It's time for another Friday Feature:)) Today I have the superbly talented Mary Maxam. Mary works in watercolor, acrylic and
oil for her landscape and still life works. Her paintings are a response
to familiar subjects, seen daily and discoveries that take place
through the painting process.
|"Palouse Canola" original oil by Mary Maxam|
Mary's work has shown in many juried
national exhibitions, including Oil Painters of America, the Midwest and
National Watercolor Societies. She has won signature membership in the
National, Northwest and Montana Watercolor Societies, and has
contributed both painting and written work for book and magazine
articles on painting and design. Publications include "Watercolor
Magic","Gray's Sporting Journal", and "Paint Mixing, the 12-Hue Method"
by Rockport Press. She also recently guest co-hosted Artists Helping Artists.
you get your start?
I have been playing with art materials for as long as I can remember, and
began using a lot of varied drawing materials, then watercolor, acrylics and
oils. My parents gave me an oil painting set when I was about twelve, but I
didn’t have much idea as to how to handle them and just kind of experimented
until getting some instruction in high school.
your artist journey so far?
|"Hill Horses" original oil by Mary Maxam|
Experimenting with varied materials has always continued and my high
school art teacher encouraged that. He created projects that taught us a lot
about paints, paper, sculpture and the
elements of design, and also how to choose paints and paper as part of the
expression or idea. I went to Boise State and then taught high school art myself
for over 30 years. All the while, I continued to paint on my own, experimenting
with style, and for the most part concentrated on watercolor then oil. Over the
years I’ve shown work in cooperative and commercial galleries and various
could live anywhere where would you live?
I’d like to have lived on the east coast for a while as a comparison to
being in the west. But overall, I think the Northwest has been great. Of
course, everyone dreams about that second home, with the perfect studio, on the
beach or at the lake somewhere - haha!
your favorite thing to paint and why?
Oh my….. you just had to ask, didn’t you!? It is one of my ‘issues’ that
I enjoy painting too many different subjects. But right now I think I’ve got it
down to northwest landscapes, figures (both fly fishing and costumed women) and
florals. That doesn’t sound much reduced, but believe me, it is!
talk about your painting techniques?
I have so much fun with the contrast
of transparent and opaque paint which I think started with watercolor. I could
rarely get myself to work with transparent glazing alone, even though I greatly
admire it. I have transferred that to
oil and frequently put down a wet transparent wash of color to work into. Then,
I sketch with a brush to get the placement and proportion of the subject. I lay
in the darks first and try to keep them transparent as well. Then the opaque
middle and lighter values are put in and I go back and forth trying to balance
it all out.
My second approach is to start with a brush drawing on white, then
develop each area and blend edges as I go.
|"River Talk" original oil by Mary Maxam|
have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
If I were a stranger looking at all my work together, I’d be saying “Wow,
this painter really likes green!” But,
in reality I almost can’t paint without having alizarin or permanent rose to
keep warming and cooling various color mixes. My palette is basically a warm
and cool version of the primaries plus white. The exceptions are the yellows,
which also include ochre and then transparent red oxide.
have a favorite artist?
Too many to select, but Sargent, Sorolla, Degas,Van Gogh, N.C. Wyeth are
all favorites….probably for the stories their paintings tell as well as the
mastery of paint.
been your biggest inspiration?
|"Window Box Floral" original oil by Mary Maxam|
I think my mother, for both overcoming some struggles in her life, but
also for her tenacity and kindness. She wasn’t a painter, but had an excellent
artistic eye. I think she influenced me in my art more than I realized while
been some of your crowning achievements?
When I worked in watercolor, I achieved signature membership in the
National Watercolor Society as well as a few others. In oil it has to be the
inclusion of work in the national Oil Painters of America Show and more
recently the OPA western regional to be held in Denver next month. And, I was
recently contacted by Simon & Shuster with a request to use one of my
paintings on an upcoming novel by James Burke. Those are all exciting ventures!
five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream
|"Sunflower Field" original oil by Mary Maxam|
To become an OPA signature member
A new house with an organized studio space and LOTS of built-in storage!!
A gallery show that is a sell-out ( hey you said dream BIG)
To paint with the Putney Painters for a week
It would be a hoot to have a very well known collector or ‘famous type
person’ buy one of my paintings- I have no idea who that might be J
your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
|"Lemon Trio" original oil by Mary Maxam|
Line up all your work and look at it together. Determine your common
strengths, those things that you continually do so well. Then, look at the weak
points and list them separately. Keep building on your strengths and figure out
a plan to work on those areas that need attention. And…paint as often as
the best advice that you have received as an artist?
I don’t know whether it was specific advice or just an attitude engendered
by my parents, teachers and friends…that art and creating things was part of my
identity. So, if you feel that….there is no quitting, no putting down the
brushes and pencils…. it’s just what you do and who you are, and you practice a
|"First Crop" original oil by Mary Maxam|
If you see the movie “Enchanted April” (5th question) - you’ll
know the place
or morning person?
hard pressed to choose either, since I get my best work done about mid-day!
thanks you so much for the opportunity to talk with your followers. It’s been
fascinating to think about the varied questions you’ve posed and it helps me to
focus in my own work and goals as well!
Thank you, Mary for your fascinating interview.