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Local artist paints the unseen

The catalyst behind her art's late unveiling was the book she self-wrote, self-illustrated and self-published. "Hollow-Ways" is a collection of poetry, paired with relatable paintings. Olsen said she didn't have specific artwork in mind; the fact that her poems reflected what she paints was just a reflection of her creativity.

"The whole process of this book and unfolding has been a really beautiful, organic movement. Very naturally, the pictures and poetry went together and when I combined them in a photograph album, something extra happened. A third element emerged between the visual painting and the words that said more than either one could do separately," said Olsen. "That little spark I felt was exciting. My words give life to the paintings."

Olsen said she wrote what was in her head, never brainstorming or consciously moving in a certain direction. She paints in much the same way.

"I never say, 'I'm going to paint a picture of this.' I'll sit in a place or state of mind and try to feel the energy, the light, the wind or the colors of the day. It's that freedom, the spontaneity, the lack of a guru or teacher or preconceived idea that allows painting to be exploratory," said Olsen. "I think that's why painting and poetry went together so seamlessly. I just spontaneously let flow whatever was flowing through me."

Olsen is looking for a distributor for her book. Up until now, she's approached the business side of art with the same homegrown attitude with which she approaches life, walking and driving her book around to local bookstores. She said the feedback she's received has made her realize the need for a more aggressive strategy.

"I've been told the book is uplifting and has a beautiful message; very genuine. Adolescents tell me my poems say something they'd been thinking but couldn't put into words," said Olsen. "People say there's something about the fluidity and freedom of what I've captured in my paintings that make the words more accessible and understandable."

The exhibition at the library is scheduled to run through the end of February and Olsen already has another showing set to open at the Saratoga library in March. Her book is available at www.marjorieolsen.com, www.bloatedtoe.com, www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com. Those interested in her paintings can inquire through her Web site.

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