Featured Artist Grace Marquez | Artsy Shark
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Grace Marquez paints underwater scenes based on her scuba diving adventures. View more of Grace Marquez’s portfolio on her Website.
I was born on a tiny island dubbed the “heart” of the Philippines. I still think of myself as an island girl even though I was raised in Ontario, Canada on the Great Lakes. I’ve always painted or drawn since I was very young and pursued that in my education with a Bachelor of Fine arts. I dreamed about being an artist.
But then life took a new turn and I forgot all about it. It wasn’t until much later after building a career in design for marketing, advertising, and tech that I woke up and realized that if I didn’t take my shot at it, I would regret it for the rest of my life. So, I left my successful career of 20+ years to pursue my art because I just couldn’t ignore that nagging voice anymore.
So here I am now, painting my other love—the water world. As an avid scuba diver, it wasn’t until I started painting the underwater world that my art started to take on more meaning for me.
I paint the underwater world in order to share with others the sense of wonder and discovery I feel on every scuba dive. It’s not about capturing realism or accuracy but the impressions of light, movement and colour. I’m in awe of this parallel world beneath the water that most people have never really experienced. I want to share the beauty that exists in our world.
I’ve learned much about the water world because I get curious about what it is I’m looking at. Why is it shaped the way it is? What gives it that colour? What is its diet? Where does it grow? When did this happen? I’ve learned more about world history, geology, ecology, biology, engineering, evolution and more, by just getting curious about the world underwater.
Underwater is the only place I feel fully present in my body, mind, and spirit. I’m not distracted by anything happening in the world above the waterline. Instead, I’m fascinated by the metamorphosis and reclamation that happens underwater with water shaping, moving and growing life.
It’s an ongoing cycle of life and death underwater that continues with or without our presence. Our presence may slow things down, but Mother Nature always wins. I love the adventures that can be found under water.
The process of painting what happens underwater is for me a way to stay connected. I love it when non-divers have questions about it, because it’s in that curiosity that we as a species connect to our world and grow. If my art can help people see how special our world really is, and walk away feeling more connected and alive, then that’s a win!