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Art & Soul: St. Louis-Based Artist Marceline Saphian Describes Her Inspirations

Art & Soul: St. Louis-Based Artist Marceline Saphian Describes Her Inspirations

110620-art-Art & Soul image

“My name is Marceline Saphian – most people call me Marcy,” states the November Art & Soul subject, who became a card-carrying nonagenarian a year ago this month.

After that affable, charming greeting, Saphian details the background, both general and specific, on the creation of Amid the Flow, the work pictured here.

“It is 30 by 40 inches, on Rives BFK printing paper, a new addition to my Changing Landscape series,” she relates. “One of my favorite pastimes when traveling, whether on a plane or road trip – not happening much lately! – is sketching. The landscapes change very quickly as you go by, and I find myself piecing one idea with another and then another and so on.

“The designs fascinate me, as mountain becomes river becomes city becomes farmland or forest. The result is, these sketches provide me with many design ideas that can be developed in a number of ways. Since I don’t feel bound by realism, color choice and direction are wide open, and I can pursue my search for beauty and meaning.”

Beyond general heuristics, Saphian continues: “My process for this composition was monotype, in which I cut out shapes and inked them, and placed them on an inked plate covered by a sheet of fine art printing paper. This was put through a press – and then, fun time! Pulling the paper from the plate is like Christmas morning – you never know what you’ll get.

“Much of my work is then enhanced by layering, collaging and montaging from my many boxes of scraps from cut-up older unsuccessful prints. I like the feeling of a continuum it gives me, combining old with new, and finding wholeness with a new theme.”

Last November, in addition to turning 90, Saphian states: “I won the first place in the St. Louis Artists’ Guild’s juried exhibition. Since then, in 2020, I’ve been accepted in nine local and regional shows, many of which focused on the pandemic.”

Saphian characterizes herself as a St. Louis-based artist “who’s worked in many mediums, including oil and acrylic painting, fiber and welded sculpture,” before adding, “My current interest is in monotype, collage and multimedia print-related work.”

Previously an art supervisor for two public school districts – in Clayton and in Wood River, slightly more than half an hour’s jaunt northeast of Ladue – Saphian has been involved with the St. Louis Artists’ Guild in Clayton, Art St. Louis in that municipality and the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles.

“With Amid the Flow,” she concludes, “the feeling of movement and twisting and turning and still finding connections to form beautiful shapes seems to mimic the complexity of relationships in life and helps me define my own place.”

To learn more about our featured artist, visit

St. Louis-area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to with “Art & Soul” in the subject line.

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Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.

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