Give and Take

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 9, 2016 — 5 Comments

It’s in my personality to enjoy a challenge. I don’t mind sometimes doing without, having to be creative and find ways around a shortage. I don’t mind that our family of 5 has one bathroom; you just learn to take turns and by golly I can clean one bathroom, easy peasy.

An inconvenience I’ve been living with for sometime now is the lack of a home computer. No big deal, except for when it comes to blogging and updating my website. Well, Merry Christmas, I’m back, typing on a computer that lives here instead of one that comes home for belated visits after work.

detail of watercolor farmhouseIn the weeks leading up to Christmas, I worked full weekends and many afternoons getting a variety of commissions painted, drawn and framed. To keep my focus in our busy home, and tune out the (mostly) happy racket, I listened to audio books. While I painted a gorgeous family farmhouse, I listened to The Zimzum of Love by Rob and Kristen Bell, and imbibed a bit of give and take into the piece.

While I listened to the stories of living in a collaborative, relational dance, I thought of how the vines and time had grown and coated the old house in an aged patina. How the old house became one with the landscape, how the house and earth united to make the image so very beautiful. The walls made room for the plants; the plants adorned the farmhouse.

I worked with watercolor canvas, a surface well-primed for the give and take of paint. I layered strong, deep colors; I removed them ever so methodically. Over and over, my brush danced to the tune of cooperation, bantering calmly back and forth with the canvas.

While I listened and worked, I navigated my way through little sibling disputes, the needs and requests of the kids, the pets, and mealtimes. A game of give and take, pause and focus, time for myself and time for others.

The whole process wrapped up in give and take.

Wepritz Farm, 8x10 watercolor on canvas

Wepritz Farm, 8×10 watercolor on canvas

Gift Cards

Mary Liz Ingram —  December 1, 2015 — Leave a comment

Sometimes it’s so hard to choose a piece of art for a friend! Or you want to commission a portrait for a family member, but you’re not sure which photo they would like. If you’re stuck, I have an option for you:

Gift Cards for artwork!

Gift cards can be purchased in any amount and are redeemable for commissioned or available pastel paintings of chosen value. From pastel portraits, to ink doodles, to watercolors…so many options available for your friend or family member to choose from!

Gift Card

Gift cards will be written for the amount paid & purchase intention noted (ex: 5×7 framed pastel; 8×10 unframed portrait, etc.). Gift cards will be signed by the artist for authenticity. Those receiving gift cards may upgrade to higher-priced artwork by paying the balance. 

The Macaron

Mary Liz Ingram —  November 12, 2015 — 2 Comments

MacaronCan a three-year-old appreciate a macaron?

She will look at the choices, ask what are the flavors, contemplate which may be most delicious. She will choose a pink one, because it is beautiful and pink. She will eagerly await the little dainty treat, and finish all her supper. She will hold it carefully in her hand, and look at it closely. She will rub the smooth top with her tiny finger, and peek into the middle to see what color is inside. She will sniff it and look at it one more time before taking a little bite. She will say “mmmmm” with as much pleasure as I, and eat the whole thing carefully and slowly. We will say French words while we eat our macarons, and feel very fancy.

So, yes, I think a three-year-old can appreciate a macaron.

Bon apetit.

"The Macaron," 20x25 watercolor on canvas

“The Macaron,” 20×25 watercolor on canvas

Pet Portraits

Mary Liz Ingram —  October 21, 2015 — Leave a comment

A portrait is a wonderful way to create a lasting memory of your pet…any pet! Either in black & white or full color, I so enjoy creating a true-to-life painting to bring out the personality behind the photograph. With each detail captured, from the glint in the eye to the many hues in the fur, these portraits can be valued for generations. I’ve drawn everything from fish and dogs, to cows and chickens, to rabbits and cats.

Pet portraits make wonderful gifts…in order to ensure completion for Christmas, contact me today! marylizingramart@gmail.com

Pet Portrait Pricing:

8 x 10″: $175 ink or charcoal, $225 color pastel; add $90 for each additional subject

9 x 12″: $200 ink or charcoal, $260 color pastel; add $100 for each additional subject

11 x 14″: $250 ink or charcoal, $325 color pastel; add $125 for each additional subject

16 x 20″: $400 ink or charcoal, $465 color pastel; add $200 for each additional subject

18 x 24″: $550 ink or charcoal, $625 color pastel; add $275 for each additional subject

24 x 36″: $750 ink or charcoal, $850 color pastel; add $400 for each additional subject

Prices for other subjects and sizes available upon request.

Beach Adventures

Mary Liz Ingram —  October 4, 2015 — Leave a comment

There’s this magical place where the sands are untouched, smooth and white as snow; where the sky stretches on in the vastness of blue, where the sea oats whisper and the ocean rolls, where a river of amber flows shallow and changing into the turquoise sea. If you listen, you only hear the quiet breeze and the gentle splashing of your bare feet as you tread gingerly up the river towards the lake. The dunes are safe from the traffic and trash of humans. The herons watch you approach, and the little fish dart in the skim of water.

This is where we find respite for a week each September. I take the hearty adventurers up the tidal river towards Alligator Lake several times each day, and always in the early morning when the cotton candy clouds hang lazy in the sky. With a net and eager eyes, my son watches for crab. His lithe little body, tanned by the sun, moves with patient energy. He appreciates the stillness of the place, the untouched nature. I’m proud as I watch him wonder.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure and honor to offer a pastel demonstration at one of the monthly meetings of the Mountain Brook Art Association. Just back from the most recent beach trip, I chose a picture of my son in the beach river, green net in hand, looking up at the beautiful sky with his little feet in the damp sand.

Beach Adventures, 16x20 pastel

Beach Adventures, 16×20 pastel

At the demonstration, I was able to share some of my favorite materials and techniques. Below is a list of some earlier blog posts about my favorite materials:

Sennelier, Paris... My favorite!

Sennelier, Paris… My favorite!

Sennelier Soft Pastels:

The Darker the Better

Love at First Sight

Full Circle

Spraying Pastels:

To Spray or not to Spray

SpectraFix Pastel Fixative

SpectraFix Follow up

Papers & Boards:

Pastelbords

Pastel Ground:

Applying Pastel Ground

The Spanish Steps

Black Board with Golden Pastel Ground

 

Stephen

Mary Liz Ingram —  September 28, 2015 — 2 Comments

GrandfatherThis past summer my sweet Grandaddy passed away. Whenever there is a death, we the living pause. We remember that life is transient, ever changing, ever fragile, ever complex, ever lovely. We reflect and peruse memories and belongings.

Lingering in my grandfather’s apartment with my family the day after he passed, listening to the tick tock of the tall clock, noticing the newfound emptiness now that he is gone, I wandered through the few rooms. I touched his hat resting on the lamp, the softened threads of his gray-blue suit coat, his glasses by the adding machine. I spent awhile in front of a portrait my grandmother had painted of him a long time ago, when he was a young captain during WWII. He had the most beautiful clear blue eyes. My grandmother, his wife of 60-something years, is the artist who taught me what I know.

I carried that portrait in my mind for a week. To me, it meant she loved him. She was proud of him. She created a memorial to him, to the early days of relationship, a lasting image that we can absorb decades later.

I decided it was my turn. I spent a while looking through photos on my phone, looking for a straight forward image of my love, my husband, that spoke with the same simplicity, the same earnestness I found in my grandfather’s portrait. I settled on one taken at dinner, a photo that seemed ordinary. It wasn’t on the cliffs of California, or the sunset beach, or under the Eiffel Tower. Just dinner, just us. Just a quick, easy smile.

I chose watercolor and a new surface: a canvas painted with watercolor ground, making the canvas absorbent and ready for my paint. The background formed accidentally, when I piled on the color and subsequently wiped it off. “Happy accident,” as Bob Ross says.

I began to paint, and put a lot of love into it. Admiration, pride, appreciation… all in there. The painting took on a life of it’s own, as it so often does, and captured more of him than I meant to. Someone mentioned how kind and intelligent his eyes look. The painting revealed a lot of who Stephen is, which art should do. I’m glad to have this now.

Stephen Ingram, 12x12 watercolor on canvas

Stephen Ingram, 12×12 watercolor on canvas

Ready to goWhen you constantly create art, you eventually run out of room.

Time for a Summer Art Sale!

The pieces below are marked down for the next 2 weeks only, July 31-August 14.

Pastels, ink doodles, framed, unframed…there are lots of options. Some of them are my favorites, and they would love to find a home on a wall near you!

Contact me today to purchase your favorite! marylizingramart@gmail.com 

Art is available for immediate pick up or shipping (shipping costs apply). Cash, check and credit card accepted.

Click on the image to see the full view

 

Home Grown

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 4, 2015 — Leave a comment

“This land is your land, this land is my land…”

It’s the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the USofA.

Front Garden

We make our homes, build our lives, work to provide and strive to enjoy our days together, like just about every human being.

Here at the Ingram household, we have dug up 2/3 of our front yard (remember last fall?) and are growing our first spring and summer garden. And good grief, is it ever a fight. You’d think you could just plop some seeds in the dirt and they will grow into full, lush plants dripping with fruit. Not so much. Amending the soil, not over-watering nor under-watering, picking off those (bleepity-bleep) cabbage worms, fighting off the ants, beetles, birds, cats…

It takes consistency, perseverance, problem-solving, patience – much like life.

My garden daily calls me to consider my life.

A good life, a well-spent life, takes all of these things that the garden requires. You must get your hands in the thick of it to make a difference, to live outside your safe walls. You must persevere and admit you have no idea what to do next sometimes. You have to keep trying, being okay with failure here and there, knowing you will get where you want to go in the end – somewhere good and full of life.

We have successfully eaten food from the garden; we will, with working hands and honest eyes, find progress toward good things. 

Bugs!My frontyard garden puts me closer to community. I can’t hide in my backyard privacy fence, caring only for my own. And I don’t want to. My neighbors see my yellow tomato plant, give me advice on how to get the beetles off my bean plants, ask me how my lavender has stayed alive. I’ve met so many people while pulling weeds near the road. My garden has led me to some of my greatest new friends, like Ms. Gladys from Haiti. People I may never have met.

Forcing myself out front in the garden helps me put myself “out there,” taking greater chances in community. It has given me courage to speak to people in our community who know little English, not as worried if I look like a miming fool. And the fruits of these awkward conversations have been beautiful.

This land is OUR land…all of us together, with our glorious diversity. 

Our news is currently filled with examples and actions of hate in our nation. Intolerance, pointing fingers, pointing guns… we are better than this, surely. Our nation is founded in diversity, a country made of immigrants. It should flourish in its diversity.

We have so much to learn from each other, if we can open our eyes and work with love. Get our hands dirty, and be willing to look a little stupid sometimes when we feel unsure. Live with kindness, courage and understanding, not hate, fear or suspicion.

Let’s celebrate together, grow together and move forward together.

Spare Time

Mary Liz Ingram —  July 2, 2015 — Leave a comment

Back in late December, when we often reflect upon the year almost past and what we hope for in the days to come, my fingers started itching.

Actually, now that I remember, they were literally itching. I kept googling “itching fingers,” but that is apparently a silly thing to google and I found no answers that applied. They always seemed to itch in carpool line. I decided to blame it on the heater. Who knows. They don’t itch anymore, anyway…

They also itched to move.

More specifically, an idea implanted itself in my whim-loving mind, and my fingers itched to play the banjo. That’s right, the banjo.

My understanding husband and family humored my whim for awhile, probably hoping it would pass (insert chuckle). But it didn’t! I saved up money, and kept pestering Stephen, and a month or so later, came home to a brand new banjo waiting for me (thanks Stephen!).

Since then, I’ve practiced and practiced and can play “You are My Sunshine” fairly well, and am learning two other tunes. Yee haw!

It is very therapeutic – kind of like typing away on my old typewriter – and I just really like it.

Here’s to my banjo!

Banjo

While we’re on the subject of portraits, this was a fun one…

A Mother’s Day gift, some sweet daughters wanted to give their mother a portrait of their grandmother. Working from an old black and white photo, we created a color portrait to bring out the beautiful auburn hair and red lips of this lovely lady. Here are some progress pictures of this watercolor commission:

Mother's Day Commission, 11x14 Watercolor

Mother’s Day Commission, 11×14 Watercolor