Eclectic Acrylics

Michigan artist Pfropper
says her fine art tells a story

Her approach has a primitive style
that employs much detail

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

Texture and colors are vital elements to artist Maria Pfropper. They breathe life into her detailed artwork, while sparking the viewer’s imagination to enter the realm she has created on canvas.
“I always enjoyed art as a fairly young child,” said Pfropper, who paints with acrylic on canvas. But in high school, Pfropper leaned more toward textiles than painting.

Maria Pfropper

Photo by Don Ward

A former quilter,
Maria Pfropper considers
herself a true folk artist.

That was until “my father bought me some oils, and I went from there,” said Pfropper. She eventually switched to acrylics and “I went professional pretty quickly.”
Pfropper said her favorite subject matter is to paint “what’s on my mind.” For this reason, she describes her work as “pretty eclectic.”
She paints pieces as if they were a story through symbolism. “The design is in my head. I don’t know what it will look like until I’m done.”
She has a primitive style that employs much detail. The fact that she used to sew and quilt prolifically is evident in each of her paintings.
There are many layers to her work and always a narration behind the symbolism. She cites her work, “Making Music,” as a perfect example of what she does best. It is filled with floating representations of Cupid, Apollo, Venus, Pluto, Mother Earth and animals.
“I consider this image my romantic version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, with the angels making music to the passion of creation,” she said.
Pfropper won Third Place in the Fine Art category of the 2011 Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art. She said she is always delighted when she wins a competition, especially this one because it is based upon such a “selective juried system.”
Every artist is “juried in every year. No one is grandfathered in,” said Madison Chautauqua coordinator Georgie Kelly. Although many are returning artists, “every year we get new exhibitors. This keeps the show fresh. We’re always presenting something new.”
Pfropper is familiar with many of the artists who exhibit in the Madison Chautauqua, who are her competition when it comes to being judged. She said their artwork is outstanding and she prefers to exhibit at the Madison Chautauqua because it is “somewhat smaller than some other shows and is a great venue near the water.”
At home in Michigan, “I do a lot of shows around the water,” Pfropper said. She has traveled to shows in Missouri, Minnesota and Florida, and displayed her work at all types of shows in Ann Arbor, Mich., and at many different art galleries.
She would “love to live in Madison in an historic home,” for inspiration, she said. She is working on a riverboat image that she hopes to present next year in Madison.
Pfropper said she has won quite a few awards this year for her multifaceted artwork. She accepts many commission assignments as well, and one of her honors has been to create a Christmas tree ornament for the Smithsonian Institution. She said she would like to be able to have time to create more original paintings in the future.
When asked where her inspiration comes from, Pfropper said, “Basically, I’m a true folk artist.”


Madison Chautauqua Archived Articles
2014 2013


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