IMG_4083_HiRes_for slider

Marianne Philip

Traveling Through Time by Marianne Philip

I paint with household items, such as clay, make-up, and nail polish. I mold and blend these materials using various wood-burning tools, a heat gun, and hot glue to form abstract images on old picture frames, glass, wood, and foam board. My paintings of landscapes, dancers, and musical instruments contain beauty and movement; they are also textured, unfiltered, and raw. I could say the same thing about myself.

Video: Marianne working on her paintings. 

From 2005 to 2015, my life was consumed by major depression and chronic pain. I relied on medications, such as narcotics, to cope with my mental and physical illnesses. My elderly parents struggled with their own health problems, which was also a part of my daily battles. My mom passed away after three years of emphysema and lung cancer. Soon after that, my father ended up in the hospital dealing with a perforated ulcer. I signed up for Medicaid, but I did not get the medication I needed for my mental illness. Instead, I continued to rely on the opioids to help me escape from the world and my dilemmas.

My wake-up call came when I overdosed on pills while I was on my way to an appointment with my neurologist. I woke up in the emergency room, where doctors and nurses were working on me. They put me under observation, and I woke up later at a psychiatric hospital. In the week that I spent there at Christmastime, I was sexually harassed by the men who were on my co-ed floor. It was a horrific experience that caused me to lose weight and my hair. After I left, I shut out the world for several years. I finally decided that I needed a fresh start, and I left my family home.

In 2013, I moved into my very first townhome, where I started to paint from photographs with materials that I had around me, such as Q-tips, crayons, and Rust-Oleum. I had no formal training. In 2015, friends, family, and social workers started encouraging me to display my artwork.

Girl at Recital, 22 x 20", Mixed media, $125

This is an example of one of my paintings that is done on glass. It is made solely of nail polish, make-up, and crayons.

Lake Hope, 26 x 21", Mixed media, $325

This is my Lake Hope painting. I started out using Rust-Oleum and household items, paint, then went to using nail polish and clay. I blended everything together with wood-burning tools and a glue gun.

FROM TOP LEFT: Barre, 22 x 10", Mixed media, $125; Swan Lake, 22 x 10", Mixed media, $125; Centre Practice, 12 x 24", Mixed media, $125

I've been fascinated by classical and musical arts for quite some time, including operas. I've created many paintings of ballerinas. I started out doing scenes from Swan Lake, and have gradually moved on to using more of the ballet dancers in practice.

Stroll Through Central Park, 30 x 40", Mixed media, $575

This piece took me a year to make. On the first layer, I used a heat gun to melt down clay and encaustic materials; on the second, I painted with makeup and nail polish; and on the third and final layer, I used wood-burning tools to create a fence around the people holding umbrellas. I used cement sealer to create the reflections, as well as several different colors of spray paint.

Dawes Arboretum, 33 x 25", Mixed media, $375

This piece is based on several photographs I took at Dawes Arboretum during a trip there with my mother before she became terminally ill. I painted onto wood, where I had drawn flowers, and transformed the piece into a collage.

My very first art show was at Concord Counseling, and my dad was able to attend, despite his declining health. Since then, I have participated in numerous fundraisers, including the Art of Recovery, and have shown my work at the Mac Worthington Studio and inside Chromedge Studios. I am also a resident artist at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery's SEEN Studios. 


After my father's death the following year, I had to reinvent myself once again. Every day, especially now during these trying times, I use art to cope with my major depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. I have learned to be content through my paintings, which has given me a brighter look on my life. I have been able to see beyond my depression, where I've found ways of being more grateful.
My Traveling Through Time piece, below, is a combination of different artworks I have painted over my seven-year journey. It's dedicated to my father, who was my inspiration.

Traveling Through Time, 50 x 50", Mixed media, $1,090

Virtual exhibit produced by Lauren Pond

Scroll to Top