Marianne Karlsen grew up in the small coastal village of Molde on Norway's west coast surrounded by panoramic views of both the sea and the snowy peaks of the Romdal mountains. "This is the place where my eyes were opened to painting, when I borrowed my father's oil paints. I was fascinated by how the soft brushes and the paint flowed over the canvas," she says. As the opportunity for studying in her home district was limited, Marianne left Molde to further educate herself. First she studied illustration and painting in folk high school, then product and interior design at the University of Akershus. "After a few years of studies, I realised that I had to be true to myself and focus on what I wanted most in life: to paint." She hired a studio in a collective in Oslo and soon landed her first commission. Since then she has enjoyed continued success as a painter, both taking assignments and selling her own work. She enjoys experimenting with different techniques and likes trying new tools to draw with – as well as new surfaces and materials to paint upon. "A central element in my pictures is the light, I often work with dramatic lighting and strong contrasts. Most often I’ll use a limited colour palette, black and white with a touch of warmer tones. I love the simple, the classic and the clean." As inspiration Marianne lists amongst others Christian Krogh for his vigorous brushwork and warm motifs, William Hammerhøj for his enigmatic and murky milieus and Rene Gruau for his simple and timeless illustrations. "I am also inspired by different places, films, billboards, music videos, old children's books and photographs. But also by my three young sons and their way of seeing the world."