Marlene Roy


Marlene Roy has been painting for over 35 yeas and lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has participated in several group shows and has paintings in private collections in Canada and the United States.

Roy recalls going to her first art exhibition, which featured paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, when she was a child. Roy was enthralled and immediately knew she wanted to be a painter.

Roy finally realized her dream in her early twenties when she took numerous drawing and painting classes. Valerie Ryan (MFA), one of her instructors, introduced her to landscape painting. Ryan and Roy would often go to local parks and even sat in roadside ditches to paint. While Ryan was inspired by the massive prairie skies, Roy developed a life-long interest in treed landscapes.

Roy’s art is informed by university studies in geography and sustainable development research, both which focussed on nature and people connections and interactions. Her continued interest in and curiosity about these connections form a thread throughout her artwork.

Roy currently has two studios, one in Winnipeg and one at the lake where her summer home is located. She mainly does smaller ‘en plein air’ watercolours at the lake and creates larger acrylics from reference photos taken at the Lake in her city studio.

Artist Statement

I explore forest connections by interpreting how trees structure, energize and interact with the landscape. I’m particularly drawn to the mysterious openings in the tree canopy and invite the viewer to explore the possibilities of what is beyond with me. I also like to capture those unexpected and surprising moments when sunlight suddenly appears through the trees illuminating and changing the view.

My style is loose and organic. I interpret the landscape rather than replicate it by layering colours, shapes and lines to show the interplay among the seen and unseen parts of the view. My paintings are close and personal and draw the viewer in as a participant rather than as a distant observer.

Currently I’m painting landscapes of the Canadian Shield in Northwestern Ontario near the Manitoba border. This fascinating and dramatic place offers endless possibilities for paintings. The landscape is rugged filled with immense trees, unexpected rock outcroppings and numerous lakes. It is dark and mysterious with shafts of sunlight breaking through the tree canopy.

At the beginning of each year I develop concepts for 3-4 series of paintings each with a distinct theme to examine. I then create a number of paintings to develop a visual narrative about each theme. Last year I worked on four themes. Two — the ‘Macara Trail’ and ‘Light Fractures’ series, considered ways sunlight connected with and reshaped trees and forest vegetation, thus changing our experience of place. I mainly use acrylic on canvas and watercolour on paper.

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