Marleen Pennings, who also works under the name of Stroke a Bird, studied Fashion Design and Illustration in Rotterdam and graduated with honours in 2002. Stroke a Bird’s colourful and playful works are borne from the artists’ love of colour, texture and pattern.
Marleen’s process mostly starts from collages taken from images, and then working within her own memory to build layers of intricately hand-mixed colours, often with very precise recipes made in small quantities which are then noted at each conception. This way of working enables the artist to create many different shades of the same colour, bringing depths and transparencies to each layer.
Marleen's process is painstaking and at times laborious. Marleen cites her way of working as being almost layers of decisions, which colours, sweeps of paint, textures and abstract images work well together. So much of Marleen’s work could be described as trial and tribulation, the artist creates many pieces and discards many, “it could be after just one sweep of paint or after 500 sweeps” and this attention to detail to what makes the grade and what is “kept” exhibited and sold is evident in her finished pieces.
When Marleen is asked about the key factors in her process she tells us that time itself can be her most valuable tool, she starts pieces only to then purposefully take a step back, then returning to re-evaluate and re-immerse herself within a work when reinvigorated after some time away from it.