By SUZIE HARRISON
This first of two columns about Fitz Maurice and her astounding National Park Paintings series is written from my perspective and experience with Fitz over the years and my reaction to seeing the series up close and personal. I fell instantly in love with her work the first time I saw them.
The second column will be in Fitz’s own words filled with rich stories, anecdotes, and quotes, pure Fitz, insightful and enlightening, true to form.
Fitz is in a league all her own. I was blown away the first time I interviewed Fitz, as a cub reporter working with Stu at the Coastline News in November 2001, and ever since, I have always held her in such high esteem.
Before our first meeting in her studio, she had just been nominated by the International Committee of Critics to be one of the artists representing the US in the Florence Biennale, an international juried exhibit in Italy.
Over the years, I have written stories about Fitz and her myriad artistic endeavors, as we have always stayed in touch. Before I interviewed her this time, I remembered when Fitz went to live in the wilderness by herself – well, with a dog – in New Mexico around 2002-2006. I asked Fitz if her experience during her “Call of the Wild” adventure was the impetus for the Park series all these years later.
In a sense it was, marking the first time she painted national parks. She captured El Morro National Monument, Zion, and Yellowstone. That experience affected her to her core. And it’s what sparked her passion and her quest to capture all our national parks, our amazing national treasures.
For my story about her National Park Paintings series, I was so excited to visit Fitz in person in her studio and experience her latest masterpieces of nature. Despite having the highest expectations of herself, Fitz always seems to exceed them, insanely, above and beyond.
I had the privilege of being the first person to see these new works in the series. I was mesmerized, as I gazed in awe at her prolific work, these 10 powerful pieces that she had already completed and signed, all in 2017.
To see the series together, to feel surrounded by these gorgeous parks, really spoke to me, each one on an individual level. Fitz showed me the effect light had on the paintings. The color, the pieces, responded to the light, illuminating and casting a different hue, ever changing and evoking a different feeling and perspective.
Fitz’s work emanates this awesome affect. I was drawn in, feeling as if I was standing where Fitz had, feeling the same sensations of the sun, breeze, and listening to the sounds and sights, actually transcending me to that place at that time.
Pictured: “Idyllic, Redwood National Park, California” / Oil Painting / 16” x 12,”
one of 10 new magical pieces in Fitz’s National Park Paintings series
Looking up at the giant redwoods in Fitz’s piece,“Idyllic, Redwood National Park, California” / Oil Painting / 16” x 12,” I enjoyed the perspective and magnificence of these glorious giants, the rich texture and color, capturing the soul of the park at an exact moment.
I am always amazed by the detail and depth of her paintings, so meticulous with each minute stroke adding the slightest bit of color from her palette.It’s easy to get lost in the texture and layers.
Her charcoal drawings were equally compelling with fantastic detail. With both her drawings and paintings, I felt like I could stare forever. The National Park series takes the viewer on a journey; the story unfolds like turning a page in a book that you can’t seem to put it down, one that you don’t want it to end.
The same can be said about Fitz’s work, it’s her gift, her phenomenal ability to draw you into the painting. With every piece, the story continues and unfolds, endless, and timeless. When you look at these works, these parks, you’re breathing in nature, and at the same time it takes your breath away.
Fitz’s National Park Paintings series is indeed a national treasure.
Visit www.nationalparkpaintings.com and enjoy her journey, her quest.
And don’t miss part two – the story in Fitz’s own words – so exciting!
Until next time…so much beauty and nature, so little time!