Eva Marie Loucks, a local art instructor, is showcasing her work in the Clifton Park–Halfmoon Public Library through Feb. 29. Loucks’ path to a life of painting has been a winding one.
Originally intrigued by architecture, she started engineering studies at Hudson Valley Community College where she met her husband. Around that time she realized engineering was too confining and decided to pursue a career in art. She later attended The College of Saint Rose to study art, advertising and graphic design.
St. Rose offered Loucks the chance to experiment with silkscreened images called serigraphs. Some of her serigraphs include images of wildflowers and scenes from the Saratoga Race track. However, once she decided to have children, she put serigraphs on hold. “It just took too much time at home and the chemicals you have to use aren’t
that great,” she explained. She has since shifted her focus to acrylics and watercolors.
While she was born in Clifton Park and has lived in Saratoga County her whole life, Loucks’ love of travel has brought her all around the world and deeply influenced her art. She said exploring foreign places and transferring those experiences to paper
is “just a part of me.” She enjoys painting and is most inspired while on these faraway adventures. Her passport includes stamps from Italy, Germany, England, France, Australia and, perhaps most influentially, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Loucks said she felt called to Medjugorje, a small town in the Herzegovina portion of Bosnia-Herzegovina that has become a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics amid claims the Virgin Mary appears in the town. She’s been back to Medjugorje three more times since her first visit in 2006 and says the town has become a large part of her work.
“I felt kind of called to go [to Medjugorje] and I just fell in love with it,” Loucks explained. She drew great inspiration from the region’s tranquility, rocky landscape and rolling hills.
A sentiment gathered from trips to Medjugorje which inspired one of her favorite paintings is to be thankful for everything in life, large and small, even the smallest flower.
She explained, “A lot of times when you’re hiking you’re just walking and not really paying attention to where you’re going and you could crush that flower. That fl ower is there for a purpose. And we are here for a purpose, so it makes me think that if that tiny little flower is there and God wanted it there, he wants us in our lives for a reason.”
Loucks said her experiences in Medjugorje have “rekindled” her spirituality. She said it’s an ideal place for meditation. “It was so peaceful. I just wanted to share that with other people. It just turned into my journey of faith,” she explained.
She compiled a body of paintings inspired by Medjugorje into a self-published book entitled “Medjugorje, A Personal Journey in Photography and Illustration.” She gave a copy of her book to the Pope and discussed her work on a Catholic radio station.
Prior to her introduction to Medjugorje, Loucks said her spirituality wasn’t a major part of her work. She doesn’t have another trip to Medjugorje lined up just yet, but hopes to return one day.
These days Loucks splits her time between teaching a watercolor class at the Malta Community Center, taking care of her four children and collaborating with a friend to create a children’s book. “It keeps me going,” she said of her art, adding “It’s like therapy.”
At 52 years old, Loucks is glad she chose the path she did. “At this point
in my life I just want to do something
I enjoy,” she said.