Archives For baby

Watercolor study

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 22, 2015 — 1 Comment

Sitting at my kitchen table, where the sunlight rests so softly, I carefully arrange my paints and brushes. A container of water just above the paint, folded paper towels below, I line up my yellow-handled brushes, remembering when my grandfather gave them to me at my 12th birthday; they’re still my favorite. All this preparation is a design towards procrastination. The perfectly blank watercolor paper sits and waits, staring at me and asking what’s next.

What is next, I sigh.

A take a sip of tea, settle on a image, and begin.

I rub the wet brush into the color and begin to layer flesh tones, moving them, removing them, adding them, shaping the colors onto my white paper.

A face begins to emerge; I make space for the eyes. I add and move the colors to form the little pouty lips.

photo 1

Letting the colors and water dance and mingle, ebb and flow, hair begins to frame the face and the eager blue eyes.

photo 2

It’s not a mirror image, but my youngest daughter clearly stares back at me from the paper.

So that’s who was hiding there, under that smooth white surface. My little Nora. Hello!

photo 3

Baby Brothers

Mary Liz Ingram —  April 11, 2014 — 1 Comment

Recently I had the great pleasure to do three precious portraits of baby brothers. They are such cute little babies, I just kept staring at them while they rested on my art desk!

Here’s a peek at my portrait process:

There’s always that middle point, when I begin to cover the bright colors, when I panic. And babies especially make me sweat, with their smooth little faces. You have to be so careful to keep all shadows and lines subtle, to keep their chubby cheeks chubby and their newness young.

Introducing three cute little buddies, and a huge thanks for this fun commission!

Baby Brother, 8x10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8×10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8x10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8×10 pastel


Baby Brother, 8x10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8×10 pastel



Mary Liz Ingram —  April 4, 2014 — 1 Comment

A portrait really is something special.

Of all the art in my house (and I have a lot, as you can imagine), the ones that make me stop and stare and think and smile are the portraits of my three kids.

I grew up with an artist for a grandmother. Her den was filled with family portraits that she painted. I could describe every detail, because I spent so much time looking at them. When she died, everyone took their portraits home, a treasure that lasts. She made them with her own hands, and her children and grandchildren pass them down.

Now I have the honor to do that for my own children, and for other people. I love to look at the pastels I’ve drawn of my three buddies, and think (or hope) that one day they will treasure them in their own home. Something lovingly made by an adoring mother, attempting to express what treasures they are by creating a piece of art to capture a moment.

If you’d like me to create a lasting treasure for your family, check out my portrait page. I’d love to get started and create something meaningful for someone you love too.

Now let me share my newest piece, finally adding my little Nora to the wall, next to her brother and sister. I will have this piece on display at my art show in Crestline tomorrow, April 5th.

Nora, 18x24 pastel

Nora, 18×24 pastel

Kids are Fun

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 13, 2014 — 2 Comments

I love my life.

I just have to say it.

Sure, most nights I collapse on the couch in exhaustion. Yep, some days are pretty rotten and I want to pull my hair out. My kids fuss at a me at least a few times everyday, sometimes it seems to be most of the day. I have to change a lot of gross diapers, do A LOT of laundry (the bane of my existence), constantly take out trash and wash dishes…you know, all that rotating, never-ending domestic stuff. I have to squeeze in showers on busy mornings, and rush off to work with frazzled hair. I get cranky and fussy and bossy and pitiful when my poor husband comes home, and he assuages me with cookies to bring me back down to homeostasis. I get dates mixed up when I have too many meetings and tasks at hand, and I get behind on returning calls and art association blog posts. I take a lot of Advil and I have a dirty car.

But I. LOVE. MY. LIFE.Messy Fun

And nothing reminds me more than a tea party with my 1 year old.

The simple joys of being a kid. Nibbling plastic cupcakes and sipping pretend tea. Playing. Laughing. Drawing. Painting.

It makes all the rush and dirt and stink of the have-to’s just a small part of the program and not the real show.

…That’s the way it should be, I think.

"Nora's Tea Party," 6x6 watercolor doodle

“Nora’s Tea Party,” 6×6 watercolor doodle


The Mirror

Mary Liz Ingram —  June 19, 2013 — 1 Comment

It hangs above an old dresser, painted white and made like new.

A backdrop of light lilac, softens and surrounds its frame.

The mirror has seen life come, on the wall when life was new:

A third-time mother waited, and filled the dresser drawers,

day-dreaming in the mirror, wistful eyes on her stomach.

A new infant lay below, tucked into tiny diapers,

little hands by the mirror, ready to grow and become.

A baby sat up laughing, and kissing her reflection,

while the mother took photos, of the mirror full of smiles.

Now the baby toddles in, holding onto mother’s hand,

bedtime on another night, the mirror bathed in evening.

Time goes by in the mirror, and the mother soaks it in.

The Mirror, pastel sketch on card

The Mirror, pastel sketch on card



Mary Liz Ingram —  April 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

Art desk scrubbed, pastels ready, paper cut, charcoal in hand, reference propped at just the right angle…

Deep, contemplative breath in, nervous exhale as I prepare to begin another portrait.

Grasping for my inner creative, I look at the photo reference, with the jet black backdrop behind this cute chubby baby, and I try to envision the finished product. I used to aim to be a camera: copy the image as exactly as possible. With some experience and years of art behind me, this is no longer my goal. I now try to take an image and “make it sing,” however that translates on paper.

Baby Boy, 11x14 preliminary sketch

Baby Boy, 11×14 preliminary sketch

I sketch out the sweet little boy; feel pretty good about feature placement. Now it’s time for the dreaded background. In my mind’s eye, I see a light, wispy something or other, which is not much help. Instead of agonizing over it, I just jump in.

Working on a deadline, I don’t have time to mess around.

The joy of being back at my art desk after a few busy weeks, mixed with determination to get the portrait finished, ended up surprising me with yet another evolution of my art.

I’ve found over the years, that even though you are creating art with your own hand, your own head and your own heart, the results can sometimes surprise you. Though you may have drawn something in the same way many, many times, all of a sudden the finished product is something unexpectedly and delightfully different.

With this portrait, I unknowingly used a lighter, looser hand, less defined edges, and worked the color and texture of my pastel card into the painting. I was (thankfully) quite happy with this new result, and am very glad that the new owners are as well!

Baby Boy, 11x14 pastel on card

Baby Boy, 11×14 pastel on card

Lovely Girl

Mary Liz Ingram —  March 11, 2013 — 2 Comments


Nora Grace, 8x10 pastel on paper

Nora Grace, 8×10 pastel on paper

Baby Nora

An unexpected gift to our family, this little girl is joy in the flesh. Sweet and soft, small and patient, she is a little light, bringing dimpled grins wherever she goes. Each time we hold her, we breath in life a little more deeply, pause and linger over the moment with a little more care. The gratefulness we feel because of this precious girl is inexpressible. I spend each day gushing over her: squishing her cheeks, waiting for her smile and her sweet, tiny voice to call for me. She lives surrounded by love, as I hope she always, always will.

“Lovely girl won’t you stay, won’t you stay, stay with me” -The Lumineers

What’s in a name?

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Baby ToesYou’re expecting a baby. You toss around this name, argue over that name. You think of the ways someone could make fun of the name, what it rhymes with, how it looks in writing. For me, I knew the baby’s name as soon as the gender was discovered. For my sister, her baby had a name when they were forced to turn in the birth certificate form. It’s a big deal, naming a person!

In a different setting (or if you’re like me, with said baby on your hip), it’s time to choose another name: another “product of your labors,” if you will (ha ha).

The Clod & The Pebble

The Clod & The Pebble, 18×24 Soft Pastel on board,

Your art is complete. You stand back, considering the image, thinking of the message, the voice you hope it conveys…the mood, the feeling. It’s time to give it a name. Sometimes a name seems to come pre-attached to your artwork and is easy to choose, such as my “The Clod and the Pebble,” which was inspired by the poetry of William Blake. Sometimes extensive creativity is not required, like a friend of mine who numbers his cow paintings (Cow 1, Cow 34, etc.). Sometimes naming art can be comical, when you try to be real “artsy fartsy” and call it “Life Emerging from Heartstrings” or “Purple Mists Over the Lands of Love.” (apologies if anyone has chosen these fabulous, imaginary titles…)

At other times, you stare and stare and your mind draws a blank. This happens to me A LOT. I’ll toss names around, and finally just settle for one that I may find a bit silly. Continue Reading…

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” -Picasso

Over the years, I have become adept at spinning plates. I can hold several sticks at once, get the plates spinning and keep them all going at the same time without crashing. Okay, maybe only metaphorically…but that would be a cool party trick…

I do however, keep a lot of things in motion as I live each day: 3 kids, 5-day a week job, and an art career are the main events, amongst all the other important and enjoyable parts of my life. People often ask, “How (and possibly why) do you do it all?”

Short answer: Because I’m stubborn as a mule.

I want to be a good mom. I want to be a successful artist. I want to do well at my day job. I want to keep things in order. I want to be involved in the art community. I want to enjoy life.

So I take Picasso’s advice and “vigorously act” to reach my goals.

Here’s an example of how that plays out in real life:

Painting with a baby

Painting with a baby

Yep. I put the baby next to me and go with it…I may have to paint or draw while singing silly songs and making ridiculous faces to keep her happy, but it works.

I draw during baby’s nap time, or on weekends while the family’s chilling. I have been known to draw with a little boy on my back at my art desk, because I was determined to finish up a piece.

I take a deep breath, try to reduce the inevitable stress of drawing with a kid on my back and tattle-talers in my ear, and remember why I do what I do: because I believe that it matters.

Because art is important to me, I find a way to make it happen along with motherhood, work, marriage and life.

I aim to never let the busy-ness of life overtake what is important to my life.

What is important to your life? What dreams are waiting for action?

The first step may be the hardest, and if your life is anything like mine, the subsequent steps to stay the course require effort and passion as well. In my opinion, each step is worth it.

“I want first of all… to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.” –Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Nora, 3 months, Graphite Sketch…Today is the birthday of Edgar Degas, the French Impressionist famous for his figures of ballerinas, bathers, and other turn-of-the-century subjects. He also happens to be my favorite artist and major influence on my own art. I especially love Degas’ pastels…the vibrant contrasts, the intense markings, the vivid colors. His preparatory sketches are often a combination of strong, dark shadows mixed with precise, yet loose, lines. I like to study his work and absorb what I can into my own way of seeing color and interpreting subjects. In homage to Degas, I chose a figure drawing for my daily sketch, drawing my sleeping baby girl (who was a bit squirmier than I expected, once drawing commenced!) I used my darkest pencil, marking in the shadows, contemplating the art of Degas as I recorded this day in my baby’s young life.

The Tub, Edgar Degas, Pastel

Two Dancers Resting, Edgar Degas