Double-shot double take: Fingerpaints, crayons and all things Maggie Osterbauer

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You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

Newbie artist Maggie Osterbauer of Wet Paint Designs is currently carving out a niche for herself with fingerpaints and crayons -- two of her favorite childhood mediums that, somehow, don't look childish when definitely adult Osterbauer uses them on canvas.

See also: Cara Harjes paints children's art that parents adore

Osterbauer's mom is an artist, and she remembers doing art projects with her mother at a very young age. Mostly self-taught, Osterbauer did take a few art classes in college at the University of Denver before starting a career in commercial real estate marketing, which is what she's done for about five years. But recently, Osterbauer switched from the research side of marketing to the creative side; it was about this time that she went to a Canvas and Cocktails painting session with a girlfriend and realized how much she missed art. A marketing colleague subsequently sent Osterbauer a link to a video of artist and professional fingerpainter Iris Scott."I have things that spark my creativity, and this was one of them," says Osterbauer. It was the Iris Scott video that inspired Osterbauer to try painting koi with fingerpaints -- which resulted in the series currently on display at Pajama Baking Company. "Iris uses water-based oils, but I started with acrylics," Osterbauer explains. "I don't know if I could go back to brushes now -- there is something so cool about feeling the paint on your hands." In the beginning, Osterbauer always wore gloves while fingerpainting, but then said "Screw the gloves" -- finding satisfaction in the griminess of the process. Osterbauer was so moved by Scott's work that she flew to Washington to take a class from her. The headlight painting (above) was done in there; a few of Osterbauer's grass and cloud renderings like the one below are also based on Scott's work. These are not for sale: "I just made them for personal use because I felt inspired," Osterbauer explains. The Minnesota transplant who has been in Colorado for a decade is also inspired by the mountains and surrounding landscape -- "definitely a subject I want to explore and paint more," she says. The artist loves color and has done some interesting melted crayon pieces spurred by something she saw on Pinterest: "Who doesn't love Pinterest?" she asks.

For this series, Osterbauer stuck crayons on canvas with hot glue guns, which was fun but resulted in several burns. "I've always liked mixed mediums," Osterbauer adds. "My favorite thing about crayons is how the colors stay so vivid -- almost the same color as wet paint."

Pajama is the first venue where Osterbauer has hung her work, and she doesn't yet have a website. This year, she intends to build up her portfolio and hone in on a theme that will make her work more cohesive -- perhaps a spin on famous impressionistic painters done with fingerpaint (see the fingerpainted Monet above). "My favorites are landscapes, and my favorite artist is Monet," Osterbauer says, musing that her predilection for impressionists may explain why she's so drawn to fingerpainting in general, a form that has "an impressionistic feel."

Interested in knowing more? You can reach the artist via e-mail at mosterbauer@gmail.com.

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