Marin Mind/Scapes : Stories of Art, Nature, and Wellness celebrates Marin County’s natural beauty. In the film, professional and amateur artists speak of their art, their creative process, and how Marin County’s natural beauty has inspired their work and influenced their lives.
Some of the artists have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness. All the artists, regardless of background, speak of how creative expression and Marin’s scenic vistas have affected their artwork and their sense of mental well-being.
- Complement the visual works of Marin County landscape artists by recording and preserving the artists’ stories and reflections on their work
- Explore the roles of artistic expression and nature in promoting mental well-being through the interviews and a discussion of the artists’ stories
- Help reduce stigma by presenting artists who have a mental illness in the mainstream
- Boost self-esteem and hope for recovery among mental health clients
- Celebrate Marin’s County’s landscape artists and the beautiful natural environment shared by its residents
Marin County’s Artistic Heritage
Marin County is a 519-square mile area north of San Francisco Bay with a population of approximately 252,000 people. Urban areas in Marin are located primarily along the Highway 101 corridor. Nearly one third of the county’s population lives in rural, unincorporated areas.
Marin County is renowned for its natural beauty. Scenic sites such as Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods attract visitors from around the world. Surrounded on three sides by water, Marin encompasses abundant natural resources beautiful and rich in variety. Over 50 percent of Marin County—the highest proportion for any county in the Bay Area—is protected open space.
Protection of the natural environment provides inspiration for many forms of art and has historically provided the basis for significant cultural artistic expression. Plein air and landscape artists, in particular, have been drawn to Marin’s natural beauty. Historically, Marin has been home to many notable landscape painters, including Thaddeus Welch (1844-1919), Ludmilla Welch (1867-1925), Manuel Valencia (1856-1935), Granville Seymour Redmond (1871-1935), Percy Gray (1869-1952), Gottardo Piazzoni (1872-1945), William Keith (1838-1911), and Ray Strong (1905-2006).
This artistic heritage is alive today in the sizable group of artists who depict Marin’s landscape in their works. These artists are active in a number of annual art shows in Marin County: Marin/Scapes, the MALT-Marin Agricultural Trust’s Ranches and Rolling Hills Show, The Marin Art Festival, the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, and The Sausalito Art Festival. Many of these landscape artists, such as The BayWood Artists and the Art on the Farm group, contribute to the preservation of Marin’s open space and ranchlands.
Iris is a professional plein air landscape artist who recently returned to West Marin from living in Santa Barbara, Califor
Charm who creates art at the Enterprise Resource Center Saturday Art Group. She practices Tibetan Buddhism and has volunteered painting meditation statues at the Tsa Tsa Studio, a Center for Tibetan Sacred Art.
Steve Emery is a native Marinite with strong ties to the community. He creates small, intimate landscape paintings from scenes he spots on his daily runs through Marin’s open space. He is the 2000 Marin/Scapes poster artist.
Byron is a Buckelew client who has shown his work in prior Marin/Scape exhibits. He attended California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland on a scholarship and has taken several art classes at the College of Marin from Jack Scott, who is a member of Buckelew’s Board of Directors.
Homa loves creating art with the Enterprise Resource Center Saturday Art Group.
A native of Mill Valley, Tom is a woodcut printmaker whose landscapes are strongly influenced by Japanese woodcuts. His work Pt. Reyes from Double Point is the Marin/Scapes poster for 2006.
Kathleen received her BA in Fine Art from the University of California, at Santa Cruz, and an AA in Fine Art from the College of Marin. She has been a Marin/Scapes artist from the event’s early beginnings. Her work Mt. Tamalpais from Azalea Hill became the 1992 Marin/Scapes poster.
Sherrill is the 2010 Marin/Scapes featured artist. She studied art at UC Berkeley and Bennington College and the Laguna Beach Art Center and Design. She has taught art classes for Buckelew clients and encourages clients to show their work at Marin/Scapes.
Zee Zee Mott
Zenaida (Zee Zee) Mott is an artist whose deep love of nature inspired her to become a founding member of the BayWood Artists, a group of professional artists dedicated to preserving open space. Zee Zee’s painting entitled Marin Riviera became the 2004 Marin/Scapes poster.
J. Thomas Soltesz
J. Thomas Soltesz is a prolific plein-air painter whose painting of the Angel Island Ferry became the 2007 Marin/Scape poster. He rides his horse through the hills of Marin from his home in Muir Woods to find new landscapes to paint.
Former Buckelew client Matt Tasley was an accomplished artist with a Master’s in Fine Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Matt taught art for the Buckelew Program’s Transitional Age Youth-TAY program.
The Oral Histories
For the Marin Mind/Scapes project, I conducted oral histories of eight Marin landscape artists for the Anne T. Kent California Room.
The California Room’s extensive collection contains oral histories of Marin County residents: ranchers, politicians, environmentalists, and many other contributors to Marin County’s history and culture. Most of these nearly 400 oral histories are audio recordings.
Marin Mind/Scapes: Stories of Art, Nature, and Wellness augments the California Room’s oral history collection with video recordings of Marin County artists who have depicted Marin’s natural landscapes in their work. The rarely-heard stories of Marin artists living with mental illness serve to increase understanding and reduce stigma.
The oral histories are available on the Marin County Free Library’s Anne T. Kent California Room site.
The Anne T. Kent California Room
The Anne T. Kent California Room is an archive of the Marin County Free Library dedicated to collecting and preserving information on local, regional, and state history, with a strong emphasis on the history and culture of Marin County. Resources include books, maps, photographs, oral histories, biography files, early Marin County voter registers, clippings, and ephemera. Since 1974 it has been recording and archiving oral histories of Marin County residents whose stories enhance the understanding of Marin County’s history and communities. Its archives include a collection of nearly 400 oral history interviews and corresponding transcriptions. The California Room launched a Digital Archive in April of 2003 to fulfill its commitment to increasing the usage of its historical materials and disseminating Marin County history and culture to its patrons.
The California Room’s extensive collection contains oral histories of Marin County residents: ranchers, politicians, environmentalists, and many other contributors to Marin County’s history and culture. Filling a gap in the California Room’s collection, the project Marin Mind/Scapes: Stories of Art, Nature, and Wellness augments the California Room’s oral history collection with recordings of the stories of Marin County artists who have depicted Marin’s natural landmarks in their work.
These collaborators worked with me to create Marin Mind/Scapes:
Laurie Thompson has been the Librarian for the Anne T. Kent California Room, Marin County Free Library, since the fall of 2001. She received her Master’s of Library Science degree from Columbia University where she specialized in Rare Books and Special Collections. She is the former Director of the Book Department at Butterfield & Butterfield and worked for many years as a rare book cataloguer and appraiser. Laruie initiated the Anne T. Kent California Room Digital Archive as a way of sharing the California Room’s rich repository of photographs, oral histories and primary source materials with researchers everywhere.
Digital Archivist Carol Acquaviva has worked in libraries since 1990. As Digital Archivist, Carol’s responsibilities center on collecting, preserving, and making accessible, local history material, often in digital formats. She was instrumental in developing the California Room’s Digital Archive.
Nita Winter began working for non-profit agencies in 1982 photographing people in projects that promote social justice. With her partner Rob Badgley, Nita has created a stunning book of wildflower photographs: Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.
S.. Kramer Herzog
Kramer is a videographer who owns his own video production company specializing in documentaries. He is a fourth generation Marinite. His grandfather, Sigfried K. Herzog Sr., son of a pioneer family that settled in San Rafael in 1868, was the second mayor of San Rafael, serving two terms from 1915 to 1919.
Roy Farrington Jones
Humanities Advisor Roy Farrington Jones was a collector and art historian who, with his wife Nan, as a labor of love, privately collected over 20,000 slides of historic California and western genre paintings, pertinent to the study of California nineteenth-century artists. Roy Farrington Jones spent two decades photographing early Western paintings at dealers, auctions, and in private collections. He carefully indexed and organized the resulting slides. He and his wife donated the Nan & Roy Farrington Jones Collection to the Jones Archive of Early California and Western Art, at the California State Museum Resource Center in Sacramento. The collection also includes manuscripts and publications. Mr. Jones was a Marin County native whose ancestors were pioneers to the area..
The Marin Mind/Scapes project was made possible,in part, by a grant from California Humanities. Cal Humanities is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Marin Mind/Scapes is also partially funded by NAMI-Marin, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Health.