As a young girl, Marcie Jan Bronstein played a game with her dad that involved finding some sort of object. Whether it was a pebble or a coin, the object didn't really matter. They would reinvent what they had found by telling a story about the object, which exposed Bronstein to a creative mindset at a young age.

Since then, this local artist has expressed her creativity through photography, painting, and a unique mix of the two, as well as a great deal of experimentation with positives and negatives in her photography. Her work has been collected, exhibited and published all around the world.

It was while she was in high school, working in a darkroom, that her interest in negatives began. She was fascinated by looking at the negatives through light, but did not start pursuing negative work until years later when she began making negative prints in the darkroom.

Her love of photography stemmed from her time at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She focused initially on the study of painting and sculpture. This was a period before websites, so if she wanted to show her work she had to make slides of it. While photographing her work to make the slides, she began to realize she was more passionate about the photography of the work than the actual work she was photographing.

Bronstein then combined her passions for painting and photography by painting on her photographs.

“It was an impulse for me,” she said. “I would see something, photograph it, then revisit it with paint.”

In addition to her personal art creations, she also spent time as an art educator at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. It was there, in 2011, that she created Artlab for All Ages, a program featuring free workshops where anyone could go and create open-ended and dynamic artwork.

“It's very gratifying to see parents and children working together in the workshop,” Bronstein said. She added that another satisfying thing about the workshops is the fact that they bring grants to CMCA.

Her work with children at CMCA aided Bronstein in her creation of “Photoplay,” a one-of-a-kind photo-based prompt book that has been published and sold around the world. The book features photos she has taken that prompt readers to add their own art to the page.

“The idea for this book stemmed from my observation of children drawing,” Bronstein said.

Ever since her son was young, Bronstein has had a fascination for watching children play and observing them “tap into the incredible art veins” that appear during a state of deep play, when one is uninterrupted and focused solely on what he or she is creating.

Bronstein used this fascination as well as “Photoplay” for a good cause when she created “Photoplay” pages to be used by children at CMCA, as well as by children in both Sudan and Poland, to raise awareness of the importance of clean water.

The purpose of the “Photoplay” pages was to show how kids in three different countries feel about water, and to inspire them to reflect on the important role water plays in our lives. The project was also designed to broaden students' knowledge about how to save energy and reduce pollution to better care for the planet and the water on it.

This collaboration, which supports the Polish Humanitarian Action Mission in its work to help bring water to South Sudan, was made into a short film, featuring photos of the children from all three countries with their drawings. The film, "No Life Without Water," was selected to be featured in a film festival in India.

More recently, Bronstein has returned from a cruise on which she was an art instructor. That was the last instructing she will do for a time, as she has decided to concentrate now on her own work.

“In order to focus completely on my own art, I made the difficult decision to break from teaching and creating education programs in the ArtLab, so I'm passing the ArtLab torch on to the next educator,” she said.

She looks on her experiences with fondness. “These past few years have been quite hectic,” Bronstein said, smiling, “but I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've had.”