"The light would just be incredible--all these reflective surfaces lit up, and for a minute when you're in that moment, it doesn't really matter that you're in the city," says the 40-year-old landscape painter from the small town of Cannington, Ontario, recalling one of his frequent visits to the city. "You're just kind of in this little hallelujah moment."
While he was first inspired to depict nature's unpredictable and quaint beauty, he also helps people see life in a different perspective with an urban painting series, including scenes of downtown Toronto.
"It's a natural reaction to your own sense of aesthetics," says Marshak, during a session of mixing colours to make his oil paintings. "You paint what you find visually interesting."
Marshak's destiny was sealed at age 12 at arts camp (Camp White Pine in Haliburton) when he was first exposed to like-minded people who shared his passion and where he created his first painting of the wilderness.
He was obsessed with drawing until he discovered painting at the Ontario College of Art. He went from spending eight hours on life paintings in his second year of college to making it his livelihood today, where he showcases his art in solo shows and with the artist's collective DRAWNONWARD, which he teamed up with during college.
He can't give an exact answer on why he paints, but he loves travelling and the fact that his office is at the edge of a lake or cliff and his paintbox is his briefcase.
"Every day that you paint outside you get more in tune with your environment, and your paintings get better every day," he says. "Communing with nature is not some weird hippie thing. It's just incredibly natural to us as humans."