Marshall Noice’s work is like taking a journey into the heart and soul of the artist. He passionately loves western landscapes, and he conveys that love through vibrant colors that illuminate the canvas. Residents of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Noice’s home state of Montana know the magnificent landscape he’s portraying in his luscious works.
While painting is a natural form of expression for Noice, he began his artistic career as a photographer. In fact, he earned his living taking pictures for 23 years. Some of the work was figurative, but most of it was landscape photography. During the summer of 1977 he had the extreme privilege of being Ansel Adams’ workshop assistant, an experience that profoundly affected his life. It happened at an auspicious time when Noice was just getting into photography. “I learned how to see light from Ansel Adams,” he explains. “Adams was a great teacher. I really learned how to recognize landscapes through photography. I feel that my experience in photography has helped me to develop a heightened sensibility toward landscapes.”
Throughout the two decades Noice worked as a photographer, he painted landscapes. Painting was done for the sheer enjoyment of it and not for the thought of future sales. When a new work was completed, he put it into a storage shed with his growing collection. During the 1990’s Noice noticed himself wishing he could move trees in some of his photos or manipulate the images in some other way, which was a strong and obvious sign that he craved and needed to express more individuality through his artistic work. “I knew I would be ready to paint landscapes when I retired from photography,” he says. “But the shift happened more suddenly than I anticipated.” After years of viewing the landscape through black and white photos, Noice’s spirit longed to express the beautiful environment in which he lived with as much color as possible. Black and white gave way to gold, red, azure, purple, and kelly green.
The studio is a great place for Noice to work on paintings, but the initial idea is sparked through being outdoors immersed in the landscape. He takes frequent painting trips around the west, often simply following his nose as he notices a hill or mountain or the way the surrounding light illuminates trees. Pastels, paper, small canvases and a paint box are the tools that usually accompany him on these journeys. He doesn’t set up a large canvas on location for several practical reasons. Blowing wind, among other natural elements, can spell disaster for a large canvas.
Back in the studio, Noice takes time to decide what canvas size is appropriate to convey the desired feeling. He loves working with large canvases, because he can get his whole torso into the act. Most of Noice’s paintings are created with thick oil paints, generously applied to the canvas. He hardly ever mixes paint prior to application. Most of the mixing happens directly on the canvas.