Blurred Mojo, 36"x48"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2017 copyright Mary Zeran
I first became aware of how much I loved texture in Seattle.
During that time, I didn't have a physical studio. At first, I made most of my art on the bus. Eventually, I switched I noticed was texture was a very useful tool for designing gardens and picking fabric for a room.
Everyone who's ever gardened knows that after the blooms are gone, texture becomes the star. The best gardens include different sizes and shapes of leaves to create different sections of texture. A large patch of grass next to a patch of daisies creates contrast that gives a late season garden something subtle to ponder.
Looking at my reference photos, I realized many were devoted to leaf texture. I especially like them when they're dried. There's something about that process that creates even more variation in texture.
There's a direct connection between what I see in nature and what comes out the end of my brush. Of course color aways brings something to the party, but notice how easy it is to see the texture and pattern when we look at these photos in black in white.
Exploring what happens when I combine two patterns together is a recent challenge. Transparency makes it possible for me to really push things and create new textures.
The fruit of the Pindo Palm can be used for jelly.
It never ceases to amaze me how vibrant color is in the desert.
From the car or an airplane, it can appear so....brown...dry...dusty. On foot, its true complexity reveals itself.
Jeff and I just returned from our annual vacation. Normally, we go to Mexico and relish all it has to offer. This year we decided to shake things up and visit Tucson, AZ. One of our favorite things to do is walk. Or second vacation pleasure is taking tons, and tons of photos of anything that strikes our fancy. We like to call these "hiking tours", photo safaris. Over the years, I've noticed some ongoing themes are architecture and nature. Sure there'll be the occasional food, person, or dog photos, but most of the pics tend to be plants and architecture. We also tend to look and re-look at our images throughout the year. These reference photos seem warm us during the cold Winter months.
This post is the first of a few that I'll be doing about color, texture, form and pattern. It's my chance to show you some of the "reference" photos from our trips and see how they inspire my work.
The magenta on this flower was electric!!!
This dusty blue, combined with the red fence tops, yellow Palo Verde blossoms, and orange adobe wall just sang to me.
I love how the green of this cactus is silver or gray in parts and then vivid yellow in others. Don't over look that amazing blossom. I love how the light shines through its opaque petals. Wow!!!
This is possibly one of my favorite color combos. I love how the teal trim balances or soothe the acid yellow adobe. Delicious!
The Season Had Changed, 48"x72"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2017 copyright Mary Zeran
Have you ever wondered what sort of changes a piece of art goes through before it's done?
Sometimes people think that because a painting has a minimal composition, that is was easy and quick to create. The reality is that the more simple the composition, the longer it takes. Determining the thickness or a line or the shade of a color can take hours. It always amazes me how just shaving off a 1/2 inch can make all the difference between a successful piece and one that's just "meh".
The photos below show some of the decision making process for creating my new piece "The Season Had Changed". You can see how the pieces extended passed the cradled panel and had to be trimmed. How It took me a while to settle on the exact color of the purple rectangle and eventually ended up layering a piece of magenta woodgrain overtop to give it more depth.
There can be a lot of back and forth. For instance, should I have a blue vertical line or a yellow or maybe both. Notice the black swatches. Do you see how I must have adjusted them a million times before I settled on the final marks. Looking back at the first image, I liked the organic form on the bottom better, but by that time I'd stolen bits to add the black ball above the blue pour, and above the red and white rectangle.
It's amazing how long all this subtle tweaking can take. I keep hoping I'll get faster, but...I'm so seduced by the search for the perfect arrangement. Going through the motions is necessary to making sure I haven't left any idea unexplored.
Screen Shot of the "Home" section of my website.
Over the last few months I've been updating on my website.
Things on my list to add where:
I hope you enjoyed this little tour. I'll be tweaking and adding new things over the year. Make sure to stop by often to see what's new.
Photography by: Elena from Dust Studios
Here's a nice surprise!
One of my paintings was recently featured on Melanie By Design's blog. This fantastic bathroom reno was designed by local designer Melanie Olson. Go to this link to see the before and after shots. This classic and funky space is one that anyone would love to have in their home.
Thank you Melanie Olson for the feature!
Photography by: Elena from Dust Studios
Waiting for Snow, 30"x30", acrylic, Dura-Lar on paper, 2016 copyright Mary Zeran, available
I've been doing a lot of writing lately.
Trying to get all the stuff that inspires me down into a 200 word paragraph has always been difficult. There's something about the word limit that paralyzes me. Plus, there's the fact that in my head, the words need to be swanky, or sound intelligent. All this fussing and parameters do nothing for my confidence.
These two pieces and the below "narrative" are the first time I've talked about how science influences my work. I'll be writing more about this in the future, but until now....
"Mary Zeran’s (born 1964) paintings are like an imagined microscopic world. By mixing different viscosities of paint onto polyester film, she exploits surface tension to produce organic shapes that mirror cells during division. Multiple sheets laminated together form passages of obsessively layered, intensely colored patterns only found in her imagination."
It Was Exhilarating, 30"x30", acrylic, Dura-Lar on paper, 2016 copyright Mary Zeran, available
A Rainbow Covered Dream, 36"x48"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2017 copyright Mary Zeran, available
As a kid, I never understood why I couldn't wear, plaid, dots, and stripes all at the same time.
You should have seen the "fights" or discussions I'd have with my mom. I just couldn't understand why it wasn't okay to mix lots of different patterns together.
Years later, I had the chance to take a skill that was "automatic or easy" for me and use it to make money. For 8 years, I sold fabric to interior designers. My favorite part of the job was when they would request a group of fabrics for a room. They'd give me the color palette, style of the job, and whether they wanted prints, plaids, or stripes. I loved that part of my job. It was so much fun to see how creative I could get within the job's confines.
The past few weeks, I've been indulging myself in love of pattern....Really pushing it and seeing where it takes me. Playing with pattern makes me feel like a kid again. Somewhat naughty, but incredibly creative. What I've learned is, it's all about the balance between small, medium, and large sized patterns.
Listening Shift, 24"x36"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2016 copyright Mary Zeran, available
Fall Away, 30"x 30"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2017 copyright Mary Zeran, available
Safe and Steady, 30"x22", acrylic, Dura-Lar on paper, 2017 copyright Mary Zeran
Ah, works on paper ....how I hated you...at first. ⠀
Making you felt like time away from more important things.⠀
After about 5 years, I've come to love you as a chance to work out ideas, keep flexible, and spontaneous. Now you're a good and reliable friend.
Some of the words that have always applied to me are....
Late Bloomer, perseverance, and resilience. I've always valued being an artist because it's taught me there isn't any problem we can't solve if we just use some creativity.
In her most recent interview for Vasari21's, Ann Landi sensed the same thing about me and my path as an artist. I have to say that being interviewed by her was one of the most pleasant experiences. Ann did it old school, by calling me on the phone and asking questions. This way of working allowed me to just tell my story without overthinking, editing, and micro managing the outcome.
Thank you Ann for featuring me and my work on Vasari21. I couldn't be more happy!
For those of you who want to read the article, you can either scroll down, but I think the better quality experience would be to go to Vasari21 here.
Ann Landi has been writing about art and artists for more than 20 years, mostly for ARTnews and the Wall Street Journal. She's the author of the four-volume Schirmer Encyclopedia of Art (Gale Broup, 2001) and earned degrees in art history from Princeton and Columbia. A long-time New Yorker, she relocated to Taos, NM, in 2011.
Here's a phrase I NEVER thought I'd utter...
My art was seen in a 2017 Super Bowl commercial! Actually, the point of the commercial was to advertise United Fire Group. The above photo shows employees and UFG's beautiful facilities. My piece just happened to be on the wall. I'm thinking of it as my art photo bombed the shoot.
Here's to random delightful things. Thanks to my collector, United Fire Group for this amazing bit of exposure. Extra thanks to Suzy McGrane Hop of Gilded Pear Gallery for introducing my art to them!
To see the whole commercial, to to this link.
High Kicks, 48"x108"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2016 copyright Mary Zeran, Private Collection of Suzy and Chris DeWolf, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Chicago, Illinois
It's rare I get to work on something really large.
The reasons can be many. Making big work needs the right collector, takes up my whole studio, can be difficult to store if it doesn't sell.
Working on the commission for Suzy and Chris DeWolf's Chicago Gold Coast condo was an absolute blast! It was the biggest painting I have ever created. The size gave me a chance to spread out, and tackle something a bit scary. Thankfully, Suzy and Chris were the perfect collectors. They were fantastic at communicating at what they liked and didn't like, but best of all they were decisive. That made the process go smoothly. Thank you Suzy and Chris for a wonderful experience.
Below are some process photos. In the second photo you'll see how the piece dwarfed my workshop and took up a whole wall of my studio. One of the questions I got when I was working on this was, "How did I lift it?" The secret is the piece is 3 separate panels measuring 48"x36"x2". Working in the modular format makes it easier to move around my studio, transport, store, and install.
When my Dad was in the Hospital, I just kept telling myself....
Everything will be alright, everything will be alright.... It became a sort of mantra. ⠀
Hard to believe, but ultimately everything was alright. Even though the diagnosis was terminal...I got to spend some amazing time just being with my dad. I put aside any bad feelings and got to know him on a whole new level. It was a unforgettable.⠀
Being with someone at the end of their life can be intense. Probably one of the most intense moments any of us will ever experience. It's almost like you are deep in life. Living it to the absolute fullest. It's truly a special time. I feel very lucky to have had that with my dad.⠀
When I make art for hospitals, I try to remember this time with my dad. I want those pieces to have a wide range of emotions.
I just sent these pieces off to Boston. Six out of the 8 will be installed in the Ambulatory Waiting Room of Newton Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA.
The Way of Her People, 24"x20"x2", acrylic, Dura-Lar on cradled panel, 2015 copyright Mary Zeran
United Fire Group has always been a huge supporter of local artists...
In addition to provided funding for performance art, they also purchase local artists work for the walls of their corporate offices. The art featured in this blogpost are part of their most recent purchase for their Los Angeles branch.
Thank you so very, very much to Suzy and Lauren at Gilded Pear Gallery and Debbie of UFG for including my work in the permanent collection.
C.R. Home Perfect for Work & Play
My husband Jeff Schipper and I were delighted to have our home featured in The Gazette. Reporter Katie Giorgio is such a wonderful interviewer. Her writing style is so personable and easy to read! Gazette staff photographer Rebecca F. Miller took some amazing photos. Jeff remarked he saw our home with new eyes and loved it even more.
Something I found interesting is the online article contains MORE photos than the hardcopy. To read the online article and see photos go to this link here.
As always, special thanks to Katie Mills Giorgio, Rebecca F. Miller and the staff at The Gazette making this possible.
It's always thrilling seeing one of my paintings in a collector's home.
When I heard the LeCompte's were building a new house, I was thrill they were giong include my piece "She Had the Fight Inside" as part of the project. I feel so honored to have my painting hanging in a place of honor over their mantle.
Forest Bathing, 30"x30", acrylic, Dura-Lar on paper, 2016 copyright Mary Zeran
New Works on Paper!
Now availalbe at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO. To purchase, contact Sherry or Allison.
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art
2004 Baltimore Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
fax: 816-221-8689 Hours:11am – 5 pm Tuesday – Saturday
and by appointment.
In addition to solo show preparation, I felt extremely lucky to have my work featured in Ann Landi's newsletter for Vasari 21. Landi is a well seasoned journalist whose been writing about art and artists for more than 20 years. You can find her exaples of her writing in ARTnews and the Wall Street Journal. Ann is the author of the four-volume Schirmer Encyclopedia of Art (Gale Broup, 2001). She earned degrees in art history from Princeton and Columbia. After years living in New York, she relocated to Taos, NM, in 2011.
For those of you looking to indulge yourself in all these art, you can go to her website here. You can subscribe to her newsletter here...for as low as $20.00 or more if you're feeling generous.
Thank you again Ann for the feature, and all you do for artists and the arts. Good writing about the arts seems to be an endangered species. So glad you're out there doing what you do best!
The rest of the newsletter is available below.
We Take Our Minds With Us, 20"x16", acrylic, Dura- Lar on paper, 2016 copyright Mary Zeran, Gilded Pear Gallery (319) 366-0205
KACHOW!!! Photos From the Artist Reception and Exhibit
2016 was a busy year for the studio, ending it with the solo show was the best celebration I could have hoped for. As you can see by the photos, the opening for KACHOW!!! was a huge success. I felt honored to be surrounded by collectors new and old.
Thank you to Suzy McGrane-Hop and Lauren Tucci of Gilded Pear Gallery for making this show such an amazing experience.
.In the beginning KACHOW! was my personal superhero sound. I imagined hearing it every time I took a chance or did something brave. Over time, it’s become a battle cry, a declaration that I stand for love, and acceptance. I celebrate the less than perfect. I believe in beauty of all kinds.
It's my mission to use art for good not evil. To promote joy! Every piece of art I create embodies this.
This work is all available at Gilded Pear Gallery. If you're interested in purchasing a piece, contact Suzy or Lauren at 808 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52403, 319-366-0502.
FUNKYTOWN AT THE URBANO CELLARS ART SPACE
I'm excited to announce I have two pieces in Urbano Cellars second annual Holiday/Winter Group Exhibition, called Funkytown. It is a salon-style celebration of quirky, fun, and funky artwork from some of the finest contemporary artists across the country.
In addition to fantastic art, there will be music by local legend and national artist Shelley Doty on guitar and vocals (you can find out more about Shelley here http://www.shelleydoty.com/bio.html), accompanied by Sam Zabor on drums. There will be fabulous food catered by Chef Cynthia Bloebaum, and, of course, a great selection of outstanding, award-winning wines from Urbano Cellars.
The opening reception will be on Thursday, November 17th, from 5 - 8pm, with an artist talk at 6:30pm. The exhibition runs from November 17th, 2016 through January 8th, 2017.
The tasting room/gallery is open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 - 5pm, closed on Christmas and New Year's.
Participating artists include:
Cande Aguilar – Texas
Jeffrey Cortland Jones – Ohio
Tom Duimstra – Michigan
Susan Carr – New York
Seren Moran – California
Paul Weiner – Colorado
Mary Zeran – Iowa
Mary F Coats – California
Max Manning – Texas
Jessica Simorte – Texas
Amelia Layton – Oregon
Sarajo Frieden – California
Kimberly Rowe – California
Megan Reed – California
Loren Britton – New York
Phillip J Mellen – Massachusetts
Julia Couzens – California