Archives For Cotton

Recently I had a cool opportunity to share about creating portraits for my sweet friend Julie Holly’s sermon serie, The Faces of Jesus, at Canterbury United Methodist Church here in Birmingham.

Now, my nerves were threatening to get the best of me as soon as my den was overtaken with a big ol’ camera, a bunch of bright lights, and I got hooked up to a microphone. But thanks to the kind cameraman, I did my thing as best I could.

I hesitated to share the video, you know how we humans pick ourselves apart, but they did such a good job making it, and it’s not everyday you get to share what you do in a video, so here goes nothing:

Gift Giving #2

Mary Liz Ingram —  November 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

Another great gift idea for your holiday season, these original pastel cotton bolls are symbols of the South. Drawn from actual pieces of Alabama cotton, this handmade local art is available in various sizes, from 4×4 to 16×20. Proving most popular, the small cotton bolls make fabulous gifts, affordably priced at $40.

Contact Mary Liz today to purchase your own!


Cotton Bolls, pastel on card Cotton Boll factory 4x4 pastel Cotton Bolls

Art Sale!

Mary Liz Ingram —  August 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

tiny house + busy artist = lack of space

I’m a problem solver, and I’ve run into a problem. You see, I’ve got quite a lot of art work on my hands: prize winners, larger show pieces, old favorites that I’ve held onto for awhile, higher-priced items waiting for the right home. But, being the industrious artist I try to be, I keep making new ones. And there’s no room left in my tiny house, with 5 people and a cat, to store these framed and ready works of art. Plus, they really want a nice home, with wall to decorate and people to view them, instead of living in my son’s dark closet surrounded by winter coats.

What kind of life is that, I ask you?

To correct this unfortunate situation (drum roll, please…….)

I’m having an ART SALE!

Yep, that’s right folks: 50% off original prices on the pastel paintings below. They are framed and ready for a wall near you!  Just send me an email if you’re interested, and we’ll get these old friends off to new and much more exciting places! You can reach me at:


Find out more about these pieces! Visit the links below:

The Raven

Hay Fields

The Weaver


Time to restock my cotton boll collection at Alabama Goods, an awesome shop nearby that features diverse, local merchandise. I’ve drawn a lot of cotton in the past few years, and I still enjoy finding the colors in the white fibers and dry, twisting boll.

As with all my pastels, I begin with black, layer on the color, and top it off with the brightest of Sennelier white pastels! Finished with a non-toxic, casein-based spray, these babies are framed and ready for sale…

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…

Piece by Piece

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

Sometimes creating art can be a lot like completing a puzzle. I have the pieces, and it’s a matter of putting them all together.

Join me for a quick step-by-step journey, as I put the pieces together to form my latest pastel, “Cotton Whispers”:

The first piece to the puzzle begins in my mind: an inspiration; an experience; a mist of a final product. The next piece comes with my references: photographs taken on a family vacation, cotton bolls saved here and there.

Beginning the sketch

Beginning the sketch

The next step is the charcoal sketch: Continue Reading…

When Cotton Whispers

Mary Liz Ingram —  February 18, 2013 — 2 Comments

“Art creates a kind of commentary” -Barbara Kruger

I live in the South. Sweet Home Alabama. The southern states of the US are full of a complex history, and for me, it is always strongly felt when I have the rare opportunity to gaze in stillness over a vast field of snow-white cotton.

Cotton Whispers, 24x36" soft pastel on board

Cotton Whispers, 24×36″ soft pastel on board

Stand with me a moment:

It’s a gleaming fall day in Alabama. The sky is brilliantly soft blue as the sun shines intensely at midday, lighting up the tufts of white cotton to full brightness. The grass is becoming dry, multicolored with the changing of season.

Behind me is your average gas station. We’ve stopped to fill up on our way home. You see, I’m a city girl, raised from age two in Birmingham, “the steel city,” the largest city in Alabama. We don’t have cotton fields nearby, and I have grown up in an age in which people don’t pick cotton by hand anymore. I’ve never seen people working fields with anything other than large farming machines.  Continue Reading…

A field of cotton ready for harvest, lit brightly by the sun on a crisp November afternoon, rimmed by a string of trees in the distance with a Southern blue sky above.

I drool.

This is a sight often viewed enviously from my car window as we speed down the interstate; but not this day. This lucky lady was able to bask in the glory of an Alabama cotton field and snap as many photos as I wished.

I’ve been itching to put my pastels to work capturing this exquisite afternoon.

Lately I’ve been busying myself with commissions and small pastels, and I decided it’s about time for a big one.

I compiled 5 of my photos into a sketch, making sure to have everything just how I wanted it.

first sketch

Using vine charcoal, I loosely recreated my sketch onto a 24×36″ Ampersand Pastelbord (I always choose gray!)

pastelbord sketch

I’ll begin the color soon…right now, my sketch is resting and I’m contemplating. Check back soon and join me as we progress!

Layers of Life

marylizingramart —  November 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

Ah, the complexities of life. We all have a story, layered with triumphs, tears, mistakes, redemption, tragedies, success, joy and pain. Most of our stories are hidden behind our personas, whether they be smiling faces or bitter scowls; woven so tightly together that the layers are unseen, making up one image. These thoughts were on my mind as I created my newest piece, a 16×20 cotton boll in soft pastel. I begin my pieces with under layers of dark black followed by bright colors: turquoise, fuchsia, purple, bright green, gold:

Continue Reading…