Art — Morin avoids typecasting

Morin avoids typecasting


By Michelle Saturley


Student, soldier, father and now, artist


Painter Richard Morin has been on the local art scene for about 15 years, specializing in monotypes and colorful landscapes. But his artistic roots stretch back even further, to when he was an art student at what was then known as the Manchester Institute of Art.

“I took a variety of fine-arts courses, but what really drew me in was monotype,” Morin said. “I liked the spontaneity of the medium.”

Monotypes combine painting and printmaking, and are so named because only one good impression can be obtained from each printing plate.

Shortly after his enrollment at the Institute, Morin’s life took a detour when he joined the military. Upon leaving the service, he married and began a family. During this era of Morin’s life, art was put on hold — but it was always in the back of his mind.

“In 1990, a friend urged me to take a monotype workshop at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough,” Morin said. “Once I did that, I knew there was no going back.”

What really sealed the deal for Morin was a stroll through an outdoor art show one summer day.

“I was looking around at some of the art in the show, and I remember thinking, ‘I could do that.’ Then I thought, ‘Well, what am I waiting for?’ My daughters were grown. I had no more excuses. It was just a matter of getting the guts to do it.”

Morin took more courses at the NH Institute of Art, including more monotype classes. He also fell in love with the oil medium. He began experimenting with traditional oils as well as oil sticks, which he liked because of the bold colors and ease of use.

“I use bold colors in my work,” he said. “I think that’s sort of my signature as an artist.”

“And I tend to go through periods where I lean towards certain colors for a while,” he added. “Right now, my favorite landscapes to paint are those that take place late in the day, because of the sunset colors. Those vivid reds and oranges are my favorites.”

Since breaking out on the local scene 13 years ago, Morin has joined several artists groups that help him promote his work. He’s currently represented in New England by the Anderson-Soule Gallery in Concord,and he is a juried member of the New Hampshire Art Association, where his work has been shown at the NHAA-owned Levy Gallery in Portsmouth. Morin also participated in an artists’ exchange program, traveling to rural Italy to learn plain air and architectural painting techniques.

“That was an exciting, but intimidating experience for me,” Morin says of the trip. “I don’t think I did my best work while I was there, but after I got back, and processed everything I learned, I think my work changed for the better.”

Since then, Morin has shown work at several outdoor shows including Art in the Park in Amherst, the Fort Preble outdoor show in Maine, the Seaside Festival in Rhode Island, and the Newburyport Art Association outdoor show. One of his favorite venues is the Mt. Sunapee Art Festival.

“You know you’re getting popular when you see the same faces at every show, and they come on the opening day, looking for your work,” Morin said. “That’s what happened to me last year at Sunapee. It was a good feeling.”

When Morin isn’t painting or participating in shows at galleries across the state, he leads monotype workshops in his studio.

“My next workshop is going to be on March 12,” he said. “It’s already full. I can’t have more than five or six people at a time in my studio, so the workshops fill quickly.”

Morin is pleased to see the cultural growth in his hometown.

“Manchester has always been a tough nut to crack for any artist,” he said. “I’m not sure why. We have one of the top art schools in northern New England right here. We have one of the best museums of art right here. But somehow, making a living as an artist here has been very difficult. I wonder if it’s still remnants of being a hardworking mill town, where people didn’t spend money on art. But I do think it’s changing. Every time I see a new gallery open or an established gallery doing well, that can only be a good thing.”

For more information on the work of Richard Morin, visit his website at or call the Anderson-Soule Gallery at 228-3800.

—Michelle Saturley

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