The featured artist for the Art Squared Art Market for the month of September is Mare Kretschmar, a painter from Austin, Texas. We recently discussed her work and her inspirations. Mare introduced herself by stating, “I have been drawing and painting most of my life, but only started working professionally in the past three years. It has taken me some time to create my own personal style. My work usually contains a focused subject, but then I like to use the background to create an abstract creation based on my perception of the surroundings. It's a very fun, sometimes frustrating, but interesting process that lets the images reveal themselves as the painting develops.” She added, “For now, I primarily work with acrylic paints on canvas. I’m interested in using this style possibly on wood, or with pencil and watercolor, but that’s just an idea for the future at this time. I really want to continue to improve with the materials I currently use. I’m not a full-time artist right now – I need to support myself, so I paint when I can. I d also sing and play guitar, so I’m not only a painter.” When asked about her inspirations or influences for her paintings, Ms Kretschmar replies, “I love the impressionist works by painters such as Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, and others. But I also love the cubist styles that appear in works by Cezanne and Picasso, among others. As I mentioned, my works combine a primary subject with abstract backgrounds, so these two distinct influences make sense to me.” She said that the road to creating art was not especially direct. “I never had that epiphany from birth that painting was my calling. I took art class in high school and some design and drawing classes at Austin Community College. But it has been a long journey. There are times when I won't go near my easel, avoiding it intentionally, especially when I’m starting a new painting. I will angst over how to start it and how it's going to look, even though I know that I never really know how it will turn out. The painting reveals itself in the process of its creation.” Mare continues with how she creates her paintings; “Eventually I will sit down and grind it out. And then I will stare at the sketched subject, sometimes for days or weeks, contemplating the colors to use, the background objects, etc. And then suddenly I will begin it - I will start painting and wait to see what happens. I truly wish I was one of those people whose painting was free flowing and constant. But that's my process.” Lastly, Mare spoke about the importance for creative outlets. “It's an absolute need! Art, music, writing, theater, landscaping, food - anything that acts as a creative outlet for someone is important. It's so subjective and personal and can be so many things. And letting others witness and take away their own personal impression is a level of vulnerability that the world needs. It builds upon humanity and compassion in such a necessary way.” View some of Mare Kretschmar’s paintings at her Facebook page, Mare Kretschmar's Art, at www.facebook.com/marekretschmarart.