Olga Merrill is an award-winning Maine-based visual artist recently named one of the top one-hundred photographers in 2021 by Your Daily Photograph, the industry’s leading online journal for international collectors of fine art photography. She uses photography as a tool – like an instrument to make music or a brush for painting – to create an image of her vision, with a dreamy and indirect relationship to external reality. Some photos represent the world around her that dissolves into the wonder of abstract patterns. In contrast, others are complex manipulations of the ordinary visual world that use intentional camera movement, multiple exposures, and well-planned color palettes to reflect her vision, dreams, and feelings.
My current artwork work displayed at Thos. Moser is from my Harbor Series from my book “Misty Seas.” This series was done by attending sailing events and enjoying time in Maine’s harbors. Harbors and boats are the essence of Maine. Every harbor has its own spirit, personality, attitude, mystery, and sailing is a metaphor for human life. I love pairing this collection of work with a quote from Mark Twain.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
My work “Drifting Away” has a lovely story behind its creation. For all Russian-speaking people, this piece instantly reminds them of Lermontov’s Lyric “A Sail.” I tried to find a nice translation but, in just a few words, it says: “A lonely sail is flashing white amidst the blue mist of the sea!”
In 2018, I traveled to the Rockland Windjammer event. I intended to create a new body of work, but the event was postponed due to the weather. My husband and I stayed around the Breakwater Lighthouse, and suddenly I saw the lonely sailboat, and instantly Lermontov’s poem came to mind. I said to myself, “This is a moment, and it will be a nice artwork.” I was happy to hear how Russian people responded with commentary that my piece resonates with Lermontov’s lyric for them; I felt my vision was achieved!
I believe all people are artists. They create their own life in a range of shades and colors placed upon the blank paper of their life. It’s up to them – everyone has the freedom to create their “life as art” that will inspire generations.
My first interaction? My parent’s best friend was a prolific and well-known Russian painter. So I saw great paintings from the time I was born. I am happy to say his work still inspires me as I have several of his paintings in my collection now. I love to explore the world and visit different cultural institutions throughout the United States and Europe. Music is a magic and influential art. It touches us, and, as one of my favorite writers, Haruki Murakami, said, “Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing the mind.” I played piano in my childhood, and perhaps this explains the lyricism in my work.
“I believe art has power, a healing power for positive change in the world.”
The simple answer is, I’m happy here. My lovely husband showed me the coast of Maine during my first summer, and that season melted into fall and discovered that Maine has the best foliage. I have fallen in love with the incredible beauty everywhere in Maine- from the coast to the brilliant and beautiful food, and yes, it was in Maine where I became an artist.
Olga’s work will be on display in our Freeport Showroom until January 31, 2022.