Get to know me

M.J. Benson is a fine artist living in Maine.

As a painter, I love the horizon, its ever steady line of delineation between the spaces of land, sky, sea. It’s the first stroke I make on the surface, and often the last. In between are layers and layers of light and color, sprung from my memory but unbound by realism. I start with a framework, a few rules around composition or color, but it’s the tension between what I expect and what the painting is telling me that dictates the flow and finish. I work, and wait, until the ever fickle shifting between place and memory stills itself harmoniously on the canvas.

The strict, disciplined framework for my professional practice as an artist was developed through the rigors of art school, and the teachers who helped me hone my own rhythm of practice. But the work itself is influenced by purposeful and accidental creatives and makers of all stripes - artists, engineers, writers, musicians, tinkers, adventurers and nerds. I’m as liable to be moved by the complex music of Arvo Part as I am by the thick layers of a Willam Turner masterpiece, the Instagram feed of a famous mountaineer or the confectionery masterpieces of a baker. It’s my singular joy of being an artist, to use all that the world lays at my feet, to be a prism at the end of a brush. The hardest part, I’ve learned, is to be fearless, to keep making mistakes, and to be open to all the ridiculous and mundane things that happen when we’re making other plans.