Featured Artist Marsha Wilson

Artist Marsha Wilson uses the ancient technique of pyrography to create burned images with a modern twist in wood, leather and paper. See more of this artist’s work by visiting her website.

 

 “Abounding Joy” Wood Burned on Paper, 17” x 14” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Abounding Joy” Wood Burned on Paper, 17” x 14”

 

Pyrography is the technique of using heated metal tips to burn images in many different media. The traditional material is wood. When I feel the image calls for a traditional flavor, I use Baltic Birch plywood for its light color and smooth surface. My favorite medium is Strathmore Bristol paper. The heated metal tips toast the paper without burning through.

 

“Celtic Dragon Map” Burned on Leather, 23” x 18” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Celtic Dragon Map” Burned on Leather, 23” x 18”

 

I have also used leather for several pieces. It’s distinct surface responds well to the heat, like drawing a hot knife through butter.

 

“Squirrel” Burned on Paper, 10.5” x 9” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Squirrel” Burned on Paper, 10.5” x 9”

 

I choose to use realism and select images that are positive or nostalgic to convey hope and warmth. I believe very strongly that positive thoughts and goals are well worth the effort to maintain them. I would rather my art lift spirits and create smiles, even though this technique is normally associated with death and decay—for instance cut wood, tanned leather and heated metal.

 

“Daisies” Burned on Paper, 17” x 14” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Daisies” Burned on Paper, 17” x 14”

 

Pyrography is an ancient technique. The early American settlers called it “Poker Art” and American Indians used burning to decorate their tents and pottery. I feel this gives my pieces a timeless, almost ethereal quality, all too precious in a time surrounded by technology and single-use plastics.

 

“Celtic Door in a Castle Wall” Burned on Paper, 15” x 12” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Celtic Door in a Castle Wall” Burned on Paper, 15” x 12”

 

I have been burning since 2010. Before that, I was making pens out of wood and cutting wood on a scroll saw. I picked up a used burner to decorate some cedar crosses and loved it.

 

“Reflections of a Horse” Wood Burned on Baltic Birch Board, 23” x 14” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Reflections of a Horse” Wood Burned on Baltic Birch Board, 23” x 14”

 

Burning is like drawing without the smudges, or painting without the paint drying on the brush. It is a medium that leaves very little room for mistakes. My present burner is the Walnut Hollow Versatool with temperature control. By turning down the heat, it allows me to create very light tones to give definition and shading.

 

Sights Around Waco Series: “Waco Water Works Window” Wood Burned on Paper, 6” x 4” by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Sights Around Waco Series: “Waco Water Works Window” Wood Burned on Paper, 6” x 4”

 

Lately, I have been photographing, and then burning on paper, many sites around my new hometown of Waco, Texas. I have found this to be a very inviting town and the architectural elements fascinating. I’ve featured these sites in a series of small pieces, like the McLennan County Court house, a cement pillar, a decorative window, a pair of rusted old grain silos.

 

“Waco’s Suspension Bridge” Wood Burned on Paper, 18” x 15”by artist Marsha Wilson. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Waco’s Suspension Bridge” Wood Burned on Paper, 18” x 15”

 

These have given me the opportunity to experiment with shading and to help me understand how to create drama and a sense of mood with a minimalistic approach. Wood burning is a simple art form—it requires a smooth surface, heat, and time. The longer I hold the tip in one place, the darker the burn. Some of my pieces, like “Little Kisha” and “Celtic Door in a Castle Wall” took around 36-48 hours to produce. For me it is a very relaxing work.

 

Artist Marsha Wilson in her studio. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Artist Marsha Wilson in her studio.

 

My hands, neck and eyes may be straining, but my mind is totally at ease. It takes me to a Zen place and before I even realize it, hours have slipped away.

 

Artist Marsha Wilson invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Comments

  1. Wow! You have on impressive talent for drawing with fire, Marsha! Keep up the good work.

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