State Of The Arts: The Ethereal Abstracts Of Marianne Hornbuckle Explore The Universe

Marianne Hornbuckle at her Pojoaque Valley home and studio. Photo by Bonnie Gordon/

‘March of Spring’. Courtesy/Marianne Hornbuckle

By Bonnie J. Gordon
Los Alamos Daily Post

Marianne Hornbuckle has been on the artist path since second grade.

She “went straight” as a young adult, choosing teaching English, raising children and living a conventional life in suburban Houston. But the call of art was strong and once she picked up a brush, she was soon working as a full-time artist.

Thirty-seven years ago, Hornbuckle moved to her home in the Pojoaque Valley with her husband, artist William Preston, best known for his sumi work. Preston died five years ago and Hornbuckle continues to market art from his estate.

Painting has remained Hornbuckle’s focus through many styles and mediums. Lately, her large acrylic abstracts have a “cosmic” feel. Through her 50s and 60s, yoga practice and study of Vedanta and other Eastern philosophies ultimately led to her current work, which also is infused with concepts from religion and science, especially physics and astronomy. She is especially interested in questions of uncertainty.

“It’s certainly a metaphor for now,” Hornbuckle said. “One of the blessings of uncertainty is that you have a lot of choices. It’s like being a scientific explorer.”

Another theme is her reaction to polarization and hatred.

“I can’t preach or talk, but I can make images,” she said.

Sometimes paintings start with a title, and the question, “How would I represent that?” Sometimes she discovers what a painting is about half-way through.

“I don’t know where the more ethereal paintings come from,” she said. “After Bill died I got back into walking. I’m very curious and sitting and reading is probably not going to fill in one’s understanding of Eastern thought.”

Hornbuckle said her work is “decorative, but not just decorative.” The paintings are “narrative abstracts” about existence.

“What it means to you is more important than what it means to me,” she said, though her evocative titles give you some ideas. “My work is complex. There is a lot to discover.”

“I had been doing life drawing on a small scale and then I decided to start casting in bronze about 10 years ago,” Hornbuckle said. “The body is awe inspiring.”

The process of creating a bronze statue is long and complex, starting with creating a clay model, Hornbuckle explained. Then one makes a mold, doing a wax figure from the mold. The figure is sent to a foundry for casting in bronze by creating a ceramic mold from the wax. After the bronze figure emerges from the mold, it must be refined, welded together, sand blasted and coated with a patina.

“It costs $800 to $900 to get from clay to finished product,” Hornbuckle said. “Now you know why bronzes aren’t cheap!”

They are, however, exquisite.

Like all professional artists, she struggles to maintain her sales during the pandemic. Hornbuckle has a new commercial site at in addition to her site at She has recently begun doing “print on demand” on smooth fine art paper, canvas, metal-white gloss, acrylic and wood.

The prints are high quality and very beautiful.

Hornbuckle is holding a 25 percent off sale, so be sure to visit online:

‘Talking’. Courtesy/Marianne Hornbuckle

‘Echos of Memory’. Courtesy/Marianne Hornbuckle

‘Lost in Thought’. Courtesy/Marianne Hornbuckle

‘Finding My Center’. Courtesy/Marianne Hornbuckle