Artist Lucie Marlo in her dining room with one of her paintings behind her. Don Denton photography

The Art and Heart of Artist Lucie Marlo

Painter creates unique and distinct abstract works of art

  • Oct. 25, 2018 10:43 a.m.

-Story by Angela Cowan

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Gazing at Lucie Marlo’s utterly unique abstract paintings at her home in Broadmead, it’s abundantly clear that art is in her blood. But as we sit down to chat and she hands me a plate of peanut butter cookies (healthy, she swears) and a cup of Moringa tea, we actually start our conversation talking about health.

Food is so important and such a vital part of living well, she says, explaining that while she grew up surrounded by art, she actually has a PhD in nutrition.

“My father was a well-known artist in Europe, and it was feast or famine growing up,” she explains. “It was a hard childhood.”

Born in Quebec City, Lucie moved with her family to her father’s home country of Montenegro when she was five, and stayed there until they came back to Canada six years later.

Growing up with the constant shadow of lack affected her deeply, and although Lucie had an undeniable passion for art — as early as five years old, she would hide in the corner of her father’s studio and just watch him paint — she pushed it away for a long time.

“I was too afraid of putting my family through what I went through as a child.”

Instead, she was drawn to her other passion, health and wellness, achieved her doctorate, and inspired by her mother — who went back to school and got her doctorate in her sixties — Lucie opened and managed several multi-disciplinary health clinics in Winnipeg, staying in that role for more than a decade.

But threads of her early love kept creeping in, and one evening, after having dinner with her brother, she took a brush to a blank canvas she’d been staring at for days. She woke up the next morning still lying next to the canvas, brush in hand, having stayed up until 4 am painting in her now-distinct abstract style.

“This is what my soul created,” she says. “This is what came pouring out.”

A detail of a painting in the studio of artist Lucie Marlo. Don Denton photography

Shortly after, Lucie made the difficult decision to sell the clinics and focus on her art, despite the uncertainty of her path. She also made the move from Winnipeg out to Victoria, her “heaven on earth.”

“I came to Victoria — and be still my heart — I went insane. I didn’t know there was such a place!”

Inspired in part by her gorgeous new environment, her distinct abstract style quickly made waves in the art community, and upscale collectors and sheer lovers of art both came knocking.

“I have an amazing problem. I have people who collect my artwork regularly,” she laughs.

Over the years, collectors have been so enthusiastic about getting their hands on her work, she’s barely had the time to get her pieces into galleries before they’ve sold. Needless to say, the positive reactions made it easier for her to commit to her art.

“It makes all the difference when people believe in you and your art,” she says, describing a woman who bought painting after painting, until Lucie finally asked why she was collecting so many. “She said she thought they were going to appreciate, and she was going to leave them to her grandchildren. I started to cry. I really thought, ‘I have so many people believing in me, I have to give it my best shot.’”

Lucie’s been painting full time for the last 16 years, but she’s remained true to her other passion of health, and also to making the world a better place.

“I couldn’t turn my back on what I know. I’m painfully aware of the need out there, so I donate a percentage of what I make.”

Her experiences in Montenegro and the desperate need of its one orphanage stuck with her. Now, Lucie donates a percentage of the sales from her paintings to the Mladost Bijela orphanage in Herceg Novi, Montenegro, which has housed more than 2,000 children and teenagers since it opened in 1946. She also spearheaded a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society last September in support of breast cancer research, and she continues to search for more ways to give back to her home community of Victoria and beyond.

“I still miss working in the clinic. That’s why I fundraise,” she says, and pauses. “Selling the clinics was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had two passions, and this one wouldn’t be denied. This is really what I feel I was meant to do. It just took me a while to give myself permission.”

A painting of hers hangs behind artist Lucie Marlo. Don Denton photography

None of it would have ever come to fruition were it not for the incredible support she’d been blessed with from those that loved her throughout, especially her mother.

“My mom is my hero,” she says with a heartfelt conviction that makes me want to hug my own mom. “I had a mom who really encouraged my passion. She wanted me to follow my heart.”

She adds with a laugh, “She was actually more excited at my gallery opening than when I got my doctorate.”

“When you’re fortunate enough to do what you love the most, and people appreciate it, it’s a dream come true,” she says. “It feels so good to be in harmony.”

Lucie spends part of the year in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, and while she’s out of the country, Danisha Drury from Design District Access acts as her exclusive liaison in Victoria. For more information on Lucie’s work, call Danisha at 888-590-8598, or visit marlostudios.com.

ArtartistBoulevard MagazineCultureLucie MarloPaintingvancouverislandWriter Angela Cowan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony 2019. Campbell River Mirror file photo
Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony to go ahead in reduced form

Public asked not to attend; event will be streamed on social media, Shaw TV

Father Charles Brandt, a hermit priest. File Photo
Black Creek environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Two suspects seen outside of Gord Knight Auto on Oct. 27 at around 4:15 a.m. Campbell River RCMP are looking for information on these suspects’ identities. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP look for suspects in break-in cases

Two suspects caught on surveilance video

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Police investigation results in multiple property crime charges

A Campbell River RCMP investigation has lead to multiple property crime charges… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Most Read