Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meeting Mary

A collection of small works by Mary J. McInnis now in our collection.
Our collection of small works by Mary J. McInnis.

Inspiration comes in many forms, varying places and at unpredictable times.  Sometimes it strikes in the form of a picturesque sunset or another beautiful fleeting moment in our lives; other times it appears in the form of another piece of artwork in a gallery.  Still other times it’s in its most intimate form – a personal visit into the very creative world of the artist behind the work.  The artist’s studio is an extension of the artist’s mind, and therefore also a very intimate place.  While studio space can vary greatly in size and style depending on the artist themselves, one fact remains the same for all – it is a very private space and as such, an invitation for a personal tour is quite an honor.  Last Monday, I had the wonderful privilege of touring the home studio of Washington-based artist Mary J. McInnis, and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to have been given the opportunity to do so.  What an inspiration!

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A Change in Scenery


It’s time again to head up north for some much-needed family time and art inspiration.  As mentioned before, I am blessed to have the ability to travel freely, and as such, frequently travel up to the Pacific Northwest to spend time with my family. It is truly gorgeous up here – lush, green, surrounded by water and the epitome of tranquility.  Last Friday, I headed up to begin a month-long sojourn in this beautiful area.  I am looking forward to what new creative ideas are sparked by my new surroundings.  I will be taking pictures of my adventures as I go, collecting memories and inspiration for future works.  Both my sketchbook and paintbrushes were among the first things I packed and I’m hopeful for some drier weather in which to be outside!  Stay tuned!!



Buoux: A Memory in Stone

Well, I finally finished my current work in progress Wednesday of this past week. As mentioned before, the piece is a little larger than some of my other more recent pieces and getting back into painting on a large canvas is going to take some getting used to again! All in all, about 25 hours’ worth of work involved for this piece, which felt like a lot but I’m glad I allowed myself to work through as inspiration found me. There were a few times during the past three weeks that I had to give myself a break and walk away from it for a few days before coming back to paint again. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s never to force creative work when you’re not feeling inspired. Sometimes you have to depending on the circumstances, but the results are usually not of the same quality and I myself have been disappointed with prior works when forced to work this way. I guess what I’m saying is – I’m glad I took my time, trusted my instincts and let it evolve. I think it shows.

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Framed by Surprise

Who would have thought that one of my best days at the studio was one I never put a brush to canvas?  Believe me, I had every intention of painting on Wednesday.  I arrived in the afternoon eager to get to my current work in progress, which I had hopes of completing within the next day or two, having no idea of what would soon distract all of my attention elsewhere.  I got set-up, quickly warmed up and enjoyed some leftover goulash to tie me over until later and was tying my apron strings when I noticed two large boxes sitting next to my work area.  I hadn’t paid much attention to where they had been sitting when I first walked up.  Luis, the general manager of the communal studio, had been cleaning up the upstairs attic area when I arrived.   Two new studios are planned to be built later this year in the upstairs space, but it’s been quite an undertaking so far.  The attic area is technically quite large, but due to the sheer amount of accumulated stuff from over the years, it’s proved to be a multi-day event.  I’ve seen a bunch of junk and other bits and pieces be pulled from the wreckage so far, but nothing quite like this.  I looked closer, intrigued by the looks of a small print I could partially see in a broken frame, when I realized it was two full boxes of old frames and prints.  I asked Luis what his plans were for them, and he said he was just going to toss them.  Hating to see potentially reusable art supplies go to waste, I asked if I could go through them first, and so began my distraction…

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Adventures in Packaging

Well, I’m pleased to share that two of my pieces were purchased recently.  With that good news has also come a welcomed (and long-anticipated) learning experience: how to properly package and ship my paintings in preparation for shipping long distance.  This is definitely a subject that is new to me and is also one widely discussed online for many others in my situation.  Many, for obvious reasons, search for ways to ship their works as safely and economically as possible – for both their clients and themselves.  My husband graciously offered to assist me in my packaging research and endeavors (he loves problem solving and is quite the MacGyver when it comes to fixing things,) which I of course, gladly accepted.  Two heads and more than one set of hands is always a good thing when attempting a new project, if you ask me!
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My (Unsuccessful) Search for Quiet

Have you ever had one of those days where all you want is to surround yourself with peace and quiet?  Maybe, at the very least, just a calmer, more tranquil environment where you can collect your own thoughts, reflect, meditate, create, read, or whatever it is that you are seeking to accomplish?  Well, last Thursday was one of those such days for me…but sadly it proved to be anything otherwise.  I am currently working on a piece inspired by my travels to France (as mentioned in my previous article this week), and it has taken me a bit to delve into it.  It is a larger canvas than I have worked on in some time – an 18” x 36” – and while I like the unusual size of the workspace, I am feeling the difference.  When I was in school, I regularly painted on even larger canvases, but since it has been some time, I am trying to work myself back up to comfort on larger scales again.  I had already been to the studio to work a few times early in the week, but only for a few hours at a time, so I was really craving a good block of uninterrupted work time so I could make a dent in this piece.  I decided that I was going to get there around noon to avoid the heavier foot traffic of the day’s later hours, figuring I’d work until I ran out of natural light – around 6pm.  Alas, what good intentions I had! Continue reading My (Unsuccessful) Search for Quiet

Thoughts on a Windy Day

Washington Forest

I awoke to a migraine and a very windy day Wednesday morning.  Not surprising, I guess – we are approaching March, our windiest month, and I unfortunately have the predisposition to get headaches so a windy day just further encourages things.  Sadly, I had been pondering what subject to paint next the evening before, with hopes of starting a new piece in the studio the next day.  Hate to say it, but it’s hard to feel even remotely in the mood to create when your head is splitting…at least, artistic thoughts don’t come along quite as readily as they do when you’re feeling normal or at your best. 

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The Art of Beer Invitational – An Unexpected Fun Evening

A few weeks back, I had one of the the best nights I’ve had in a while.  I (quite unexpectedly), had the opportunity to be the featured live artist for Sudwerks Brewing Company at the Art of Beer Invitational in Sacramento, California – an evening showcasing great beer, good food and fine art.  If you are not familiar with the event, fear not, as I was also a newbie to the night’s amusement!   I will fill you in. Various breweries are represented, pouring multiple varieties of their best beer, which are paired with gourmet food options (such as Firestone Walker’s Nitro Merlin Milk Stout paired with browned butter sea salt cookies), and showcased alongside great (beer inspired) art – all of which is auctioned off at the end of the evening with all funds raised donated to Ales for Autism.  A really fun evening for all in attendance – attendees, vendors and artists alike – and a great opportunity to give back locally.

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So How Does It Feel No Longer Working a 9 to 5?

That’s probably the number one question I’m asked.  The simple answer – pretty freaking awesome.  It took long enough to get here, but through a myriad of life events, changes and much encouragement, I’m here, painting full time – at last.  The adjustment was interesting.  In the beginning, everyday felt like a vacation day.  No schedule to keep, no one to report to (except myself), and each day full of possibilities.  I was free to do as I pleased.  I enjoyed doing things at my leisure and took advantage of some much needed (and long over-do), relaxation time.  It was time for me – and it still is – I’ve just discovered a few things along the way. Continue reading So How Does It Feel No Longer Working a 9 to 5?

Owling for You

Inspiration for latest painting!
Inspiration for my latest painting!

I’ve been hanging onto a corner-hanging canvas for as long as I can remember, not sure of the right subject matter  for it.
I was thrilled when I found it, as I had never seen one before (about 6 years ago, when my husband was living in Kansas).  It traveled back across state lines years ago, only to wait until this week when it it finally  found it’s purpose – a wise, ever-watchful, owl.  The night’s watchman, the guardian of dreams and a long-standing subject of wonder in my eyes.  Can’t wait to see how it comes out when it’s all finished!  I’m two days in so far, so just a few more should see it done.  Stop by soon to take a look at the finished piece, and in the meantime, remember to dream…