Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Meet BWAC Artist: Donnelly Marks

         Donnelly and I have had a chance to get acquainted as new members of BWAC. I have great respect and admiration for her as a person and an artist. She is very creative and prolific and I enjoy watching her work on Instagram as it evolves.  Turns out, as you will see, she is very eloquent as well. Read on. 

                           Wing Nº 1, 20"x30", photographic collage on 140 lb watercolor paper

1.     Why do you make art?


Creating art is an exhilarating, magical, mind-altering experience and to get lost in the process is a wonderful feeling. Making art puts me right in the moment as well. There’s nothing like being in the now to lift the spirits, which is especially helpful in times like we’re going through now with Covid.


2.     What tools/materials do you find essential in your studio?


Certainly my eyes and intuition are top studio essentials. With these two as my primary tools, I can work with – and do work with - almost any material or process: a camera to shoot photographic still life; sumi brush for ink paintings; sun, water and chemicals to develop Cyanotype prints; hammer, nails and glue to assemble found and recycled materials into sculpture or collage. Even the crudest, simplest tool can be used to great purpose if the vision is there.


3.    Where do you find inspiration?


Other artists’ work inspires me. Poems and words--music and dance inspire. The tactile, raw nature, intriguing texture and character of found objects inspire me a lot as well. I don’t see these inspirations as their original self, instead, I see them as entirely new and fresh ideas. They percolate in my brain and serve as a wellspring that drives my response to the raw material I am working with. I try to stay open and allow the combination of collected inspirations and life experience lead the way intuitively in the creative process.


4. How long have you been a member of BWAC and what has been the greatest benefit?


I joined BWAC a year ago. The member benefits, for me, are many. Getting to know the BWAC art community has been terrific, especially as art is often such a solitary occupation. The top notch juried shows, the professionally and beautifully installed gallery space, access to an Artsy page, the makers’ market and the newly launched BWAC Buzz are all valuable benefits for an artist.


5. Ask yourself the question you wish I had asked about your work/life/art.


Is humor important to you in your work?

Yes, humor is definitely important in both my life and art. As Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt “. The joie de vivre, vitality and enthusiasm that are an integral part of humor, plug me into a deep appreciation of life, even through life’s hardest challenges and deepest grief. I also believe humor springs from authentic expression, which often means pushing forward and digging deeper in spite of fear, to experience and create in what I call “free fall” space. When composing on this broader spectrum, I find humor has a way of working its way into my art. I love when people see and find that spark.



Title: Totem 2

Created: 2021

Materials: Fiber assemblage

Dimensions: 7’ x 4.5’ x 3’



6. Please include one image of work you think best represents your creative vision. Why? Be sure to provide the size and media of the image you are sending me. I also pick something from your website to include.


The evolution of Totem 2 below exemplifies well all I have described above. What began as a response to an open call was forming into a small wall hanging. Drawing from intense personal experiences, spiritual ideas and creative influences during the work process, I suddenly remembered two large tomato stands in storage (my intuitive inspiration)! The stands were dusted off and soon became the framework and beginning of a seven-foot powerful female Totem figure. In showing this work, the feedback from viewers has been exciting and gratifying in how this Totem connected up with their own cultural and spiritual practices and experiences: Temple trees of India, Japanese Shinto Wisdom Trees , Native American art, another saw Wisconsin petroglyphs and, as a friend commented, humor and exuberance are evident.

Stay in touch with Donnelly here:





Queens Chronicle: Queens Chronicle Press Release 

Are you finding the blog interesting and helpful? Would you like to be a featured artist? Let me know. 


  1. Thank you for wonderful interview!

  2. Totem 2 perfectly exemplifies the artist's work, right down to the touch of humor. I love seeing how Donnelly's work has evolved. She is an inspiration!

  3. Moving interview accompanied by two beautiful pieces of art. Enjoyed reading Donnelly’s thoughts relative to art making, inspiration, and humor.

  4. There is always an element of surprise in Donnelly's art. She works tirelessly at her craft and one can only admire her for that. Totem 2 is one of her most outstanding achievements.

  5. Loved this thoughtful write up and the work of this talented artist! Thanks for posting.

  6. One of my favorite, most creative artists to follow. She is inventive with such a wide range of media, but there is always that I unique Marks sense of design. Thank you for this interview!