Otty Merrill

I create art that tells a story. The actual story is my expression of an emotion or life experience; often dealing with childhood, fantasy and abstract interpretation of events in my life. My hope and intent is often to draw in the viewer and have them relate by identifying the subject, place or emotion. In the process of creating a piece, usually in encaustic wax, I fall into the story and then try to step back and become the viewer rather than the maker. I’ve come to realize I love simplicity and often seem to be fighting against “adding too much”. I love the kind of simplicity that isn’t simple at all, but is the result of removing what is unnecessary and then being brave enough to believe and trust that the message will be felt and appreciated.

Otty Merrill is an artist from Tenants Harbor, Maine, where she has lived for many years. Born in New Jersey, she started her career in commercial art in New York City. She attended Endicott College in Beverly Massachusetts and over the years has attended courses at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Maine College of Art, The DeCordova Museum School and Haystack Mountain School. She co-founded the Sherborn Arts Center near Boston, where she also ran a small pottery business.
Currently, she maintains a studio in the mid-coast and also uses studio space in Portland at Running with Scissors, an artists’ cooperative with 55 other professional artists. Her work has been shown in Portland, Maine galleries and is currently represented by Art Collector Maine in Portland. She has exhibited at The Center For Maine Contemporary Art, Maine College of Art and University of Maine Augusta and Belfast. Her encaustic work has been selected for exhibits at the National Association of Women Artists in New York City, The NewArts Center in Newton Massachusetts, The Holocaust and Human Rights Center at the University of Maine/Augusta and various other regional venues. As a member of the International Encaustic Artists, Otty has attended many conferences and workshops in Sante Fe, Tucson and Provincetown. She has been a docent at the PORTLAND MUSEUM of ART and a special events volunteer at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. She gives encaustic workshops at The Art Loft in Rockland, at her studio in Turkey Cove and at 26 Split Cove Arts Center in South Thomaston, Maine.

I have been making art always, because….to quote my favorite writer, Elizabeth Gilbert from her book “Big Magic”…”Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet. It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble. If I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind).