Layer Upon Layer

Marshfield artist Marcia Ballou’s cheerful, brightly colored images combining vibrant flowers, birds and animals are instantly recognizable. Rather than simply applying paint to canvas, Ballou chooses to create intricate constructions, employing not only paint but fabric and a variety of hand-painted paper as well.

She begins each piece with a pencil sketch on tissue paper, which provides her with the basic composition, yet leaves room for creative alteration as well. From there, she photographs her initial sketches and, using a software program, she “doodles,” using her fingers on her iPad screen. She then prints this image in large format on heavy watercolor paper. Then the real fun begins.

She delves into her huge collection of papers and fabrics for patterns that will express her vision, and attaches these mediums with acrylic. Finally, she paints over the entire surface with acrylic. At the end of her process, her whimsical, intricate designs practically leap off the paper. As detailed as each piece is, they are genuinely fun to look at.

Currently teaching her own “Create” classes at the North River Arts Society, Ballou’s focus is on less traditional, more fun styles of art. Her work is currently on exhibit until March 28, through the North River Arts Society, at the Ventress Gallery at the Ventress Memorial Library, 1837 Ocean St., Marshfield. See more of her work at

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