Marianne McCraney  Visual Artist


Paintings, works on paper, and mixed media.

  • Sisters (det)

  • Ice Cream (det)

  • Shopping Day (det)

In this collection of drawings, works on paper and mixed media forms I use primarily line to explore invisible ties with the natural world and some of my ancestors.
My media are thread, wire, graphite, and strokes of ink. I also use some non-traditional materials such as rust and walnut stain made from a tree in my yard, which adds unpredictability to my process.


Artist Statement

The main element in my work is line. Lines of thread, wire, graphite, and strokes of ink describe life in its myriad forms ­– the world of nature and ties of human relationships.  My art explores the strength of all these connections but also their fragility and the struggles that occur when ties weaken or are severed through time, pain or loss. Lines are both allegorical and literal. Drawn graphite lines in my abstract works weave over and under each other representing marks made by time and invisible forces of nature. Handwriting is another kind of line. As I trace over the hand-written words of deceased family members with paint or thread I find myself remembering the person in a kinesthetic sense as I mimic the loops and swashes that make their characteristic writing.

Lines drawn with thread mend, patch and connect in physical and symbolic ways. Wrapping, circling and weaving, dimensional lines form nests like sculptures. I feel a kinship with the miraculous artistry of birds. I found a beautifully woven little nest in my yard with a dead baby bird nearby. I was stuck a with sadness, familiar to any parent who takes care to nurture and insure safety of their children only to have them threatened by a force beyond their control. I began to investigate many nests through drawing and sculptural forms. Through my studies and readings I learned that each bird species has its own nest form and social behavior but share the common instinct to protect their offspring, as we all do.

The unpredictability of some of the materials and processes I use such as rust, rubbings and walnut stain made from a tree my yard mimic natural events. Through these processes I am able to express the beauty of decay and explore the cycles of life and death in the world around me.


Life Lines, John F. Kennedy University Gallery, Berkeley, CA
Works In Progress, John F. Kennedy University Gallery, Berkeley, CA
Walnut Creek City Hall, Walnut Creek, CA
The Laundry Show, Sonoma, CA
Eclectibles, Hollis Street Project, Emeryville, CA
The Center for Sports Medicine, Walnut Creek, CA
Last Picture Show, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
Art Center Gallery, Pasadena CA

COLLEGE PARK HIGH SCHOOL, Pleasant Hill, CA,   2002-present

CONCORD HIGH SCHOOL, Concord, CA,   2000-2002

MONTE VISTA HIGH SCHOOL, Danville, CA,   1999-2000


CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO, San Francisco, CA,  1996-1998



M.F.A., Studio Art, John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA, 2013

B.F.A., Illustration, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA,   1980

B.A., Fine Arts, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR,   1975

Secondary Teaching Credential, Art, Chapman University, Concord, CA,   2000


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