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Meet Maureen Gasek-Creating Art Despite Personal or Pandemic Strife

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Artist, Maureen Gasek, poses with her piece, "PANDEMONIUM JUNCTION" at her recent November 2020 showing in Aurora, IL at the Gary Brown Art studio. Size: 36 x 48, acrylic on panel. Her show there encompassed her emotional personal journey along with the "circus of 2020", as she describes it. Scroll down to view more of her artwork.

Maureen is an artist who knows how to dig deep inside her own psyche for inspiration -- then splashes it boldly across the canvas in a visceral explosion of color and texture. The end result is a piece that resonates…no, make that vibrates – with the astounded viewer. It’s soul-to-soul communication at its visual finest.

Maureen says she intentionally wants her work to reach inside viewers and generate an emotional reaction.

“I hope my art makes viewers stop and ask themselves, ‘How does this make me feel?’”

Maureen says she paints intuitively and knows well how to get those creative juices flowing. “I sketch, doodle, write words that capture my mood, and then I go to the canvas and start painting. I’ll use anywhere from 20 to 50 layers of paint and may even incorporate rice paper or something else I find interesting that takes paint well for texture and visual effect.”

Growing up poor in a rural area with few resources, Maureen didn’t have access to art supplies. Her father died before she was age five and life was tough. As a child, she figured out how to make her own sidewalk chalk by digging holes until she reached clay and then rolling it up into something resembling chalk so she could draw on pavement. She ground up dandelions for the color yellow or berries for blue or purple for her drawings until she received her first watercolor set as a gift. At school, she was elated to finally have an almost endless stream of paper and art supplies suddenly at her fingertips.

Although it sounds like a hard-scrapple youth, her upbringing gave her a rare opportunity to experience nature firsthand – how to look at the natural beauty around her from digging in the dirt and exploring nearby open fields to studying the sky -- both day and night. Elements you’ll see in the artwork she produces today.

As an adult, Maureen’s life was anything but a cakewalk. Over a period of 10-plus years, she experienced a failed relationship, negative friendships, bankruptcy, business loss, emotional abuse, cancer, no health insurance, the loss of her brother, and that doesn’t even describe all of it.

“We were definitely a Jerry Springer family on steroids,” she observes.

With only one way to go but up, this feisty phoenix rose from the ashes of her life to now enjoying a great job with full benefits, embracing new and positive relationships, obtaining commissions for her artwork, and the ability to embrace life without overly caring about possessions.

She studied at the University of Wisconsin, Stout, graduating with honors, concentrating in graphic design, painting, metals and photography. She teaches art classes and workshops across the country and at Lilly Studios – her home-based art studio in Aurora, IL. She was chosen to train with Golden Artist Colors and is now a certified Golden Artists Educator. She has received various awards, and has been published in American Art Collector magazine, judges art shows and her work is featured in the Water Street Studios Collective Gallery in Batavia, IL.

Over the years, Maureen has supported many charitable organizations with her talent. One of her favorites is the Alzheimer's Unforgettable Art Live Paint event held in Rockford, IL where she has been a regular participant for more than 13 years. You might say that Maureen has definitely learned the importance of "painting" it forward and does so with gusto!

Scroll down for more examples of Maureen’s work.

FIRE FLOWER from Maureen's FIRE Series -- see her website for details.

PERSEPHONE'S REUNION from the Persephone Demeter Series; see Maureen's website for details

SUMMER GARDEN; Maureen's Natural Movement Series; see Maureen's website for info

CIVIC CIRCUS from the November 2020 gallery showing at Gary Brown Art in Aurora, IL;

Size: 36 x 48; acrylic on canvas.

Here's the lighter side of Maureen -- her act together and taking it on the road!! Way to go, Maureen :)


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