BETHEL — From afar, the artwork of Mattie Rose Templeton is impressive enough. However, the closer you get to it, the more alive it becomes. The precision and focus of her pen marks create a world on paper or canvas where the individual parts are as fascinating as the whole.

Templeton, who works as a cook at Cafe DiCocoa’s in Bethel, posts some of her work on her Facebook page, known as “Mattie Rose – Art.” It’s a treasure trove of drawings and paintings that she’s created over the past several years, with many of the pieces created with a calligraphy pen and an inkwell.

Name: Mattie Rose Templeton

Age: 31

Town: Bethel

Job: Cook, artist

School/major: Santa Fe Community College/Fine Arts

At what age did you become interested in creating art? I have been creating art since I was old enough to see color and shapes and move them in relation to each other. I’ve been making art my whole life.

What steps did you take to improve your craft as you got older? My mother supplied me with a great amount of art supplies from the very beginning. She saw that I was naturally drawn to create, and thought that I only needed the tools to do the job. I was home-schooled until seventh grade. I had private classes when I was young, and when I started to attend high school at Fryeburg Academy, I lived in the art room. I moved to New Mexico after graduation because of its huge art culture. As I got older, I refined the subjects and types of art that I made.

Many of your pieces are unbelievably complex and detailed. Where did you get the idea to draw in this style? I love nature, and I think that most of my art speaks to this. I have been creating pieces using an ink well for a number of years now. I have an affinity for the contrast of black and white, light and dark. I also want my art to tell a story, to make the viewer think of something deeper than just the art.

Are there certain artists that you consider influential on your own work? M.C. Escher, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. I am also influenced by the creative talk of children, the faces in trees and the patterns of wind-blown snow.

What do you do in your free time when you’re not drawing or painting? I am a cook at Cafe DiCocoa’s in Bethel. I also climb mountains, dance, read books by Haruki Murakami, and go sledding.

What advice would you give to fledgling artists who wish to improve their craft? I would say that we are our own worst enemy when it comes to criticizing our own work. My advice is to be patient with yourself and your art.

Mattie Rose Templeton

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