Selective Focus: Marissa Saurer

Marissa Saurer is an artist blending photography and painting with digital tools, focusing the camera on food, nature and the environment.

MS: I am a photographer who sometimes tries to walk the line between photography and painting. I do this by bringing my images into Corel Painter®, and digitally painting over them using my own brush strokes.

I have been a food photographer for a few years now working in the restaurant and craft beer industry. While I love food, I have recently expanded into landscape photography due to my love for nature and the outdoors. Some of my work has been specifically to help environmental causes.

I started with food photography. Though I’ve shot a lot of beautifully styled dishes from various clients, I prefer to shoot basic simple ingredients. I find it more interesting to lead the viewer’s eye into the subtle texture and light as in the skin of this ginger root.

I love the entire process, from getting out in the field, to capturing compositions to digital editing to the final product into whatever that final form the art takes. It may sound a little crazy, but I let the images themselves tell me what they want to become. If my art can raise awareness for environmental issues, that is a huge reward.

Northshore Fishing
I’ve learned that landscape photography is a very different animal than shooting food in a controlled environment. I shot this on an early August, early morning up the shore near the Temperance River. The light of the sunrise was gorgeous, and I used a long lens to focus in on a very simple composition of a person fishing from shore.

For my whole career, I’ve worked on a commercial level, doing work to fit into a client’s specific brand. While I now have the freedom to create want, I find it’s more difficult to monetize art for art’s sake.

Sailing Superior
I love playing with scale. These shore rocks were about my height, but by adding a single element, in this case, a sailboat, I’ve created something entirely new, different and I feel compelling. I’ve done similar compositions in the past, turning four-foot drifts into ice caves with what appeared to be 16-foot icicle pillars.

My photography can be seen on Insta at msaurer, and my msaurer creative Facebook page. More of my commercial work can be seen at and

Northshore Vision
This is a wide angle shot from again, the Northshore. My stepdaughter looks out over the majesty of the big lake. This is an example of me trying to find the line between photography and digital painting. Using Corel Painter® to enhance the sky by making it more painterly.

In a few weeks, I’ll be leaving for a 10-day photo expedition to Iceland. I’ll be traveling the entire country in a camper collecting images. Some will end up as raw photography with my signature black vignette, while others will become actual physical wall paintings. Many will fall somewhere in between those two, somewhere along the spectrum. If there is enough good work from that trip, I plan to have a gallery show in April or May of next year. My long-term goals are to shoot and document the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the planet so that future generations can see and understand them before they melt/disappear.


Babe the Blue Ox
In this case, I’m much more blatant about manually employing a digital painting technique to the image. I feel that because Babe is a mythical creature, a more whimsical, painterly effect is appropriate. As I said, the images themselves will tell me what they want to become.

1 Comment


about 2 years ago

I am in love with the Babe the Blue Ox work. How could I purchase a copy? I do not want to cheat and print it off of my computer. It would not do justice. It is so beautiful.

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