Mary Mark

Oil Pastels / Paintings / Printmaker

Artist Bio

The oil pastel serves as a narrative; stories about the world find ourselves in, made much more complicated by being an African American teenager. “The Look” is serious teens coming to grips with the closure of their high school and doing what they can to wrestle control of the situation. Powerless in the face of power.

I spread out all the photos, magazine cut outs, newspaper pictures advertisements and cards in an effort to figure out the narrative of my next piece.

I am intrigued by this image of teens protesting the closure of their high school. They are serious individuals who intend to be heard.

The image is first sketched in pencil with fast lines to set the figures within the predetermined dimension and then defined by the darker sharpie pen.

Once all corrections are made, shifting a figure, an arm placement, a chair to coordinate within the decided space. This is traced on to vellum or tracing paper.

The canvas or art board is primed with Golden black gesso. I prefer the interaction between the black and the rich pastel color.

I have always been an artist from drawing outside the mimeographed lines in kindergarten to two bachelor degrees in 1974 and 1978 and presence at the opening Tiger Lily Press (a cooperative printshop) in 1980. Twenty six years of selling Handmade Paper (self taught), Etchings and Monoprints (Ohio University and Lehman College), Linocuts (originally Girl Scouts!) to Oil Pastel Paintings (studies for large linocuts) through both wholesale and retail venues. In my sixth decade, I gave into the pressure of the next best image, the next biggest show, the next printmaking competition and arthritis and became a grocery clerk who paints small, affordable, simple fresh images for one retail show per year – Studio Collection in November. Today I am retired and continue to paint, garden, exercise and stay healthy.