JP Open Studios Preview

Kristin Bonelli

Courtesy Photo“Poplar Path at Arboretum” is an etching by Mardi Reed.

Mardi Reed: Art from Outdoors

Atmospheric and haunting, with lines both deliberate and unrestrained, Mardi Reed’s art depicts the impressions she has after visiting green spaces; especially those found in Jamaica Plain. A 20-year Jamaica Plain resident, Reed often walks or run along local landmarks such as Jamaica Pond, the Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park.

Instead of concentrating on producing a “realistic” image of the scenes she witnesses on her journeys, Reed instead captures sensations. “I like to run, so a lot of my work is outside. When I’m running I’ll see something and then sketch it and work with it when I get home… not [based] so much how it looks but the impressions it gives,” she explains.

These impressions aid in the creation of visual journals, an important part of Reed’s creative process. While pursuing a master’s degree at Massachusetts College of Art, Reed’s thesis involved the study and creation of an award-winning technique in visual journaling that involves paying attention to “reoccurring themes, colors and imagery” resulting from the spontaneous marks and frequent notes people make when they feel inspired by their surroundings. This method helps participants unlock ideas and connections, which translate into a finished artistic product.

Reed hosts workshops on the visual journal process, defined as “drawing experience.” Those interested in learning more should contact her at: [email protected] Reed describes this process as “organic” and vital to her success as an artist.

Although an artist all her life, Reed has only recently become comfortable with sharing her art, crediting her current flurry of public showings to the welcoming presence of her community. After growing up in Maine and graduating from Goddard College, Reed moved to Jamaica Plain via Mexico. In Mexico, Reed studied woodcutting and quickly realized it would be difficult to move back to Maine and forgo the culture and excitement life in Mexico provided. Now in her home near Hyde Square, Reed says she loves the energy and diversity of her neighborhood. As testament to her pride in the area and her love of nature, Reed recently named her studio “Pudding Stone Studio,” after the indigenous rock that is prevalent in the Jamaica Plain area.

Reed is very active in the local arts scene, participating in JP Centre/South Main Streets First Thursdays and several artistic guilds focusing on the production of monoprints, woodcuts and watercolors. This year will mark Reed’s 8th year participating in Open Studios. Those interested in a preview of Reed’s work can visit her page on the Jamaica Plain Artists Association’s website (

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is an annual free weekend-long celebration of the arts where over 200 artists display and sell their original work. This year, Open Studios occurs Sept. 29 – 30. Visit or call 943-7819 for more information about the event, participating artists and volunteer opportunities.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, administrated by the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events.

The writer is a volunteer with Jamaica Plain Open Studios

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *