Mara is a landscape painter and a printmaker. Her landscapes are of places that she walks and finds solitude and calmness. Her printmaking work is conceptual in nature and she works on themes about the attributes of the seven ancient Sanskrit chakras.
As a third generation artist, little did I know, in the 1930’s with my Great Aunt Celina’s passing, the seed of becoming a third generation artist began. My Nova Scotia born Grandmother Edith, after a few years, married her brother-in-law, Alvin Greiner. He was German in decent, with strong work ethics and morals. He was diligent in his craft as a professional photographer and worked for a renowned company called Underwood and Underwood Illustrations Studios in New York City. My father, Daniel Gillen, tells a story of how Greiner got up early during a snowstorm and captured the pristine setting of snow falling in Central Park. Greiner’s portfolio consists of photographs of early New York City’s buildings, early landscape images of the United States. He had the foresight of photographing Mount Rushmore in progressive stages of completion. His portfolio also includes portraiture, classical in style from his days at the NY Art Students League. Although he was my Dad’s step-father, he had a profound influence on my father’s future. His influence is the basis of my father’s artistic endeavors.
When my Dad returned from the Sub Service in WWII, it was upon Greiner’s recommendation that my father also attend the league. My father’s career as a commercial artist was based on the foundational training he received at the League. His painting reflected the style of the modern masters, Picasso and Braque. While at the League, he studied printmaking under the direction of Will Barnett. And as these wonderful woodblock prints that were produced during that time, hung in my parents house, I couldn’t help but be influenced into a career as an artist, specifically printmaker and painter.
My gelatin prints and paintings are on display at my shop Studio M, llc, Custom Framing and Art Gallery on 29 Cottrell Street in Mystic. Initially, I was working in the Defense Industry in the early 70’s, in design and graphics, when my engineering firm encouraged me to get my degree. I enrolled in Connecticut College’s Return to College program for Studio Art, while working and raising a family. While at Connecticut College, I studied traditional printmaking but then found that the chemicals used were toxic. I decided to find a greener method to printmaking and found a process called the Edinberg Etch. This process uses ferric chloride rather than nitric acid, and green cleaners of vegetable oil. I also found another method using clear gelatin, setting the gelatin, painting on it, place objects of different textures on it and placing dry paper to make a print. My love of printmaking included the love of beautiful papers, deckled handmade, and led me to conservation of art work. I interned working with a Conservation Framer Rhonda West and Paper Conservator Sarah Dove and learned about the new methods to preserve and frame works of art on paper. Studio M, llc specializes in conservation framing, recommending the best methods and materials to use. The shop is a wonderful sunlit environment, and also is a combination workspace and gallery space. In addition to my own prints and paintings in the gallery, Studio M promotes Glass artist Catherine Gibson and other local artists, modern prints and the Jules Andree Smith collection of Chris Bishop Fine Art.
Dan's drawings and paintings reflected the style of the modern masters, Picasso and Braque. While at the Art Students League, he studied printmaking under the direction of Will Barnett.
Oil on canvas by Daniel Gillen
Art Students League Exhibition;
Diamond Jubilee Exhibition of Fine Arts.
October 8-29, 1950
Four color woodblock print by Daniel Gillen
Alvin had a career as a professional photographer for Underwood & Underwood Illustrations Studio in NY. Photograph: Edith and Alvin Greiner, Grace and Daniel Gillen
Oil on board by Alvin Geiner
Celina Melanson Greiner with violin