Archives For Sennelier

Daily Rituals

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 29, 2016 — 1 Comment

I tried to avoid the steady gaze. It seemed like the brown eyes pierced into my very soul, asking questions, surveying my existence. So contemplative, so knowing. I unwittingly mixed in a little introspective therapist into the pastels I applied, and I had to giggle a little when I stood back to survey the finished product. He’s very regal, very convicting, on his leather couch, eliciting introspection as he silently listens.

While drawing this winter, I listened to Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, a fascinating book in bite-sized pieces detailing the routines and habits of around 160 artists, musicians, writers, and great thinkers. Along the way, as I layered fur and leather, I thought about my own daily habits, my own rituals to entice and encourage my artistic creativity.

I have to say, after listening to over 100 stories of artists’ bad habits – alcoholism, substance abuse, and some really weird rituals – I feel a little bit better about myself. They do take a lot of afternoon naps, though; I wish I could incorporate that into my life. What a lovely habit.

I began to worry, as I have joked in the past, based on the biographies of great artists such as Van Gogh, Degas and the like, that I will never be a very successful artist unless I have more problems, more existential throes, more drama. Luckily, after I finished Daily Rituals, I listened to Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s Big Magic. Speaking on the same subject – these crazy artists literally killing themselves over their creativity, living in the bowels of anxiety and personal torture – she gives a different view:

On these grounds, naturally I am tempted to make the case for drinking myself to death as a creative exercise, but that would be self-destructive.

Creativity resides in making the choices that make you happy, and anyone who tells you otherwise — your inner critic, your outer critics — is fooling you. Originality is out, authenticity is in.

Whew. That’s good news. As I finish up “Bogie” the dog, I relax a bit, look him in the eyes and say “thanks.” We made it out together. He seems relaxed.

Bogie, 11x14 pastel on card

Bogie, 11×14 pastel on card

Big Chalk

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 14, 2016 — 1 Comment

One of the main reasons I began using pastels was to loosen up.

In high school and early college, I was the queen of minute detail. I loved teeny tiny brushes and sharp pencils. I had a huge callous on my right middle finger from squeezing the pencil so hard to get every last dot on paper.

detail of "Martha," 18x24 pastelI still love detail, as I adjust the picture next to me to the best angle and spell check myself as I type. I’m sure it drives my husband crazy, as I settle in on the couch each night, needing the correct lamps turned on, my blanket just so…the list goes on. I will spare you, even though he is trapped. I attribute this desire for order and quirky detail to my father (hi dad!), who must have his lunch of a sandwich and chips on a paper plate every day, with a Mountain Dew of course.

But I digress. My oldest daughter, to whom (poor thing) I’ve passed much of this down, calls us “noticers.” We notice things. I’m good with that.

But when it comes to art, it can be FRUSTRATING. Especially on a portrait. Sometimes you just have to let go; you have to loosen up. So I grab a big piece of chalk. Still getting good detail, the large pieces keep me from over-detailing, from stressing and focusing on minutiae. It has helped me take the leap from tight drawing to something closer to my favorite style of Impressionism.

Using big pastels is like having a third child.

You have to loosen up, or you won’t survive. It just won’t work. You have to learn and train yourself to go with the flow, to notice the important things and pass over the stressors and tiny dots that just distract. You can more easily see the beauty that stands out, and enjoy it, record it, embrace it.

Martha, 18x24 pastel on board

Martha, 18×24 pastel on board

Loyalty

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 12, 2016 — Leave a comment

We have busy minds. We are always in the process of becoming. For better or worse, our thoughts, actions and choices move us forward, or maybe backward, along the line of history and personal quest. I frequently get caught up in the existential throes of being an artist, of trying to be the best person I can be for the time I have on earth.

One morning I was thinking about fear,

how to overcome it, how to lessen the fear around us. I realized that most cruelty, most fear comes from us, from humans. We humans, more than any other species, threaten each other – with hate, with guns, with war, with irresponsibility, with greed and robbery, with anger and disregard for human life. Recently two young boys that I count as nearly my own had a gun pointed at them while they were simply playing near their porch, and this in a safe neighborhood. There was no cause or prompting, just a quick move by a man with unknown motives. It causes fear. Fear that must be overcome daily.

May we live with more peace and regard for each other. May we treat each other with love and loyalty, as members of the human race, members of creation.

Peas, ink & markerI hope we can learn from the example that surrounds us, the peaceful cooperation found in nature. The trees, the soil, the birds, the animals work together to survive and thrive with beauty.

In my garden, I witness a microcosm that balances and cooperates to bear fruit. Insects, bacteria, nutrients, soil, water, sun, roots, leaves…it all works together to form food we can eat, beauty we can enjoy. And I get to be a caretaker, to guide and protect the process. May we do the same in our everyday lives, care for each other, guard the process of becoming.

At this point, I hear Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life,  waving dismissively, “Sentimental hogwash!” Maybe I’m laying it on a big too thick. To bring it a few steps down from mushiness, I hope we can be  more like our dogs. Our pets love us, even when we act like jerks, when we ignore them or forget to buy dog food. They are loyal and forgiving, and their love is constant. We are the ones who complicate things.

Here are a few furry friends that now have their portraits painted, a testament to their worth and value, and their loyalty to a fickle race.

Rest, 11x14 pastel on card

Rest, 11×14 pastel on card

 

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

 

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

 

Trio

Mary Liz Ingram —  June 26, 2015 — Leave a comment

Speaking of kids…

I recently had the pleasure to create a large 24×36″ pastel portrait of a trio of super cute kids from a neighboring state. I love being able to give a family a portrait that captures who they are at that moment in time, knowing it will last and bring them memories and joy as the kids grow up. Sending a big thanks to my sweet client, and wishing them all so well!

Commissioned Portrait, 24x36 pastel

 

Holiday Block Party

Mary Liz Ingram —  November 14, 2014 — 1 Comment

My next art event! Coming up next Thursday, November 20th from 5-8 at Pepper Place, my new pastels + many more will be at Ferguson Showroom.

 

Hope you can make it!

2014 Holiday Party Flyer Low Res

An artistic pilgrimage.

Sennelier, ParisAcross the same bridge over the River Seine to the same, small green shopfront near the Louvre.

I stood in front of Sennelier for the second time.

Last time I was there, there was no art career. There was a lifetime of interest and dabbling, but no career. I bought my first pastels there, after hearing about Sennelier on NPR. That same year, I embarked on a career change, determined to make art a way of life.

And here I stood, years later, in front of the store that feeds my art and brings my pastels into being. We went inside and I touched the worn, wooden drawers containing every color pastel. We maneuvered around the cramped, aged art store, past the old wooden ladder and over to the notebooks. I made my choices and with a timid “Merci” purchased some notebooks, future home of new doodles. Something I can keep.

Like standing in the English field among the sheep that I’d drawn so often, standing in Sennelier was another step in coming full circle. But it was not the last.

Mont Martre.

With our umbrellas and soggy shoes, we left our lunch at the Eiffel Tower with our sights set on Mont Martre, the gathering place for artists past and present. Last time our visit to Paris was so brief, we only had time to touch this section of the city. Rain or no rain, we would soak it in and look over all of Paris from the hill of Sacre Cour.

Laughing and out of breath, we slipped and climbed up the steep sidewalks to the top of Mont Martre. Navigating through umbrellas, we wove our way past cafes and windmills, artists shielding their work from the wet weather. With easy smiles and free spirits, we leaned on the fence in front of Sacre Cour, the carousel below us and Paris spreading its arms as far as we could see.

Sacre Cour, marker & ink doodle

Sacre Cour, marker & ink doodle

We moved down the steps like children and stood in front of the carousel, watching it spin and entertain. I knew every piece, a former pastel now shared in a home somewhere in Alabama. A piece of Paris.

Carousel, marker & ink doodle

Carousel, marker & ink doodle

My art career has grown and my life has deepened over the years. The beginning, the inspiration, the moments have come full circle with this trip of pilgrimage. I have said my thanks and recognized those things, those places and those people that have moved me and brought me thus far.

Like the turning carousel, I made it around and stood again in the same place, I very much changed.

And now I have a renewed heart and new adventures to explore and draw and share…

moving forward with much warmth and these memories in my pocket.

…that is the question.

And it was answered by 7 talented, lovely ladies on April 12 at Forstall Art Center at my pastel workshop!

Some picked up the pastel for the first time since middle school, and some honed their skills…it was a fabulous day drawing little goldfish to explore color and contrast, and big dramatic skies to work with texture and layers.

Here’s my quick demonstration piece…wish I’d taken pictures of my students’ fabulous work! They were amazing!!!

The Park, 11x14 pastel

The Park, 11×14 pastel