The thing that I love most about jewelry-making is that I must use very different techniques to create my pieces.  Sometimes, a vision will come to me in the middle of the night.  But more often than not, I will simply go into my beadroom with no clue as to what I’m going to do.  I ask myself, “What color do I feel like working with today?”  When that decision has been made, the stones I choose dictate the technique I use.  For instance, if I’ve chosen pearls, I must then choose to string them or to knot them.  If I’m going to “set” stones, I must select the wirework I will use.  I love the dimensional feel of jewelry.  And I love making earrings and necklaces that can be worn together. 



Hours spent exploring native Virginia woodlands or row boating in the immense lake where I grew up led me down the path toward a lifelong love for nature and “all things water”. As a young artist, I began painting in oils when only 12 years old. My greatest passion currently as an artist is sea life, especially the sea creatures that dwell within incredibly gorgeous coral reefs I saw “up close and personal” as a scuba diver, while living in the Florida Keys. I also adore creating magical mermaids and whimsical sea creatures which dance around in my head on occasion.


The way I usually begin new works of art is to gaze through immense folders of collected images until I find I can no longer contain my excitement for a certain subject. In this search for inspiration, I literally find myself in love with any given creature or theme from the sea, then immediately plan out how best to convey those same feelings within new works of art! I usually work in “collections”, drawing out multiple images of one subject as the focus for that given theme. By my use of a signature brilliant color palette, my goal is always to convey the love for the subject along to future viewers and/or collectors. Although I've 'made art” for years and years using just about every medium known to man, my favorite mediums at this time seem to be watercolor and acrylic paints, sometimes using them separately, sometimes using them together within one painting. I'm also in love with the new metallic paints and metallic papers and use them within some of my more whimsical artworks!  I absolutely adore watching gorgeous colors dance across the surface of canvas or paper, creating something meaningful and beautiful within this process!



     Although I’ve always loved art, I didn’t start painting until I moved to the Northern Neck 17 years ago.  I tried every medium but always came back to abstract acrylic.  Last year I tried cold wax and oil and have been painting with that ever since.  


     And as I began painting, I was also trying to nudge my left brain over to the right.  My education and a career in science made it difficult to loosen up and be more creative.  Using cold wax and oil has helped that process and I think, and hope, that I’m getting there...


           I have cultivated and refined my artistic talent throughout my lifetime.  Since my retirement in 2010, I have been able to devote my imagination and vision to creative endeavors.  I take delight in creating and sharing my art.

            I paint in acrylics and also have a love for sewing and crafting.  I enjoy creating works of art in a wide variety of subjects and themes.  My hallmark is the use of bold color and remarkable detail.  Now, as a full-time artist, I have a passion for my art like never before.

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          From an early age, I was likely described as a creative, sensitive, competitive and ‘all-in’ kind of kid.  Whether academically, athletically, or socially, I was determined to succeed regardless of the endeavor.  I enjoyed a career in marketing and publishing but feeling adrift when I retired from the corporate world, I enrolled in painting classes.  I quickly learned that “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time” as said by Thomas Merton.  I found so much more than I had lost.  Over the past year. I have embraced my new love and find that my brushstrokes are more deliberate, yet loose.  Bringing unexpected color to life is great fun.  I bring my whole self to the easel and hope my energy and emotion comes through to those who admire my work.



Mary Ellis

         At 5 years old my life as an artist started in school with my first puppet show set-design.  From that moment on art was a way of life.  It is a tool that is always there.  I used it in my fashion coordinating, interior design, and basic life needs.  I began painting realistically in oils, but today I use acrylics for my somewhat graphic abstract art.  I love color.

        The nicest compliments I receive about my art is that, “they love the colors, and my art makes them smile.”  How great is that?  Most people recognize my art by the colors.  They are bold and fun.  Most of us develop our own unique style.

        I love painting a new painting because you are creating something that you have not done before.  The plain canvas is the birth of the piece of art, and the result is the surprise that is waiting.  In the past 6 months I have done several commission pieces.  I take the client’s ideas and colors, and I try to create what they might want or need.  It is quite challenging, but very rewarding.  Each art piece is a journey.  



            A glassblowing class was an escape from my demanding career in high tech.  It wasn’t long before I was hooked!  So now I spend my time in the glass studio experimenting with the forms, colors, and techniques of this challenging medium – especially the colors!  It’s an endless process with unlimited possibilities and a lot of excitement.  When not in the glassblowing studio, I weave glass beads, crochet wire with glass beads, and fuse glass into jewelry.  Ahhh, glass.



          My art focuses on shape and visual movement.  My color palette tends to be bright and saturated, especially in the blue to green wedge of the color wheel.  I want to draw the viewer in and provide surprise on closer inspection.  After the piece is collaged, it is layered with a batt and backing and machine stitched.



          After a career in Graphic Design, moving to a more peaceful environment, my early love for photography was rekindled.  I enjoy being caught up in the moment, taking a closer look, finding a different perspective.



          After twenty-five years of designing and making “one of a kind” jewelry, I am still inspired to create wearable art.  Born and raised in Virginia, “the pearl necklace” was a woman’s first choice.  Living in the Arizona desert for thirty years, I found my second love:  turquoise.  


          Being influenced by traditional jewelry, the classic pearl, and the Native American silver and turquoise designs, I am challenged to create modern, unexpected looks in jewelry.  The old and the new; the yin and the yang.  I love the hunt for vintage finds in antique and thrift stores and turning these finds into modern jewelry art.



          Acrylic medium works best for me.  I like its fast drying and transparent or opaque application.  My preferred method of painting is in a flat plane using lots of unmixed color in a contemporary style.  Art happens! Sometimes!



          The subjects that attract and excite me as a watercolor artist primarily come from nature. I am particularly drawn to texture and strong natural patterns. I also choose subjects that make the best use of the properties that are unique to watercolor painting. Consequently, my favorite paintings could include birds, turtles, frogs, gnarly tree trunks and branches, rocks, water, waves, crashing seas, skies, clouds, boats, and even buildings. I love the challenge of combining detail with fluid, or abstracted backgrounds, hard with soft edges. My palette of colors include those that mix and play well together - creating a feeling of unity. I want the viewer to feel that my subjects are real, almost touchable, yet artistically rendered



          I have been an energetic artist my whole life.  Born in Blioxi, Mississppi, I have lived and worked in many areas of the United States and Europe.  I am an emotional painter.  I will see something that reminds me of earlier times, and the desire to paint will come to me.  These ideas and inner feelings seem to paint themselves.  The brush paints what I am feeling.  Often people will see things in my painting even before I do.  I am an abstract artist because I paint my feelings and memories which I visualize in intriguing shapes and colors.



           I never intended to be a jewelry maker.  I was a horticulturist and florist who couldn’t find jewelry I would like to wear, so I had no choice; I had to make it.  And later, I didn’t set out to be a metalsmith, but, as a jewelry maker, I could rarely find silver jewelry components that suited my designs.  So, with some basic tools and adult education instruction, I began to learn silversmithing.  I fell in love with working with metal.

            These days, I design many applique pieces that depict the creatures that fascinate me – animals, birds, insects- and plants.  My art is a little bit like working in batik but created from silver instead of fabric.  Through simple designs, I try to capture the essential character and beauty of favorite creatures and plants.



          I have explored many creative art media since majoring in art and design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. But I have focused on the punchneedle fiber medium since discovering the technique over 40 years ago. I begin each new needlework with an idea and sometimes a sketch. The artwork evolves as I continue to punch. It is like drawing and painting with the punchneedle. Each original work is created with one strand of thread and a punchneedle using tiny loops and stitches on a fabric background.  After many years, this medium still inspires me to create new images and adapt new techniques.



          I paint watercolors of memorable moments in life.  People in their everyday environment along with elements and objects in nature inspire all that I love as an artist.  I capture life’s simplicity and innocence through the playfulness of color and light and through unique and one-of-a-kind design. 

          As an artist I paint the purity of everyday life; the warmth of the sun, the laughter of a child, the touch of a hand; important things that make our lives whole. 
If my work appeals to your senses, makes you smile and helps you to reconnect with simple things in your life then I have achieved success.



          My work as an artist began with photography derived from a lifetime of looking, inspired by those around me, as well as by locations in which I have lived and worked including New York City and Washington, DC.  For the last almost thirty years, I have lived in the Northern Neck, appreciating the beauty around me.  After about ten years here, a shift came.  What had been looking became seeing.  I could see moments.  I could see the essence of the fog and the light on the water.  After driving past “the crab house” all this time, it transformed from a dilapidated structure only used by the waterman to become a form with many moods.  It was a tool to set off the landscape and seascape around it.  I drove by it for years and didn’t “see” it.

            In the last five years, I have added painting to express another way of seeing.  Since I am mostly self-taught, I can just say that it is extraordinary to be able to express oneself in the vast vocabulary of art which has no limits.



I have recently returned to my first love as an artist—pastels. Not the chalk I first used as a child, but the soft luscious pure pigment available in so many forms today. I love that I can both draw and paint at the same time, with nothing between me and the support—no brush, no pen, no binders. It is perfect for my life drawing studies, and for my more fully rendered subjects. These include local sea and landscapes, scenery and impressions from my travels, people I know and have loved, and quirky or symbolic subjects which speak to me. I use drama with realism and abstraction often in the same painting to invite you into my thoughts and my world.



        I have always had a love for the ocean.  My earliest childhood memories involved seeing sea creatures at Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica and collecting shells and sand dollars in the tidepools of Pismo Beach.  As a Southern California native, I lived very close to the ocean. My high school Science Club membership allowed me to go out on a research vessel where I marveled at the amazing creatures we would capture and release from the ship’s dragnet.


           That is where my fascination with octopi and squid was enhanced.  The intelligence and grace of these creatures captivates me.  I am always attempting to create my “perfect” octopus or squid sculpture, and the driftwood that I repurpose from our nearby beach lends itself perfectly to this end. My painting experience and training began at a young age and was reinforced in college, where upon graduation I set off on my Industrial Design career. My painting style is influenced by the detail required in ID presentation renderings, which out of necessity are highly detailed. I continue to strive to “loosen up” my painting technique.  It’s an ongoing process!



           I love faces.  That’s how the paintbrush made its way into my hand in the beginning.  That first watercolor class in portrait painting changed everything.  Something in me opened, and the creative stirrings had to manifest.  I needed to express, to paint, to let it out.

            When I paint, it’s as if I’m not even the one holding the brush.  There’s an intuition, an “other force”, that interprets the subject or notion.  Before I know it, the canvas, or paper, is loosely layered with brushed or splashed color.  The work that I do is not about producing a “pretty picture”.  It’s about discovery, freedom and the natural human reactions to abstract, often emotional, representations.

            Somewhere in my creative process, a questioning happens: subtle, sublime and without conscious effort.  I find I need to get out of the way of the painting and allow the piece to “speak its truth”.

            Whether it’s through the layered washes of painted portraits or the wildly intuitive textures found in my non-representational work, I invite you to explore your own responses to the questions asked, adding your own individual experience to the meaning of the piece.



           I learned to paint by my own initiative and with formal instruction from professionals. Combining a love of painting with travel, I have studied en plein air in places such as Italy, the Republic of Georgia and Hawaii as well as locally and throughout the United States.

             In my Mulberry Banks studio on Farnham Creek in the Northern Neck of Virginia, I paint oil paintings of subjects ranging from figures and animals to landscapes.  Painting outside of the studio, I do small paintings and studies for larger studio paintings. Extensive travel can be credited for my cultural awareness.  My paintings have a narrative flow true to the people and places that inspired them.  Self- expression and inner passion are the driving force behind my work.



            I find great pleasure in the beauty of the natural world.  I especially love color!  I also love to watch the play of light and shadow and include this element in my artwork. I believe that just experiencing the colors and the play of light found in natural beauty can restore my soul. I want to share this feeling with others, so I paint. I recreate and reinvent the effects of color and light, using an intense and vibrant palette. I work directly from life or study my own photos. I am drawn to the palette of tropical plants, and I often paint tropical orchids, mangoes, heliconia, palms, ginger plants, and bromeliads. I hope others find pleasure in my paintings as I pay homage to the beauty found in our world.



         I am an architect by training so I bring a level of focus to my artistry.  I enjoy painting buildings, of course, but landscapes and wildlife as well.  Many of my pieces are done en plein air; others are from my travels.  I work in pen and ink, photography, digital painting, watercolors and oil pastels.  I also occasionally do portraiture.



          I began realistic painting in watercolor thirty years ago when I moved to Kilmarnock.  I used to look at abstract art and think “anyone can do that.”  I quickly learned that this is so not true!  I was absolutely captivated by the use of color and line in abstract works.  I continue to explore this style using acrylics and sometimes collage.  My use of bright color and form are intended to draw the viewer in, make them think, make them chuckle.  It’s likely no two people will see the same thing in my work.




     I am passionate about the beauty of nature. It feeds my soul. The act of painting outside and experiencing nature firsthand is an integral part of my work and whenever possible I begin my paintings on location. When painting en plein air, I strengthen my connection to a specific place. Through my paintings, I encourage people to also feel a deeper connection to these places. In 2008, I left Virginia to live in the Virgin Islands for nine years. Living in the bright light of the tropics influenced my artwork by feeding my obsession with color. I returned to Virginia and for the last four years in my home and studio in Reedville, I am again surrounded by inspiring landscapes. I paint scenes from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and the nearby rural farming communities, often combining subjects and enhancing the color to express my vision. I am always pushing to further discover my creative voice and loudly expressing it with paint.



          My garden inspires me to capture photographs of stunning flowers and butterfly images both from my own gardens and gardens that I visit.  The natural beauty that surrounds me in the Northern Neck influences my choices in landscape photography, primarily water scenes and sunsets.  
          I strive to illustrate my ‘Vision’ of the photograph through the magic of painting and blending styles.  In this age of the Digital Darkroom, I express my ‘Vision’, which to me is the result of my thoughts, feelings, and ideas when I make  a photograph.  All of my work is finished on a professional printer using archival ink and industry standard framing materials.  
          I hope my Art gives you a sense of Serenity and evokes the beauty of nature and our world in your heart.



          I  am a self-taught artist with a vivid imagination. My imagination is the driving force behind all my art.  In my mind, I visualize it, often dream it.  I sketch it, then pick a medium that best suits my idea.  I enjoy working in all mediums.  I see no boundaries.  You will see my work in oils, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, wood, metal, or anything else that best conveys the end result.  This is my palette. This is my expression. 
          I speak two languages, English and Art.  All the human emotions are there: love, hate, happiness, sorrow and quite often, in my case, whimsy.  Art is the message.  I am the messenger.



          A graphic designer by degree, I lived and worked for many years in the Washington, DC area where my pursuits ranged from portrait sculpture to pepper farming. In 2010, I began sailing seriously with my husband, sailing and racing sailboats from the Chesapeake Bay to the waters of South Africa.  In 2014, I took my first watercolor class and began my journey as a watercolorist.  My paintings combine my love of both painting and sailing as illustrated by my studio paintings of marine subjects.  I strive to show the sparkle of light on the water, the motion of the waves and boats, and the excitement of the sailing crew while racing.



          I have always had an interest in art but life seemed to get in the way of pursuing that interest until my retirement.  I consider myself a realist painter, specializing in oils.  Travel in my retirement years has been the inspiration for most of my paintings.  I take pleasure in transforming my memories from a small photo into a larger piece of work for both my enjoyment and others.  Sometimes my subject matter may seem off-the-wall but one of my favorite compliments was that my painting made someone giggle or smile.


          I am an unhurried, deliberate painter and the slow-drying properties of oils allows me the freedom to make adjustments (change my mind!) while I am creating.  I usually work on more than one painting at a time and I often step away from a particular piece of work for weeks until my interest is restored.


          I don’t expect my work to inspire deep thought – just bring a smile.



          Capturing the dance of light and shadow on the natural waterways, farmlands, mountains and valleys of the Old Dominion is the hallmark of my art.  Whether beckoning you to ponder the translucence and reflections of a gently flowing creek or inviting you into a secluded meadow of the Blue Ridge, my paintings provide you with a respite from our fast pace of life and mechanized surroundings.