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.

Just Posted

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

Fire chief urges residents to check smoke detectors following structure fires in Campbell River

Smoke alarms failed in three incidents, including fire that destroyed second storey of home: Doherty

Coroner’s inquest into fatal police shooting in Port Hardy begins in Campbell River

James Reginald Butters, 24, killed in 2015 after RCMP responded to call of male uttering threats

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ in North Campbell River

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Annual paddling event an opportunity to meet neighbours, says founder

Discovery Passage Passage takes place this weekend between Campbell River and Cape Mudge

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in B.C., plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Support was lowest in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces

Vancouver Island rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Qualicum Beach school and difficult to remove

Most Read