Interview with Cindy Maram, Dig In Magazine
ARTISTRY INSIGHTS THE EXPLORATORY APPROACHES OF MARK LIFVENDAHL By Sharon Fiesel
Completely unencumbered by the restrictions and rules of formal art instruction. Expresses himself freely, without inhibition in his painting. Develops his own techniques and approaches which give his work delightful uniqueness. An astonishing talent, full of energy and spontaneity. All of these phrases accurately describe Mark Lifvendahl and his work. Mark creates what he feels. As a self-taught artist he offers to the world paintings which uplift, cheer, amuse, and inspire. It is that purpose which lies behind his color choices: strong, primary colors; bright, energizing colors; just plain happy colors. The colors light up a room, yet they are not glossy. This is on purpose, “so,” Mark says, “the paintings will absorb light, taking it into themselves and adding it to their own energy, rather than reflecting it away to be lost.” Mark's overall approach is to explore, test, and try...to discover. Due to his deep appreciation of what spontaneity and risk-taking add to his work, he has developed a number of ways of putting ideas on canvas. Those ideas are the subject of this article. Let's start with what Mark calls a dynamic form of action painting. “I rapidly splash quick-drying acrylic paints onto the canvas. Rather than the usual controlled brush stroke, a splashy burst of paint hits the canvas and each time dashes a little surprise into the image.” This technique has led to several successful gallery shows. Most recently, Mark pursues a new technique, one that also involves pouring the paint, but again with more risk-taking required. This creative process involves lifting the sides and corners of the unstreched canvas to guide the paint along the canvas resulting in yet another style of abstract flowers. Another style uses a technique in which paint is carefully poured onto the canvas with great control. This must be done meticulously if the forms are to remain crisp and clean. Drying time on works such as July 4, #2 and April 10, can be 7 to 10 days. The resulting images are often very whimsical and open to viewer interpretation. At this point, you may be wondering whether Mark actually owns a paint brush. Yes, he does. That has been verified! What does Mark produce with brush in hand? Pieces that are not far from his other work, yet still are different from them. "Yellow" was done by brush, but, true to his approach, it was done with very rapid strokes. The stylized Good Dog series is also brush work.
Mark Lifvendahl art studio and showroom boldly presents bright profusions of floral displays reminiscent of 19th century French artwork as well as whimsical dogs, roosters and other creatures. Born in Illinois and schooled there as well as in Florida, Lifvendahl, with roots in Guerneville, has traveled by boat to Polynesia and other tropical climes, and although having no formal art training, he says he began splashing paint and expressing joy. Mark says inspiration drives passion. He divided his “dog art” into good dogs and bad dogs and soon decided they were all good dogs which became his totem. - The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
What's new in San Francisco Bay Area Arts? This section will be updated to include interesting happenings within Artists Moving
and the wider art world. We'll also be profiling up and coming artists to watch as well as the most interesting local established artists.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Mark Lifvendahl's Positive Painting style
Yellow, 16"x20" sold
New Shows, New Artists, and May 22nd Reception at Riverfront Art Gallery, Petaluma
Artists celebrate the natural world with two new featured shows at Riverfront Art Gallery, 132 Petaluma Blvd. North in Petaluma. The Late Spring show opens Tuesday, May 18 and continues through Sunday, July 11, 2010. The opening reception, with featured artists and other gallery artists in attendance, is Saturday, May 22, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Mark Lifvendahl presents floral paintings in his featured show, In Full Bloom. His lively and highly colorful paintings evoke bundles of blooms in abstract fashion. As Mark notes, “I started doing completely abstract works. Over time, the flowers started to appear.” He adds that his work is “mostly about pleasing color and form that is meant to uplift and inspire.” Mark also cites Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism as influences on his work: “There are similarities in my works and the works of Pollock at Warhol. I use a lot of splatter and I am drawn to bright colors.”
From Artists Culture Magazine, February, 2014
Mark Lifvendahl, Winter Flowers 1, 2'x3' Acrylic on Canvas
Press Release from Riverfront Art Gallery
FEATURED ARTIST: MARK LIFVENDAHL By Sharon Feissel "In Full Bloom" Abstracts.....that marvelously creative and diverse category of artistic expression is where California artist, Mark Lifvendahl, places his works. Mark had no long exposure to art training, did no experimenting with landscapes or portraits. He simply picked up a paint brush and began applying colors to canvases in forms that are of his own imagining. What is astonishing is that Mark has only been painting for three years and yet has reached a level of artistry that already has people collecting multiple pieces of his work. “ I started out doing completely abstract works. Over time the flowers began to appear. The first year, I developed a lot of the layering techniques you see in the background of some of the flower paintings. Backgrounds are often cracked or blended, streaked or dragged paint.” Mark appreciates Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Those, he says, are what paved the way for what he is doing. “I would not say that I am directly influenced by any artist, but there are similarities between my works and the works of Pollock and Warhol. I use a lot of splatter, and I am drawn to bright color." Mark is also influenced by the bright simple colors and forms of Dale Chihuly's glass. Abstracts are often suspected of representing some obscured meaning or concept. Mark disclaims any such basis. “My works are mostly about pleasing color and form. The colors and flowers are meant to uplift and inspire. I can't say there is any kind of deeper meaning.” Mark specifically points out Spring Flowers 1 as an example of the power of color to affect ambiance. “This painting is all about bold happy, bright, uplifting color. The colors are meant to please, but so are the flowers. They have a bursting, exploding quality, and some of them are realistic. I hope this work has a bold, immediate impact on people who see it. I think this piece really brightens up any room it is in.” Certainly form, line, color, and texture are mainstays of abstract art--the very elements that dominate in Mark's whimsical, vibrant, high-energy pieces. As Kandinsky pointed out, color has strong emotional value, inviting the viewer's personal emotional engagement in a way that is seldom possible with reality-based works. This emotional tone scale is where Mark's works fall. Another tie-in Mark's work has with abstract tradition is that, whether titled or not, images often can be open to the viewer's interpretation. What do you see? Flowers? A family portrait? One-eyed aliens? People in the park? Lollipops? The possibility of seeing any piece from different perspectives gives it a continuous freshness, vitality, and spontaneity that delight both the eye and the mind. Come see "In Full Bloom" and be prepared to be delighted.
Mark Lifvendahl recieved a flash of inspiration 5 years ago. Since then he paints full-time in the North Bay. I asked him about his process and beginnings. It's clear that he channels a lot of positive energy.
Mark: "I have no art education and I never thought I would ever be an artist. One day I saw a TV commercial with a lady splashing around with yellow paint. It captivated me and planted the seed. I decided then that one day I would paint. I only saw the commercial once. Then in May of 2007 at the age of 39 I went to the hardware store and bought four quarts of paint and some brushes. It was a very hot day and I sat in the shade of a tree and started painting. After painting on sheets of paper I looked around for something more solid to paint on. There was a leftover roll of roof paper and I started using that. I got great satisfaction and pleasing results from the beginning. After only a few months I was also being rewarded with recognition from local galleries and then I was offered shows.
I would not say that I am influenced by any one artist. I am influenced by color and form and I am inspired by certain artists, especially by painters creating large, colorful, optimistic art.
Currently I am painting full-time but I am always seeking employment, mostly in the wine industry to pay bills. Art takes up most of my time, the process happens naturally and I do not have to force it. Sometimes at night I draw with ink on paper.
I paint as soon as I am done with my morning coffee. I stay busy building panels, priming panels, straining paints and when everything is ready, I paint. I have several different styles. I have poured paint techniques and I also do tiki/totem creatures using brushes. I buy latex paint by the gallon, often on sale. It is economical and it drys fast. There is a music channel on Cable TV I usually listen to elevator music when I paint. It is both soothing and uplifting. I paint outside when it is not too hot or raining. In the summer I start earlier because it can get too hot to be in the sun. After painting, I clean up. I am learning to simplify the process so that clean up is easier. The process can be physically demanding and after several hours my body is sore. I will often nap after painting, especially in the summer. I also spend hours online applying for grants and shows, designing postcards and promotional pieces. I also build my websites and post/interface on Facebook. Everyday I also make time for some yoga and a walk. Most of the people I have met have been kind and respectful."
You can see his work here http://www.lifvendahl.net or at his Marin Open Studios.
Sonoma County Gazette, October, 2013
Great Video of Lifvendahl Fine Art and the Guerneville art scene made by Kurt Kettler
Mark Lifvendahl Featured Artist Marin Open Studios 2012
From The West County Gazette, April, 2010
COLORFUL Show at Dimensions Galleria, Petaluma
The paintings of Sonoma County Artists Mark Lifvendahl and Mylette Welch will be showcased thru May 30 at Dimensions Galleria as part of the Spring show entitled “Beyond The Garden Wall.”
Mark Lifvendahl is a long-time resident of Sonoma County where he lives and paints. His large, splashy floral paintings are created with acrylic paint on canvas and have a fantastical, realistic quality to them. The rapid application of paint lends to a translucent, glassy quality. It’s color, color, color which motivates this artist and his works.
Lifvendahl has exhibited throughout California. His works were showcased in Dimensions Galleria Fall show and are also currently in group shows at the Riverfront Gallery in Petaluma and at the Artist Xchange in San Francisco.
Longtime Sonoma County artist Mylette Welch is best known for her fanciful but individualistic dog portraits. Her humorous and nostalgic paintings depict childhood memories, dreams and everyday encounters.
Dig In Magazine May 2012
An Online Magazine focused on Art,
Film, Music, Fashion, Style & Culture
Press Release, April, 2010 Mark Lifvendahl Showcased at Dimensions Galleria, Petaluma The paintings of Sonoma County Artist Mark Lifvendahl will be showcased thru May 30 at Dimensions Galleria as part of the Spring show entitled "Beyond The Gallery Wall."
More than 13 original new works by painter Mark Lifvendahl will be included in the show along with paintings
by Mylette Welch. Lifvendahl is a long-time resident of Sonoma County where he lives and paints.
His large, splashy floral paintings are created with acrylic paint on canvas and his unique style and original
method of paint application along with the large scale of his works makes these works and this artist hard to
Although these floral paintings are considered abstract works, the flowers have a fantastical, realistic quality
to them. The rapid application of paint lends to a translucent, glassy quality. Occasional drips and spattering
of paint remind the viewer of pollen, vigor, motion and abundant life, like a flower just reaching full bloom.
Generous quantity of paint applied in multiple layers give the works a 3 dimensional quality and the
unabashed use of bold color make the florals burst off the canvas, pleasing the viewer instantly
even from across the gallery. The artist has a successful form and style all his own, but it is
color, color, color which motivate this artist and his works.
Lifvendahl is an accomplished abstract painter who has exhibited throughout the United States.
His works were showcased in Dimensions Galleria Fall show and are also currently in group shows at the
Riverfront Gallery in Petaluma and at the Artist Xchange in San Francisco.
Dimensions Galleria opened in July of 2009 and is located in the center of historic downtown Petaluma
at 115 Petaluma Blvd North. The gallery is a joint venture between artist Jerrie Jerne and
property owners Will and Jackie Mendoza. Julieanne Anderson, this show curator, is also a key player
in the business. Mendoza, a contractor, invested tremendous expense to create this large,
immaculate gallery including walnut floors, built-in cabinetry, and gallery lighting. The result is a
world-class gallery for fine art which thrusts Petaluma and the North Bay area on to the international art stage.
The current show "Beyond the Gallery Wall" opened on Friday, March 19 to a packed house and will run
through May 30, 2010. Gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays Noon to 8PM and Wednesdays,
Thursdays and Sundays Noon to 6PM.
Lifvendahl's studio in Guerneville is open by appointment and his works can be viewed at
LIFVENDAHL IN SAUSALITO
August 2 - August 31, 2010
52 Princess St., Sausalito, CA
Curated by Francasca Tapia, A.A.S, Pratt Institute
The paintings on display this month at Francesca Gallery are the creations of California artist Mark Lifvendahl. Completely unencumbered by the restrictions and rules of formal art instruction, Lifvendahl freely expresses himself without inhibition and develops his own techniques in painting. Lifvendahl creates what he feels. As a self-taught artist he offers to the world paintings which uplift, cheer, invigorate and inspire. Two different styles are represented this month at Gallery Francesca. Both techniques were created by the artist. The first is a dynamic form of action painting in which acrylic paint is rapidly splashed on to the canvas. The resulting works take the form of bright, splashy, fantastical flowers. In some cases the flowers have a realistic, translucent quality. The backgrounds are often paint which has been pulled and blended across the canvas. The second style uses a poured paint technique in which paint is carefully poured on to the canvas with great control. In some cases the paint is manipulated into images which remind the viewer of animals, flowers or human organs. This technique requires a meticulously clean and careful work environment as any wayward fibers can easily embed into the paint. The resulting works have a flawless sheen surface. The drying time on these works can take 7 – 10 days. Lifvendahl lives and paints at his home and studio in the Russian River Valley of California. The show entitled “Plucked” will hang from August 2 through August 31, 2010. There will be a reception open to the public on Friday, August 20 from 6 until 10PM . Show currated by Francesca Tapia, A.A.S Pratt Institute.
"There is no question that Mark Lifvendahl has become an accomplished
stylist of form and color and has become an artist of note.
The only question is: what marvelous approach, what new discovery will he devise next
and what colorful, vitalizing, flow of form will dazzle us as a result?
Mark moves fast. We'd better keep our eyes open." Sharon Feissel