Angie Marchinkow: water, music and light
Photo credit and copyrights to Shane Collins & Gonzo Okanagan
Angie Marchinkow opened her door and greeted me with a big smile and let me in. As soon as she closed the door we started chatting about music.
There was a music studio in one room and as I walked into the large, tall and open living room of her condo I was spoiled with a collection of guitars, a keyboard and a cello, all of them washed in the light of the sunset over Okanagan lake that came spilling in through the windows.
“My partner is a musician and composer. The music studio and a lot of the instruments are his.”
“I recognize the cello.” Angie and I were at one point roommates when I moved back to Kelowna a few years ago.
“Yup, the cello is mine but it’s been collecting dust. I’ve just been so busy I can’t seem to find the time to practice.” Angie hands me a glass of water as I get my notepad and camera ready.
I followed her upstairs to her studio. It’s a tall room with a view of Okanagan lake. The ambient light is even and excellent for photography. Painting, too, by the looks of it. Angie is in the process of working on a series of paintings called ‘WAVES.’ Her partner, local musician and composer, Andrew Judah, will work on a collaboration together. I sit down as Angie stands with a few of her paintings that lean against the wall.
“Does the music you listen to find its way into your paintings,” I ask her as I sip my water.
“Yes, I listen to lots of different stuff. That’s what Andrew and I will be doing. A collaboration.”
She turns one of the canvases leaning against the wall around, revealing a painting partially finished. Strokes of different blues and purples fill its space.
“I call this one ‘Cascades.’ The idea is that I paint while he’s composing ambient music for me to paint along to.”
She has three smaller canvases, painted and textured in light and deep blues. She has volleyball knee pads on. A lot of her work is done laying the canvases on the floor. She kneels down, brushing a dry brush against one of the paintings’ surfaces.
“Sometimes I just paint in silence. I like hearing the brush against the surface.”
She pulls the brush against its texture and it sounds like sand being pulled by a wave. Her drop cloths are blotted with different colours of paint, becoming an abstract work of art on their own. I photograph her working and I photograph her floors.
The light is really filling the room now with sunlight. “Is it important to have a room like this at home? A place dedicated to your work?”
Angie thinks for a moment, looking around the room. It has a board with tubes of acrylic paint meticulously hanging from it in one corner, paintings lean against the walls, the floor is protected and covered in white drop cloths, the brushes have their place, a desk is loaded with bags Angie makes and sells that have been recycled from past drop cloths. They’re labeled, ‘Art is important.’ The whole upper loft is hers to utilize as her studio. And the view is stunning. The sun is at its apex, just above the horizon. I have to squint to see out the patio door.
“Working up here really has its pros and cons. On one hand there’s the convenience of working at home. I’m fortunate being upstairs, away from the kitchen and living area. I have to walk up here to paint. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like I never leave. Sometimes it can be easy to avoid the work that needs to be done because home exists down a flight of stairs. If there isn’t a disconnect from work and life at home, sometimes you feel like you’re ALWAYS at work.”
“You’re still working as a doula as well, ya?”
“Yes, I’m still working as a doula and I’m commissioned to do a few pieces,” Angie points to a large, naked canvas. “I have a series hanging up at the Rotary Arts Center until January and I’ll be doing more of my Ale and Abstract classes there too. One in November and another in December.”
Angie paints mainly on canvas and board using pastels and acrylic paint. She tells me, “I never have a final image in mind when I start a painting. It just takes me to where it wants to go.”
Angie is not only a painter but also a musician, a photographer and an avid sailor. She has a lot of experience on the water and looking at her work, you can’t help but feel like the water themes have made their way into her paintings.
Angie’s father was the artist in the family growing up and would set up. He might not admit it, Angie refers to him as an ‘artist in denial.’ She recalls evenings when she was a child and her father setting up canvas to paint for fun. He and Angie’s mother, who taught music, both encouraged Angie to follow her artistic pursuits ever since she was little. It’s a good thing, too.
Looking around the studio, seeing Angie happy and living her life, following her heart and her passions, collaborating with other artists and creating artwork of her very own fills me with pride knowing that the more I venture out and talk to those who inspire me, I am reminded over and over and over again that there is a way forward, pursuing our dreams and making it happen, one story at a time.
We spent an hour talking about art and music. I circle her working, snapping photos for this article. The sun has set, leaving soft shadows on the walls. I finished my water and packed up my gear. Andrew is working in the music studio downstairs. As I pack up my gear, I am introduced to Andrew. I promise them that as this pandemic alleviates, I will be available with my camera to document them both as their careers unfold. I left my time with Angie again feeling as if the more I talk to the people who are driven to follow their hearts and passions, the more faith I have in doing the same.
Look for Angie and Andrews collaboration, ‘WAVES’ in the future. You can see her installation, ‘Embellished Conversance’ now on display upstairs in the Mezzanine of the Rotary Center for the Arts and Angie’s Abstract and Ale event is also at the RCA coming up Nov. 17, 2021.