Wonder Works on Paper

Artist Profile

At the age of two, I surprised my mother with lipstick drawings on her walls. I was eight when I had my first art class in third grade in the basement of an old public school. Mother saved forever that little drawing which was done on wet paper with white chalk: a snow scene. I was sixteen, in my first high school art class, where I again was introduced to working wet into wet with inks and watercolors. At that time, my teacher, Helen Worral, a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, opened to me classic art instruction skills and art history (perspective, painting, fashion design, and great historical figures: Michelangelo, DaVinci, etc). Throughout those growing up years, I was repeatedly privileged to explore the “Stations of the Cross,” stained glass windows, and paintings in many Catholic churches throughout the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus areas of Ohio. In my parent’s home, always hung a beautiful drawing of Notre Dame. My paternal grandmother had a gorgeous large tapestry of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, hanging above her couch in Columbus, Ohio. We often traveled to my maternal grandmother’s in the heart of southeastern Ohio, where I was privileged to visually soak in the beauties of that area. Most of my landscapes are in direct response to exploring hills, meadows, forests & mountain ranges from Ohio to Florida. Visits along the Atlantic seacoast inspire paintings of rocky cliffs, waterfalls, serene beach scenes, and lighthouses. More recently, travels to the southwestern states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico have jump-started a love of abstract/expressionist painting.

Donna lives in Springfield, Ohio with her husband of thirty-nine years, a microbiology supervisor. Donna and Dennis are blessed with two sons, Matthew and Brian Clark and their families. All have found their portraiture in many of Donna’s works.





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Artist Statement

With an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I am ever in search of new pigment combinations and exciting compositions.   My work is done primarily in watercolors, but also in acrylics, oil, and gouache. Early in my painting education, I was exposed to the wet-into-wet technique and I use that improvisational method for most of my works in watercolor.

I am thankful for my talents and believe my work should magnify the Giver of those talents. Consequently, among the subjects I portray are “religious” works and a result of being exposed as a child to icons of the ”Saints” of the Catholic Church.   Many of these “religious” paintings contain overt and recognizable images of Jesus.   My other works, abstracts and impressionistic, although not overtly Christian, are created as I paint while listening to Christian music.

When viewers look at my paintings, more than the subject is seen---something is “felt.” My watercolors on yupo express fluid, abstract/expressionist brushwork; while my plein-air paintings on canvas exhibit a more controlled, but impressionist feeling.

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Why paint Mary, the Mother of God?

© Donna Pierce-Clark, 2011

I am a Christian and I believe in the Immaculate Conception.  This was a most Holy and miraculous Act of God.  She is the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  Jesus is why I am a Christian.  Her sacrifice and His sacrifice for the world are overwhelming.

But, why I chose to do these paintings goes even deeper and is very personal to me.  All of my education was in public school, excluding one year.  During that lone period, I was in a private Catholic school.   This was for my second grade year, and our class was being groomed for our First Communion.  I was enamored by the idea.  Getting to wear a lacy, delicate white dress was important to me not only because I was a young girl who liked getting dressed up, but because it spoke of purity.  I identified with Mary and I loved Jesus even at the young age of eight.  In fact, at that time and because of my teachings, my desire was to become a nun.  I never shared this desire with anyone, but, non-the-less, there was disagreement in my home.  Although my father was of the Catholic faith, my mother was a Methodist.  Just before I was to receive my First Communion, they chose to put me back into the public school system.  I was heart-broken.  My dreams of becoming a nun were squelched by my mother’s desire to “protect me,” but for many years, I carried in my heart the ideas of purity and the respect for Mary, The Mother of baby Jesus.  That single year created within me a deep and never forgotten memory.   My dear Catholic father passed away just prior to my taking on this project. His disciplined devotion to his faith taught me to love the Lord and although I miss my earthly father greatly; I believe this experience was a true healing in many ways for me. 

As I have worked on these paintings, I have enjoyed studying again Mary’s devotion to her Son and her Lord.  I have enjoyed delving deeply into Mary’s multiple emotions as she experienced the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin birth, raising her Son, watching him die on the cross, experiencing his resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.   How extremely blessed she was, but at the same time, what conflicting emotions she must have gone through. One can only surmise the gamut of emotional reactions she must have experienced; but having done the series, I now feel much closer to understanding the depth of her emotions.

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