About Me

Artist Grace Marquez in Nerac France

Hello! So glad you made it here.

I'm Grace and I paint the underwater world. I'm an avid technical diver, wreck diver and cave diver as well as a scuba instructor.

I paint for water lovers like myself and for people who yearn for the magical escape that can be found just below the water line. 

Pursuing my passion

I left a successful career in advertising and marketing as a creative director to pursue my art full time when I had an "aha" moment of "If I don't do it now, I'll never do it and I'll regret it for the rest of my life". (Sounds dramatic - yes but that's me - I'm either 100% in or 100% out. ) I've had my own art school teaching kids to tell stories  and to learn history through art. I've also taught adults in the digital world and computer graphics at Centennial College in Toronto.

 

Grace taking a selfie underwater while diving in Lake Huron in Tobermory

 Jumpstarted into diving by Jackfish

From a young child up until I was a teenager, I used to have a recurring dream of being underwater and swimming with a school of huge silvery blue jackfish all around me. It was like they knew me. I had this dream over and over but as an adult it suddenly stopped. I had forgotten all about this until I went back to the Philippines for the first time as an adult and saw a group of jackfish swirling around in shallow water beside our boat in Palawan. It all came flooding back to me and funny enough - that's the trip where I did my first scuba dive. It was as if my subconscious reminded me at a time when I was most open to it, that I was a creature of the water. I was hooked after that discover scuba diving session and when I came home, I got my certification and haven't stopped diving since.

 

Grace Marquez artist in the studio

My process

My paintings often start while on a dive. While I'm underwater, I'm experiencing things and seeing sights I already want to capture in colours and compositions. My dives are the start of every painting I've ever made. I aim to capture the wonder and awe I feel in the textures, strokes and layers of colour that make up the light and darkness; movement and life in the water world. I take my goPro with me on dives to record what I see. Back in the studio, I review the videos and pull stills from them. This is the beginning of the subject matter I want to paint. The still is just a jumping off point and reference. The rest of the painting is my memory and impression of that moment.

 

My Inspiration

I'm fascinated by the transformative power of water - how it changes and absorbs light as it moves through, how it  shapes rocks and geology as it passes over it and by how whole environments will change over time as mother nature reclaims it. It's so powerful.

 

10 Random Facts About Me

  1. I've spent a month teaching in a small village in Tanzania and slept under the stars during a safari and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro while I was there.

  2. I could eat ice cream every single day of my life and my favourite flavour is pistachio.

  3. I've swam with one light in hand, in a little known cenote in Mexico where there are still the skeletal remains of the Mayan human sacrifices if you dive down to the bottom of the pit.

  4. I have an adorable fur baby named Joey who is a two year old German Shepherd that I love with all my heart.

  5. I'm fairly certain that while on a cave dive in the Dominican Republic, a water spirit touched my leg, gave me warning to GO NO FARTHER and turn back about 4900 feet into the cave.

  6. When I was younger, I used to pretend I was a sassy girl named Sasha whenever I was nervous about something, to help me get through it.

  7. Chocolates and pastries are my kryptonite.

  8. I have a primordial fear of snakes. And Zombies.

  9. I love to go hiking along with Joey (but am very wary of said snakes).

  10. I'm a huge fantasy and sci-fi nut. Tolkien and trekkie - "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us" so "Live Long and Prosper"!

    Thank you for reading this far! 

    If you like my work but have a vision of something in particular, I'm also happy to work together with you to bring that to life. Just drop me a note at grace@gracemarquezstudio.com and let's bring something unique and creative into the world! 

    If you want to know a bit more about me and my process and experiences, check out my blog or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

    Otherwise, feel free take a look around and enjoy 🙂