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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Visual Art: Painting
Publisher’s Note: 250 words
By MaRco Elliott

Pochade à Neptune


Pochade à Neptune: Painting (29 Sept. 2020) by MaRco Elliott

Pochade à Neptune (Sketch of Neptune)
(Gouache and watercolor on paper, 09-29-20)
Neptune Beach, near Newport, Oregon

Copyright © 2020 by MaRco Elliott. All rights reserved.

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Publisher’s Note:

As the artist described this painting in an email to me (dated 8 October 2020): “The colors were highly unusual and quite inspiring.... I was reminded of the palette of the great master Pierre Bonnard.”

For me, this image is both beautiful and heart-breaking; and, having recently experienced here in Oregon what seemed like apocalyptic smoke-and-ash-filled skies for days on end, I marvel that the artist has captured the eerie colors and atmosphere of the climate crisis so well in a plein-air sketch. Seems almost magical.

However, MaRco had no agenda other than his own aesthetic pleasure when he created this remarkable artwork. It was during a late-September camping trip with his wife and fellow painter, Joann Carrabbio, to the Oregon coast, about 70 miles west of their home in Eugene. “When I painted this,” he wrote in a subsequent email to me (9 October), “I had no idea that the surreal atmosphere was due to smoke. It could have been haze mixed with fog from the ocean. I found out later in the day (when we had internet reception) that the air quality was bad due to smoke from fires.” Neither he nor Joann had smelled smoke.

He wrote further that, while painting, “I wasn’t trying to make any statement about climate chaos or any other issue.” Instead, with a child-like astonishment, he was “very happy to find the wide range of moods provided by the coast....”

(Painting and quotations appear here with the artist’s permission.)

MaRco Elliott
Issue 5, October 2020

is a resistance artist and author who grew up in the foothills of the southern Mediterranean Alps and attended the École Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. As a young man, he spent time traveling in several Asian countries, Mexico, and North Africa. He always brought along sketchbooks in his pack. After settling in southern France, he was awarded art commissions for street murals, created a body of plein air paintings, and often made ends meet as a graphic artist/illustrator and by doing manual jobs, most notably as an apprentice stonemason restoring a medieval castle in the Haut Var.

While documenting murals to be featured in Le Pied du Mur, a book he was writing for a Parisian publisher, he met his future wife, Joann Carrabbio, also a painter and muralist, who was teaching art in Los Angeles. Soon, he himself was teaching art in Los Angeles. During that 22-year period, he was awarded commissions to create three murals with students for SPARC & the Cultural Affairs of L.A. and for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. In 2000, he completed a second book for the same Parisian publisher, entitled Secrets de la Carte a Gratter (Secrets of Scratchboard) (LTA, Paris).

In 2009, MaRco and Joann moved to Eugene, Oregon, where he continues to expand his body of plein air paintings and is working on several book projects. Read more about his travel adventures in his expanded bio and visit his galleries at: marcoelliott.com.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Coping: Stir crazy from being stuck in Covid-19 quarantine? Take a trip through the eyes of artist Marco Elliott, an art profile by Randi Bjornstad in Eugene Scene (30 March 2020)

Two Paintings by Elliott in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019), one of which, Low tide at Strawberry Hill, Oregon coast, is featured on the front cover of the 2019 KYSO Flash anthology, Earth Hymn

Art show at downtown Eugene Public Library reflects an artist’s fascination with the Oregon coast as well as the France of his childhood by Randi Bjornstad in The Eugene Review (9 September 2017)

Artist of Many Styles + Gallerist with Same Ideas = Eclectic Show at Downtown Eugene Gallery by Randi Bjornstad in The Eugene Scene (23 December 2016)

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