Marianna Victoria Mashek’s watercolors to grace exhibit at Santa Barbara Tennis Club
Santa Barbara artist Marianna Victoria Mashek has traveled overseas to find inspiration.
She has found it in places like Italy and France, where the scenery has led her to create expressive watercolors.
“In Paris, I would sketch and draw. The last time I was there was 2019. I hope to go back,” Ms. Mashek told the News-Press. “I love the French aesthetic, the beauty and the architecture.”
Her art is now gracing an exhibit, “In Pursuit of Beauty,” at the Santa Barbara Tennis Club, 2375 Foothill Road.
It’s part of the club’s 2nd Friday Art series, and a reception in Ms. Mashek’s honor will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. July 8 at the club.
One of her paintings is of Yaroslavna, the Protectress of Kyiv. She plans to donate the proceeds from the sale of it to the World Central Kitchen to benefit Ukraine.
“I painted her five years ago,” Ms. Mashek said. “I was thinking about this show when the war in Ukraine broke out.”
Ms. Mashek’s artwork has been described as a personal journey of both the inner world and outward expressions and nuances of love, romance and culture.
“I would say I’m inspired by nature, folk lore, fantasy, imagination and emotions,” the Santa Barbara native said.
“I love watercolors,” she continued. “I’ve used different mediums, but I’m the most free and expressive with watercolors.
“I like colors, but I definitely like the ocean’s colors,” Ms. Mashek said.
Ms. Mashek uses watercolor to allow for lyrical storytelling and “auspicious accidents.”
“ ‘Auspicious’ means lucky,” she told the News-Press. “You dip your brush down on the paper, and maybe it (the paint) flows a little bit too much. You let it. It turns out to be beautiful.”
Her vision is to have her artwork “inspire others to delight in beauty, love and their own dreams.”
Ms. Mashek shows a definite talent for capturing landscapes and buildings, but she also knows how to make her work compelling by featuring people.
Ms. Mashek said some women have told her they felt inspired when they saw her painting, which is of a woman at the end of a wharf by the ocean, at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center in Santa Barbara.
“I want to touch people’s hearts and their emotions,” she said. “My goal would be to inspire and touch and move others with my art.”
For another painting, “A Spanish Afternoon,” Ms. Mashek took a beautiful setting and imagined a classic Spanish woman, maybe a peasant, in the afternoon looking off into the sea.
“It just looked like a really warm, beautiful Spanish afternoon, maybe similar to Santa Barbara,” Ms. Mashek said. “I created this person from my imagination.”
Ms. Masek learned about art from her mother, who, along with her father, was an immigrant from Europe. Her mother, Odessa native Galina Sakharoff Mashek (who left Ukraine during the 1917-23 Russian Revolution), taught her perspective, proportion, composition, drawing and watercolors.
Galina attended the Royal School of the Arts in Belgrade and shared her knowledge with others.
“My mother was the art teacher during the last year of the Montecito School for the Girls in the Casa Dorinda building,” Ms. Mashek said, referring to the mid-1950s. “Very prestigious daughters of important people went to this school.”
As of part of her own studies, Ms. Mashek took art classes at schools. She graduated in 1965 from Santa Barbara High School and earned her bachelor’s in art in 1969 at UCSB. After raising her sons, she returned to school and earned her master’s in art administration at Antioch University. She later worked in art administration for the Santa Barbara Arts Council, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and, from 1989 until her retirement in 2017, at Santa Barbara City College.