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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:


Pastel Ground:

Applying Pastel Ground

The Spanish Steps

Black Board with Golden Pastel Ground


Chalk War

Mary Liz Ingram —  August 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

Summer is a haven of slow enjoyment. The air is hot and heavy here, and it pulls our busy lives to a slower pace, like a gentle tug of the shirt. Languid afternoons, the summer sun presses and the chirping bugs lull. Children find mischief and explore, and you begin to feel more like a child yourself as the summer nights lengthen and fireflies glow.

Moments become picturesque.

One Sunday afternoon my children were overjoyed to join the youth for a “chalk war” at church. My little son covered in a tie dye of colors, his small hands scooping up the colorful powder, the ground a wash of rainbows…

A moment to capture in art.

Chalk War, 9x12 pastel on homemade paper

Chalk War, 9×12 pastel on homemade paper


For a little background on the paper, earlier in the summer one of our not-so-fun activities was cleaning out the art room. My budding artists use A LOT of paper. In the spirit of creative responsibility, we decided to make new paper out of our old paper. We tore it, soaked it, smushed it, diluted it, screened it, squeezed it, dried it and voila! Paper.

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

Doing a back flip

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

I go on and on about the glories of textured pastel paper-which I love and prefer-but sometimes, I do use a piece of “regular” pastel paper…with a twist. While I mostly use Ampersand Pastelbords and Sennelier La Carte pastel card, I often choose a sheet of pastel paper for soft subjects, like a baby’s face. However, I do NOT like the little dots that show up on most papers.

So, I just flip it over and use the back! Continue Reading…

Paper Shoes, charcoal & conte sketch

Paper Shoes, charcoal & conte sketch

On the sixth day of Christmas sketches…

Today was a good family day… much needed in the midst of mourning over “inhumanity” and the remembrance of little children near and far whose lives have been stolen. My emotions, as so many others are experiencing, have swung like a pendulum all day: I picture the faces of frightened children and I weep; I sing Christmas songs with my children and feel warm; I think of the children who won’t ever have another Christmas and I hurt; I choose gifts for my children and I feel proud of who they are.

Tonight we loaded up to finally get our Christmas tree. As we entered the garden section of a nearly-deserted Lowe’s, curious attention and questions were directed at my son.

That would be because he was shuffling along in paper shoes.

Apparently, we didn’t notice him get into the car without real shoes, so his homemade paper and blue painters-tape shoes it was. We bought a slightly scraggly clearance tree, strapped it to the top of our Jeep, and the kids sang “We Three Kings” loudly all the way home.

It’s tempting to be paralyzed by fear, to want to tuck my children away, like eggs in a nest, sheltering them from harm. But that’s not living. Living is wearing paper shoes because you want to, singing loudly, and laughing at your Christmas tree…

living in love, not in fear.

“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love. ” -Linus, A Charlie Brown Christmas

“All you need is love. Love is all you need.”

-the Beatles
6 Geese-a-Laying

6 Geese-a-Laying