art I lean toward a graphical look and sometimes toward impressionism (and) I'm drawn to interesting patterns, especially when they start to border on abstract."
Roger was raised in Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Italy. His family ran an oil company. He learned about photography in a darkroom with his father in the 1950s and 1960s.
"Thanks to early travels with family and a career with the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, I have seen many parts of the world and developed an appreciation for the landscape and for other cultures," he said.