A native of Miami, FL, Marsha Hammel grew up in Central America and Europe returning to the states in 1961. Completing her education in North Carolina and VA, then traveling throughout the US she settled in Hendersonvillle, NC in 2000. “I am home here, finally," she explains. “A quiet life allows me to create a cacophony of color and form on canvas.“
A prolific artist, Marsha Hammel enjoys a wide audience for original paintings and published works in the UK, having been represented by Felix Rosenstiel’s in London since the early 90’s. During a 4 decade studio practice at least 1500 paintings have become part of private, corporate and institutional collections throughout the US and Europe.
Music, particularly popular jazz music, has always been a part of my life. While I was growing up in Europe my parents played the latest Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Louis Prima and Keely Smith on the Hi Fi; all the latest cool grooves from the States.
Miami, Florida, where I was born and spent intervals between my father's Air Force assignments, infused a love of Afro Cuban and Caribbean Music and left impressed upon my mind's eye the colors and forms of the subtropics.
As a teenager I lived with my Aunt, Uncle and three cousins in the small eastern North Carolina town of Rocky Mount. How dull, you might think, for a girl from Miami who had lived in Europe for years...Not dull at all. During the sixties, under the administration of then Governor Terry Sandford, North Carolina's public school children enjoyed the benefits of his far sighted educational vision. An arts scholarship to the 1967 Governor's School for Gifted Children ( it is now known simply as the Governor's School ) introduced me to figurative oil painting . Even then my favorite subjects were musicians and dancers.
Between 1968 and 1972 I studied painting and printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. During this period I struggled with Conceptual and Abstract Art . Upon leaving school I returned to figurative painting and found my "voice" drawing and painting in my own style of Modernism.
After a bit of the gypsy life, traveling from New England to the Rockies, I settled down in New Orleans for a few years. It was there I began painting the jazz musicians, those who were not famous but who devoted their lives to their art with little expectation of financial reward. "Saxman", a 5ftx7ft oil painting, was the first of this monument to musicians. In 1993 "Saxman" was the first of a suite of Jazz Music images published by Felix Rosenstiel's , London, and is still the best selling print of the series.
Back in Florida, a decade later, first in Sarasota and then Miami, dancers returned to my canvases with drawings and paintings of the ballet, Flamenco and the young swing dancers who were reviving the Lindy at a local club.
Returning to North Carolina in 2000, building a spacious studio in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I have new inspiration in nature. Yet, the figures with musical instruments and dancers moving to the music continue to be an important part of my artistry.
Travels to Europe, particularly, London where my dealer-publisher is located, the subtropics and Central America bring new images and ideas to my easel.
Recent Special Projects
The Gallery at Flat Rock hosts "The Artist Table" on February 13th featuring art and cuisine from New Orleans. Sketched jazz trio as they performed and elaborated on the process. The finished oil painting featured in solo show at The Gallery at Flat Rock, April 2018.
Created original painting, "The Spirit of Santa Cruz" as theme image for marketing the 2014 Santa Cruz Film Festival (Santa Cruz, CA)
Design and create 8 sets for stage production of The Music Man for Hendersonville Little Theater, Hendersonville, NC
Working extensively with motif, "Painting Music"; figures with musical instruments using color and form to capture the emotion of musical expressions in Jazz, Latin, Folk and Classical
Feature Article by Paul M. Howey in The Laurel of Asheville Arts and Culture, February Issue
Created collection as guest artist for BlackBird Gallery, Asheville, NC: "Dance Partners" explores the power of mutual support and love during difficult times
Large scale figurative paintings with the live model as active contributor; the "Model as Muse" series
Host bi-annual studio events to introduce emerging artists
Site specific commissions for "Flamenco!"; a collection of 12 large scale paintings for Ceviche Restaurants in Tampa, Sarasota and Orlando, FL
Created modernist portraiture commissions utilizing family snapshots and stories, including a successful family portrait for a British family living in Abu Dhabi communicating entirely over the internet
Original painting, "Spanish Guitar" chosen by Toronto Symphony Orchestra as theme image for music series, "Ole; A celebration of Spanish Music"
1993 to Present
Published worldwide by Felix Rosenstiel's, Fine Art Publisher, London, England (open editions, limited editions, catalogs)
Attitudes Magazine June 1993 Cover
Published in North America by Progressive Editions Fine Art, Toronto, Canada (limited editions)
The PortstewART Galleries, Summer Exhibition 2001
The Affordable Art Fair, Autumn Collection 2002
Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Companion to Jazz (cover art)
Baltimore Symphony Season Program (cover art)
Boca Raton Symphony Season Program (cover art)
The Laurel of Asheville Arts and Culture, Cover February Issue
The Laurel of Asheville Arts and Culture, February Issue
Bold Life February Issue
Museums and Public Collections
State Capitol, Raleigh, NC, 1967
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 1987
Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, FL; permanent collection, 1991
2018 The Gallery at Flat Rock, Flat Rock, NC
2017 Red Door #5, Tampa, FL
2013 Galleria Silecchia, Sarasota, FL
2012-13 Artetude Gallery, Asheville, NC
2011 BlackBird Gallery, Asheville, NC
2011 Southern Appalachian Artist Guild National Juried Exhibition,
Blue Ridge, GA; John Cram, Juror; 2 paintings accepted
2010 Hotel Cadogan, London, England
2009 Interior Motives, St. Petersburg, Fl.
2007-09 Gallery on the Green, London, England
2008 Southern Fields Fine Art, St. Petersburg, Fl.
2006 Galleria de ArteCon, Ascona, Italy
2005 Michael Murphy Gallery, Tampa, Florida
2003 Envers Chapin Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2002 Hughes Galleries, Ulster, Northern Ireland
2001 Port StewArt Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2000 Gallery on the Green, London, England
1999 Art Expo, Atlanta, GA
1997-98 Art Expo, New York, NY
1995 Bash, Miami, FL
1994 Cogswell Gallery, Vail, CO
1991-93 Out of Door Academy, Siesta Key, FL; (Best in Show all three years)
1990 Ybor City Exhibition, Tampa, FL
1990-95 Modern Art Gallery, Sarasota, FL
1974 Main Gallery, Richmond, VA
1967 Governor's School Art Exhibit, Winston, Salem, NC