The Calm of Blue

Posted by on Sep 10, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Calm of Blue


I’ve made art for many reasons over the years. Now I make art for stress relief during an extremely disturbing time.

We have a corrupt government at the highest levels. We were lied to in regards to the severity of the COVID pandemic, no plan to manage it and now we’re closing in on 200,000 deaths. We are in full blown wildfire season that is a direct result of climate change and again, our President has said it’s because we haven’t swept the forest floors. Really?

This is not normal. You can make a change and it’s by VOTING!

You’re voting, right?

The painting above called “Wallowa Lake” is 6″ x 5″ watercolor on paper. It’s available for $100 with 100% of the sale going to The Lincoln Project. This is an original piece so there is just one. First one to reply to this email saying you want it, it’s yours and you are helping make change. Thank you.


P.S. Blue represents both the sky and the sea, and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, and intelligence. The color blue has positive affects on the mind and the body.

Are You Curious? Einstein Would Be Proud

Posted by on Aug 13, 2020 in Bend, Oregon, trees, Uncategorized, values | Comments Off on Are You Curious? Einstein Would Be Proud


I’ve had several role models in my life. Two stand out above the rest – my mom and my Aunt Fern. My mom was a huge proponent of education and my aunt was all about lifelong learning. I always felt their support and encouragement.

They shaped me into who I am. And guess what? I’m still following their lead. I’ve been taking an online watercolor class this week taught by Nancy McCarthy, an artist I greatly admire. I didn’t make any art that WOW’d me or anyone else but the lessons I’ve learned will help me in my future art making.

Take away? Look for shapes. The ink and bamboo brush work above looks simple and you’re right, it is simple. But to a line freak like me it was challenging. It took me three tries to get to this degree of simplicity without falling back on line work (see below). Nothing wrong with line work but the exercise was to make shapes using only light, medium and dark values. Lesson learned!


I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. — Albert Einstein



Clouds Always Steal My Heart and The Show

Posted by on Aug 6, 2020 in Clouds, Downtown Bend, Oregon, pilot, Pilot Butte, Plein Air, summit, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Clouds Always Steal My Heart and The Show


I painted for the first time at Pilot Butte today. It’s “our” butte that is right in town. From the summit the entire city of Bend is visible as well as several major Cascade peaks. It is one of only four cities in the country that has a volcano within their city border. For the curious the other three are Portland, Oregon; Jackson, Mississippi and Honolulu, Hawaii. That’s what I said, Mississippi has a volcano?!

I made a couple thumbnail sketches prior to painting and it became obvious that the clouds were going to steal the show.  I wanted them to float, to interact with the butte and mesmerize the viewer as they did me.

I will definitely paint at Pilot Butte again.

Stay safe everyone.

Mosquitos and Crashes and Sprinklers, Oh My!

Posted by on Jul 30, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mosquitos and Crashes and Sprinklers, Oh My!


Painting outdoors is fun and rewarding. It’s also exciting!

First, there’s the wind. I have a good setup (see below). It’s very stable, but painting in 30 mph gusts is a little disconcerting. Painting with my right hand and holding the easel and palette in place with the other hand is a new skill that needs to be added to my resume.

MOSQUITOS. I grew up in Michigan so I know mosquitos. They’re a pain in the you know what. I’ve actually had to change my location because I would have been eaten alive. I’m talking about you, Tumalo Reservoir.

Finding the perfect place to paint has little to do with what’s under foot. It’s all about the scene and keeping the canvas and palette in the shade. Moving the setup to stay in shade requires some coordination and remembering that the ground under foot is not always level. CRASH. It’s amazing how fast an entire setup can end up on the ground. Twice!

There are also man-made dangers that come with urban settings. SPRINKLERS! You know the sound when they’re getting ready to blow. It’s just a matter of time before you grab the whole setup and RUN!

This passes for fun right now. How about you?



Friends Forever

Posted by on Jul 16, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Friends Forever


Part of painting outdoors begins with walking around with a sketchbook looking for a good subject. A few times I’ve explained to people what I’m doing, especially if they seem a bit concerned. Ha!

These two stumps stopped me in my tracks. At the time I didn’t know why, maybe the circular shapes, maybe the mass, maybe that they were in the middle of an Aspen grove.

About an hour into the painting I realized I was making a narrative painting. These two were snuggling. What had they been through? How long were they there? Are they still communicating through the roots somehow? I’m guessing someone knows the answer to this.

Did you see a story in this?”


When Rule-Breaking Is Fun

Posted by on Jul 9, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Rule-Breaking Is Fun


I think you know that during this pandemic I decided to learn how to paint en plein air. French for outdoors.

Like everyone else on the planet who wants to learn something new I headed to YouTube. I watched lots of videos on everything plein air. I learned about the setup including a tripod, sketch book, palette, Pochade Box (didn’t even know what that was). I then discovered Plein Air magazine which has a video publishing arm with tons of free videos. There’s also the fabulous Tucson Art Academy. Don’t get me started.

Of course, there are thousands of videos for sale. I even purchased a couple of those and am currently signed up for Plein Air LIVE (online) which begins next week. EXCITED!

Like most days during this pandemic I practiced social distancing out in nature. I packed all my painting goodies into my trusty Prius and headed out. In fifteen minutes I was at Lava Island Falls painting. What? No value study, no sketch, no pre-determining a color scheme, no preconceived ideas about composition? No. No. No.

Today I broke all the rules I’ve been so studiously learning and it worked out anyway.

Rules be damned – but I’m so glad I know you.


A Slice of Paradise

Posted by on Jul 2, 2020 in Oregon, Plein Air, Sisters, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Slice of Paradise


This painting, A Slice of Paradise, is part of my Nature Series. It will be around for the summer.

I found this location only because the location where I was going to paint was closed due to bridge construction. I was determined to paint so I hopped in my car and headed down a dirt road not more than two minutes away – Voila! This scene came into view.

Looking at the beauty before me, listening to the wind in the trees and watching an Acorn Woodpecker climb up and down and all around a Ponderosa pine, I knew this was the spot.

I spent three hours out here. I made a couple of quick sketches, determined where I wanted to set my easel and got to work, or should I say play.

“A Slice of Paradise”, 10″ x 8″, oil on canvas panel.

I hope you and your loved ones are well.


Rocky Path

Posted by on Jun 26, 2020 in Oregon, Plein Air, Rocks, Tumalo State Park | Comments Off on Rocky Path


It’s nice to be a beginner at something. I put plein air painting into this category. It’s fun but challenging to decide what to paint, narrow it down to something achievable, create a design, sketch in a drawing, put the values in, and lastly add color.

When I headed out to Tumalo State Park, I found the perfect place to paint. I setup the easel and palette and quickly realized I didn’t have my palette knife with me. I also remembered that I forgot to go buy more solvent-free medium. It was a bit clunky feeling but I quickly adapted to mixing paint with a brush. I think it’s why this painting is so cohesive in it’s color scheme. A little bit of paint was always on the brush from the previous mix. It’s not my preferred method, but it is a method and lots of people work this way.

I titled the painting “Rocky Path” because of the subject matter, but it could have just as easily been about the process. “Rocky Path”, 12″ x 6″, oil on canvas panel. Beauty provided by Mother Nature.

Do you have a slice of Mother Nature to enjoy near you? I hope so. There’s nothing like it for our mental health during this challenging time.

Peace and well-being to all of you.



Posted by on Jun 19, 2020 in Art Shows, Juneteenth, People, Struggles, Uncategorized, WORKS San Jose | Comments Off on Struggles


As a white woman I cannot even imagine what it is like to live as a black person in this country. I never had to have “the talk” about how to behave outside the house. That if I were ever pulled over by the police that I was not to move my hands without telling the officer what I was going to do so as not to get shot. To not talk back. To say yes, sir and yes, ma’am. And that even if you do everything “right”, you may still be shot and killed.

I also can’t imagine being hated for the color of my skin. I’m pretty sure I was never denied a job interview because my name was too “black-sounding”. It goes on and on. It’s shameful and disgusting.

In 2019 I began a series of figurative paintings. “Struggles” is of a dark-skinned woman who is standing amidst coils that are circular representing recurrence. They are also jumbled, knotted, and irregular. She stands in innocence in her white dress and Mary Janes. Her struggles are ongoing, challenging and at times life threatening.

“Struggles”, 49″ x 18″, mixed media on board has been included in an online show titled “For Mr. Floyd, Ms. Taylor…
a memorial exhibition” at Works/San Jose in California. A portion of sales will go to a racial justice group.

In honor of Juneteenth, may we all speak up, especially white people, to defend, support and make life better for black people in this country.

Thank you, Mary

P.S. A huge thank you to all of  you who took the time to write or to send good thoughts, in spirit, my way. I am grateful to have such a caring and loving community. I appreciate every single one of you.


My Outdoor World Studio

Posted by on Jun 11, 2020 in Oregon, Plein Air, Studio Time | Comments Off on My Outdoor World Studio


How are you? I hope you and your loved ones are well during this incredibly difficult time.

Since moving my studio home January 1, I’m taking this sheltering-in-place time to learn a new skill. I have watched every video I can get my hands on (You Tube and Streamline Art Videos) to learn how to paint outdoors aka en plein air. I will say right off the bat how incredibly challenging it is and how much new respect I have for those that paint en plein air. I’ve been at it for a couple months now and each time I go out I gain a bit more confidence, but have a ways to go. The good news is that it’s always nice spending time with Mother Nature.

Would love to hear how you’re spending this sheltering-in-place time.

Wishing you well, Mary