Artist Statement

Self Portrait, pencil, 1996

Like many artists, I began drawing and painting as a child. And like my children now, I was a precocious young artist. In high school I found I could capture a fairly good likeness of my friends in pencil. My parents supplied me with watercolor and oil paints to encourage my early efforts. Through my twenties and early thirties I was preoccupied by my pursuit of the "American dream".Sue and Clint, '85 I met a wonderful woman and together we discovered the thrills of the great outdoors. We spent years hiking, rockclimbing and skiing together. I forgot about art during those years, channeling my creative impulses into taking pictures and playing my guitar.

For 25 years I supported myself in the printing industry. In 1999 I reluctantly came to the realization it was not the ideal career forClint in his Kayak someone with a creative mind. I worked my way through technical college and began a career as a Web Designer right before the bottom fell out of the Internet business. One has to have a sense of humor in these hard times, and while jobs are scarce, I have been pleased to find that my creative mind, and eye for color and design are a great asset in high tech. After getting laid off from my job in Web Design in January, 2002, I began doing freelance web design as well as teaching at a technical college where I now also teach drawing.

My wife and I bought a house back in 1983 when prices were still affordable and in it we are raising two children, Lisa - 16, and Clint - 19. In 1989 my father faced a life threatening illness and I began to think of my own mortality. Those thoughts led me to taking up my pencil and charcoal again for the first time in 15 years.

Over the last fifteen years I have established a reputation as a landscape painter, winning a number of awards and honors in Puget Sound area juried art shows. I am primarily self taught. Most of my learning has been trial and error although studying art books in the library, and touring local museums and galleries has given me many ideas.

I believe the struggle to paint from life, whether in landscape or still life, lends honesty and character to my work. I love to capture the play of light and shadow over my subject in vine charcoal and white pastel. I then use the versatility of pastel to go beyond form into vibrant, complementary colors, creating paintings that, in the words of my collectors,"jump off the walls."

Many of my artist friends find Stadium High School, Tacoma, Washington, Built around 1910that the studio is the place to create art. Perhaps it is my love of the outdoors or just the chaos of my garage/studio, but I have found that I do my best work on location. I have stood painting for hours in very unfavorable locations, such as on the shoulder of the road above a high cliff on the Oregon coast highway in 20 knots of wind, or in a meadow up at Mt. Rainier in sweltering heat and clouds of mosquitoes. Painting on location in the city has turned out to be easier than I feared. An artist working on the sidewalk is so unusual most people walk by as if I were invisible.

Due to the relative shortness of our time on earth many of us want to savor what little beauty we find amongst the asphalt. This urge to slow down and provide time for reflection is what drives artists and photographers alike. I have often thought of my painting backpack full of paints, paper and a lightweight easel as a 300 year old camera with a 4 hour exposure time and a six year learning curve. When I am out painting on location, hikers and tourists, often wearing cameras, will occasionally stop and admire my work. They lament their inability to draw. I never know what to say. Drawing can, and should, be taught like reading and writing, but the ability to paint collectable art is harder to may be a gift. Life is short, Art is long.

Mark Webster, November, 2004.

Selected Exhibits and Awards

2002 Northwest Pastel Society Annual, Harbor Gallery, Gig Harbor
2001 Featured artist, Kimball Espresso Gallery, Gig Harbor
1998 One man show, Tahoma Gallery, Catholic Community Services, Tacoma
1998 2 person show with Myrna Orsini, Huff Gallery, Tacoma
1993 to 2005 State of the Arts Gallery, Olympia
1993 to 1997 Pacific Gallery Artists "Open"
1996 Honorable Mention South Sounds Commencement Gallery, Tacoma
1995 Tacoma First Night
1995 The Land, Tacoma Art Museum
1995 Pandora's Box Gallery, Gig Harbor
1993 to 1995 Northwest Pastel Society Annual, Amy Burnett Gallery
1995 Honorable Mention, Seattle Telco Bank
1994 Honorable Mention, Sidney Museum, Port Orchard
1991 to 1996 Second, Third and Honorable Mention, Puyallup Fair
1991 to 1993 Second and Fifth, Southwest Washington Exhibition, State Capitol Museum, Olympia

General Links

For my students

Web Design


NOTE: this is my old site and is no longer maintained. My new site is here.

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