September - October
Artist of The Month
Maxine Ranicke’s credo: ‘Never stop learning’
Article by LaVerne Kyriss
Maxine Ranicke’s first art class was as a young girl. “We lived in Hawaii and my mother knew a poor artist. I think she paid him for classes for me as a way to help him out,” she recalled. “I studied art in college at the University of Washington and I’ve continued to take classes from a variety of teachers.”
“I think the best thing is to study under different teachers and to learn from all of them. Then you can pick and choose the approach that feels right to you,” she explained. “I plan to continue taking classes and exploring for my entire life. I hope I never stop learning. That’s the real reason I paint.”
“Painting is part of my family heritage,” she reflected. “My sister paints. My cousins paint. We had an uncle who was a Russian immigrant who was a professional artist. I even have a couple of his paintings.”
These days, Ranicke paints once or twice a week in the Topaz Room at SaddleBrooke Two’s Arts and Crafts Center. “Our Fine Art Guild has set up a series of open studio times for any resident to come and use the space. Since I don’t have studio space at home, this works great for me,” she explained.
“I also love to be around others who are also working on their pieces. We draw encouragement from each other. It’s very helpful when you get stuck or just need another set of eyes on a problem you’re trying to solve. A fresh perspective can really make the difference,” she said.
Ranicke paints only in oils. “I decided early on that I was going to pick one medium and then do it right. I’ve explored lots of techniques and am still experimenting. I’m working to use bold brush strokes. I have to watch out so that I don’t get too tight,” she laughed. “It takes work to stay loose.”
Ranicke said her style has evolved over the years. “For a while, I only painted people. About 18 months ago, I decided to try landscapes. So now I’m experimenting and learning different skills to create depth and perspective. I’m comfortable tackling new things and enjoy the journey,” she smiled.
“I’ve found out that when I paint something I’m interested in, it usually turns out better and it takes less energy,” Ranicke noted. “With some paintings, you really have to work and then you still might not be totally happy with the end result.”
“Art is something you have to stick with. I don’t think it’s only based on talent or a gift,” she said. “You have to learn the steps and practice—lots. Give it time. I look at a partially done work and reflect on it. I bring my work home from the Topaz Room and put it on an easel in my kitchen. I keep a note pad near it and write down ideas and suggestions for what to do the next time I pick up my brush.”
Note: Ranicke and fellow SaddleBrooke artist Barbara Leightenheimer will be the featured artists in a show at Saint Andrews Church in Oro Valley in early 2018.