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Creative space

Oak Crest artist finds inspiration at home

Created date

June 20th, 2014
woman in front of picture

Maxine Marshall spends a lot of time in her kitchen. But instead of a spoon or a spatula, Maxine uses a paintbrush to satisfy her creative appetite. 

“I use my kitchen as a painting studio,” says Maxine, who lives at Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md. “We have a variety of restaurants right here in the community, so I don’t have to cook. All I ever really use is my microwave to heat something up.” 

The rest of her one-bedroom apartment is like a gallery adorned with a number of her paintings and unique hand-painted furniture pieces. 

“I’ve always enjoyed art. When I was little, I liked to draw, but I never had any paints other than those little boxes of watercolors every child has, which never seemed to work for me,” says Maxine. 

Late bloomer

It wasn’t until she later became a wife and mother that a neighbor sparked her interest in painting. Once Maxine got started, she never stopped.

“I found that I really liked painting because it was very freeing to me,” says Maxine. “When I paint, there are no rules. I can meander around and experiment with different color schemes until I find something I like. If something doesn’t turn out the way I want, I just paint over it and start again.”

Maxine began taking a few art classes at Towson University and the Maryland Institute College of Art and set up a 30- by 40-foot art studio in her Reisterstown home.

“I would paint all day while the kids were in school,” says Maxine. “I painted landscapes, flowers, abstracts, seascapes—whatever was in my mind. Eventually, I began participating at art shows and would sell a little bit of this and a little bit of that.”

Maxine’s late husband Anthony helped with the logistics of framing, packaging, and transporting her artwork to shows from Chicago to Florida.

“After my husband passed away, I wasn’t able to travel to shows and transport all the paintings because they were just too big. Now when I paint, I’m trying to work on a smaller scale,” says Maxine.

Although she plans to scale down the size of her work, Maxine can’t predict what her paintings will look like. 

“Sometimes, I’m surprised myself at how a piece turns out,” she says. “I never know what I’m going to paint before I start. Since I moved to Oak Crest, I’ve been painting a lot of landscapes.”

But, she says, you won’t find her setting up her easel anywhere outside of her studio. 

“I go with whatever I see in my mind. If it’s there, I can get it out. When I’m working on a piece, I’m completely immersed in what I’m doing. I’m in my head dreaming along, doing what I do. Some of my best pieces have only taken me two hours to paint, while others have taken six months.”

Trash to treasure

Aside from her traditional acrylic-on-canvas paintings, Maxine also hand-paints furniture—turning used chairs, tables, china cabinets, and other pieces into one-of-a-kind masterpieces. 

“I look for chairs and tables that have interesting shapes or curves, sand them down, and paint them,” says Maxine. “Once, I even got a chair out of someone’s garbage for $5. It has a beautiful velvet seat, interesting-looking legs, and beadwork where the spindles once were.”  That chair now sits next to another hand-painted piece, a turquoise dresser near the front door of Maxine’s home. 

Since moving to Oak Crest a little over a year ago, Maxine paints regularly though not as much as she would like to. 

“I’ve been part of a theatrical group through the Community College of Baltimore County Essex called the Senior Star Showcase for the last 25 years,” says Maxine. “We are just finishing up our last performance, and I haven’t had a chance to do much of anything else.” 

But before she starts any new pieces, Maxine says she still has a few paintings she would like to finish. 

“Honestly, I never really feel like I’m finished with a piece,” says Maxine. “I can look at it a day later or a week later and always see something I could change.”