DerwenskusJPGMarilynn trained at Wayne State University with experimental watercolorists, Mary Jane Bigler and Louise Nobili in the late 1950’s, the era of abstract expressionism. She earned both BFA and MA in Painting.

In the mid 1980’s, Marilynn discovered Post Modernism during MFA studies with Vera Klement, Robert Peters, and Tom Mapp at the University of Chicago.Clearly, abstract expressionism and post-modernism affects Marilynn’s teaching methods.

Her interest in creating and communicating ideas is an important issue in the learning programs she offers – a result of a Lilly Fellowship when Marilynn researched the origins of ideas for the visual artist.

Content development is addressed in programs she presents. Her training coupled with passionate painting prepare her to offer a varied program to those who study with her.

For more information about Marilynn’s images and ideas, check out the article, “New Beginning” in the Workshop Creativity segment of Watercolor Artist Magazine, April 2011.




My images changed significantly over the years. At first, my paintings were abstract and focused on color and shape as the subject. But then in 1986, I encountered post-modernism during my MFA studies and I began to search for ideas to add purpose and meaning to my paintings. I examined personal life experiences. Soon my attention shifted to universal issues resulting from my travels that allowed me to experience other cultures. Even so, I still think of myself as an abstract artist that includes representational imagery within a flat space. I consider my work lyrical abstraction. Changes in my images have prepared me to offer students a variety of ways to construct their paintings. I look forward to sharing such views with other artists.


After more than one year of settling into a new environ, Marilynn has finally adjusted to her world in Franklin, Tennessee.  Finally she is creatively and intellectually stimulated and ready for some serious painting and teaching.  A short September 2016 trip to Cardiff, Wales will provide an opportunity to celebrate a friend’s 80th birthday and to launch new exploratory paintings for Marilynn.  Then, in October 2016, she will teach a new workshop based on place and the re-birth of painting. The lovely green rolling hills of Tennessee bombarded her vision since her move and the graceful and spontaneous paintings/drawings that her 3  1/2 year old twin grandchildren created suggest Marilynn’s current avenue of creative explorations.  Yes, Marilynn is back on track toward uniquely different paintings and her recent experiences provide the central focus for new workshops.


Outstanding Creative Endeavor Faculty Award, Ball State, 33 one or two person exhibits including, Reconfiguring Memories, Gordy’s Fine Art and Framing, Muncie, IN.

Nearly 450 national and international exhibitions with 87 awards including:

  • Gold Medal in Red River Watercolor
    Society Exhibit, Moorhead, MN
  • Golden Vision Award, Rocky Mountain
    National Watermedia, Golden, CO
  • First Place
    Watercolor West, Brea, CA


3 Indiana Arts Commission Grants
Lilly Faculty Open Fellowship
14 Ball State University Creative Arts Grants
Partners of the Americas Fellowship, Brazil
Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant
Arts Foundation of Michigan Grant
Michigan Council for Arts Creative Artist Grant


MFA, University of Chicago
MA, BFA, Wayne State University