Mary Monroe is not a newcomer to the Corner Gallery's front windows, but she will be showing almost entirely new work for the month of February. Here theme is "A Walk in My Garden" and it's a showstopper.
Every one of Mary's vibrant new watercolor paintings is a floral. They are views out her window and down the hill from her wildly gorgeous Rancho Mariposa home in Redwood Valley. Mary describes her impetus for doing these pieces... "Flowers are exciting to me because they represent the change of season, plus I'm attracted to all the beautiful textures inside them... sort of like Georgia O'Keefe." She continues, "It's good to work on a theme since it really pushes you into the space."
Mary's big effort with this theme was to work on large sheets of watercolor paper, something relatively new to her. She explains, "I chose to work on big paper because it's more of a body experience. I have to stand up and can use bigger brushes so I can get texture, swirls and all-in-all enjoy a looser experience. Since there is a whole lot more background to paint, I'm feeling freer to lay down colors and washes as I start a painting, which is nowhere near as tedious as my usual 'negative painting' in the background."
After doing almost nothing besides creating new floral pieces since last spring, Mary is taking a well-deserved break from the flowers and looking forward to switching artistic gears. "I'm pulling out some older paintings which need more work," she says. With her newfound looseness and confidence with the medium of watercolor, she can revisit some pieces that didn't completely satisfy her and make changes to improve them.
A subject that is calling to Mary is birds. She laughs, "There's a birdbath outside my studio, and there is a bluebird that keeps visiting it, so now I have a ton of bluebird photos for inspiration, in addition to other birds. There are definitely bird paintings in my future."