Art Show of Mary Baker’s Paintings

Mary Baker–Paintings
October 31-December 31, 2009

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Art show of Mary Baker’s paintings

Presented by Kerim Kaya
Kaya
41 State Street, 
Newburyport, MA 01950
978-465-1330

Opening Reception:
Saturday, November 8, 2009
6 PM-9 PM

(Apple Blossoms and Wall © Mary Baker, Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 36″)

“A contemporary realist painter, she captures, with lifelike precision, the stillness of the Plum Island marshes, the petals of a bright yellow iris in the South End, apple blossoms clinging to a brick wall at the old gardens at Maudslay State Park and the Common Pasture, its vista unchanged by centuries.”

“Putting things in perspective,” by Ulrika G. Gerth, © The Newburyport Current, November 6, 2009

Orange Day Lily, the Survivor

Day Lily © Mary Baker, painting

I have discovered that the simple North Eastern Day Lily is a survivor. I discovered this working in my garden in Newburyport, Massachusetts. I decided to dig up a bunch of orange summer day Lilies in my Newburyport garden and replace them with some other perennials. I threw the roots into my compost heap, thinking that they would compost nicely. Shortly, I had little shoots coming up through my compost pile. I then cleaned up the roots, and left them to dry on the side of my compost pile, thinking that they would surely die. Nope, I now have a whole row of daylilies sprouting up, their roots exposed, lying on top of the dirt. Nothing in the wide, wide world to help nourish them or help them grow.

I’ve ripped them out of their perennial home, torn them apart, buried them under a pile of stuff, left them lying open to the elements, and still they grow. Now I know why I like the “common” orange daylily so much. They are unbelievable survivors and thrive under the most trying of circumstances. A good example for any artist. And a good subject for a realistic flower painting.

Orange Day Lily and Blue, Oil on panel
Mary Baker © 2009, 8″x10″

Realistic Flower Paintings–Red Rose

Red RoseThe “Red Rose” depicted in this art blog post, is part of a series of realistic flower paintings that I started in 2006. I ran a couple of finished paintings of this series past a gallery director, who shrugged, and I lost confidence in the series (which was sort of silly of me). I decided to work on them again, and “Red Rose” is the first art painting of this flower series that is finished.

The rose is one of the many beautiful flowers in the gardens of the small New England seaport city where I live, Newburyport, Massachusetts. Instead of putting the rose in context with the rest of the garden, I decided to make the background a little different. And this is a very different color palette than what I am used to using, and I’ve never painted a “glowing” flower before. So this is a first.

One of the things that the patrons who have bought my realistic landscape paintings over the years have said, is that they have always love the detail involved in the art paintings. So on this painting of the “Red Rose,” I decided to make the rose itself more detailed than I might normally would have painted, and make the background equally detailed. I’m excited, I really love this realistic flower painting of the red rose.

(Red Rose, Oil on Panel, 8″x10″, Mary Baker (c) 2009)

Realistic Flower Painting–Yellow Lilly

In 2005, 2006 and 2007 I started a series of realistic flower paintings with textured backgrounds, which I love. I ran them past a gallery owner, who shrugged (this happens sometimes) and I gave up on them (which was sort of silly of me). I have a series of these textured background, realistic flower paintings, almost finished, sitting around my studio. So I’ve decided to work on them again. They actually are some of my favorite paintings, and ones that I love to have around my own house.

The Yellow Lilly in this post is oil on panel and 8″x10″, it was painted in 2006, and I’ve never put it anywhere on either my art website or my artist blog, so I thought it was about time to post a picture of the painting. Hopefully, I will put up more of the realistic flower paintings with textured backgrounds as they now get painted.

The textured realistic flower paintings are quite a contrast to the moody landscapes that I have also been working on. Two of these landscapes are in the two previous posts.

(Yellow Lilly, Oil on Panel, 8″x10″, 2006 (c) Mary Baker)

Realistic Flower Paintings–The Sherry French Gallery

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I am incredibly excited to be in a third show at the Sherry French Gallery in New York City, “Flowers in February.” It is an honor.

The Sherry French Gallery
601 West 26th Street
NYC, NY 10001
212-646-8867

“FLOWERS IN FEBRUARY”
Representational Sculptures and Still Life Paintings

January 30th thru February 23rd, 2008

Mary Baker, (artist’s website)
(For a detailed a biography, please press here)

Realistic Paintings-Flowers, New York City Art Gallery

Rose

Rose
Oil on Paper
7” x 8”
Mary Baker © 2005

(Sold)

Group show at the:

The Sherry French Gallery
601 West 26th Street
NYC, NY 10001
212-646-8867

The show is:

“Small Sizes-Prescious Pieces”
Representational Paintings and Sculpture

November 28th-December 29th, 2007

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Sunflower 3
Oil on Paper
5” x 10”
MaryBaker © 2005

Mary Baker, (artist’s website)
(For a detailed a biography, please press here)

Art, Realistic Painting, Content and Quirkyalone

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Pansies
Oil on Canvas
24” x 36”
Mary Baker © 2004

The realistic painting in this post, “Pansies,” could there be a better example of “Quirkyalone?”

Here is this lovely pot of pansies sitting on a stoop on an early spring Newburyport, New England day, bathed in light, obviously utterly content in its solitude. Not schmaltzy, sentimental happy, but content.

My father, who is 88, could be considered quirkyalone. He has a lovely lady-friend, and the ladies still love him, but he has lived alone for the last 16 years and seems quite satisfied.

One of the things my father loves, loves, loves to do is go out for dinner alone. He lives in New York City so there are a lot of great places to dine. When I am in New York with him and we go out to eat, everybody seems to know him and he knows them.

My father will go and sit at a table or sometimes at the bar and order dinner. He will ask the waiters and waitresses and bartenders about their day and their lives with genuine curiosity and care. And he will often give me updates on who is doing what. No wonder he always gets seated.

My father is also one of my biggest art encouragers as an artist. I am incredibly lucky to have my Dad. Qurikyalone and quite content.

Mary Baker

(Editor’s note: I just found out that “Quirkyalone” is a book by Sasha Cagen, written in 2004. I’ve just gone to the bookstore and bought a copy and am about to sit down with a cup of tea and read it.)

(Editor’s Note: Please do not use any image that belongs to Mary Baker. It is a copyright infringement and it is against the law. I have found at least one image on another site, used without my permission, in a way that is unacceptable. The image has not been removed, and I am not pleased.

Unfortunately this forces me to put copyright information across the art images, which ruins it for everyone who would like to see the paintings. Mary Baker)

Art, Realistic Painting, Quirkyalone

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Day Lily
Oil on Paper
9” x 18”
Mary Baker © 2005

Can you tell I’m quite taken by this whole notion of “Quirkyalone.” I think it’s very cool.

So much of my life as an artist, for me requires being alone, and I often wonder if I’m just not odd. The art-incubation part of my own creative process seems to necessitate lots and lots of time alone. And it is so nice to find folks out there in web-land who have come up with this phrase and idea of “Quirkyalone.” I just love it.

Many, many of my paintings are about the enjoyable part of solitude. Take “Day Lily” at the top of the page. Now there’s your ordinary flower, at least in the Northeast in Massachusetts it’s an ordinary flower, but in the realistic painting it seems quite at home with itself.

And in this realistic painting, the “Day Lily” is transformed out of its ordinary state. It seems ignited in the darkness, with all its beautiful lines and veins shining through. Its solitude, if you will, is a beacon in the darkness.

“Day Lily” is another one of my favorite Contemporary Realism realistic paintings.

Mary Baker

Art, Realistic Painting, Rose and Fence

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Rose and Fence
Oil on Paper
16″ x 10″
Mary Baker © 2004

I like this painting “Rose and Fence.” I like it because it’s a painting of a pink rose but it’s not sentimental. Personal preference, I’m not big on sentimental paintings.

It’s also a Contemporary Realism painting because of the composition.

The white columns of the fence come from all the time I spent in the Whitney Museum of Art looking at Minimalist paintings like those of Kenneth Noland and Minimalist sculpture like those of Donald Judd. The modernist compositions have stuck solidly in my art unconscious. I also have a “yen” for those compositions, wanting to see them reappear in realist paintings all over the place.

It seems to me as if this beautiful pink rose is somehow escaping from jail, peeking its head between the fence posts, yearning for the sun. The fence in the painting has a jail like quality about it…possibly not so good for sales?

That luscious rose seems lonely. No other roses around, not even any leaves.

But the flower seems quite capable of existing by itself, if that is what is required, thank you very much. A realistic flower with chutzpah?

And that hint of shadowed, somewhat foreboding clapboards between the fence posts. Is it escaping from a dark and spooky home, hoping for the sunlight? Seems that way.

Hopefully that lovely pink rose has a lush, fecund, feminine quality about it — female anatomy and all.

I like this painting of a Contemporary Realist realistic flower painting.

Mary Baker

Realistic Art, Painting, Flowers and Roses

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Rose
Oil on Paper
7” x 8”
Mary Baker © 2005

It all started last summer. I wanted to tile my basement floor, but it was too expensive, so I painted “faux” tiles and they looked great. I never “fauxed” anything, although I know a lot of my fellow artists are very good at “fauxing” all kinds of things. This was new to me, so I decided to try it out on my flower paintings.

I had been painting flowers with dark backgrounds to make them “pop.” But one of the things I found that was very discouraging, was that people were taking photographs of flowers, putting dark backgrounds on them in Photoshop, and then printing them on canvas. Doing them in short order and selling them of course for “peanuts.” (I have this love – hate relationship with Photoshop, but more on that maybe another time.)

It also seemed that everywhere I looked that summer, “spas” were popping up all over the place. People were building huge bathrooms and calling them “spas.” And in my little town there seemed to be new “spas” everywhere.

So one of the things that crossed my mind was what kind of flower painting would be a “spa” flower painting? And I thought well, why don’t you try some of that “faux” stuff that you learned painting “faux” tiles on your basement floor on some flower paintings. That might be cool.

And they would be much harder to duplicate in Photoshop too, I hope.

So at the top of this post is a rose bud I painted with a dark background, which I love. And at the bottom of this post is a pink rose with a “faux,” “spa” background, which I think is pretty interesting. And the new “spa flowers,” as I am now calling them, are fun to paint, especially when I want to take a break from painting landscapes.

Mary Baker

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Pink Rose
Oil on Panel
8” x 10”
Mary Baker © 2006

(Editor’s Note: Please do not use any image that belongs to Mary Baker. It is a copyright infringement and it is against the law. I have found at least one image on another site, used without my permission, in a way that is unacceptable. The image has not been removed, and I am not pleased.

Unfortunately this forces me to put copyright information across the art images, which ruins it for everyone who would like to see the paintings. Mary Baker)

Art Blogs and Artist Websites 2

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Sunflower 1
Oil on Canvas
18” x 24”
Mary Baker © 2005

Originally when I started my artist’s blog I was afraid that people would confuse it with my artist website, Mary Baker Art. And I decided that I would stick with a generic looking blog in hopes that people would figure out that they could visit my artist website.

And I also decided that I wouldn’t put pictures on my artist blog because it seemed to take away from the text. And I also fiddle around with different ways to personalize my website and none of them seemed to look as good as the Word Press Kubric default blog.

Well that was way back in early December 2005, and I’ve learned a lot since then.

One of the things that’s happened is my artist blog, at this point, gets 10 times as much traffic as my art website. So obviously most people weren’t clicking on the links to my art website. That had me thinking that maybe it might be a good idea to rethink things.

I found a Word Press theme that was based on my earlier Word Press blog that allowed me to fairly easily customize my art blog. My goal was to have some of the same colors of my artist website, but hopefully people will know that this is an art blog and if they want more information about Mary Baker’s paintings they can go to her website Mary Baker Art.

Once I chose the new colors I then decided to try putting up some of my art work on the blog, and with the new color scheme they looked much better. The artwork seemed to compliment the posts instead of distracting from the blog text.

I am still working on how to make the artwork load faster. And when I figure that one out, I’ll be very happy.

So you can see there is one of my paintings at the top of this post. And if you would like to know more, please visit my website Mary Baker Art.

Mary Baker

(Editor’s Note: Please do not use any image that belongs to Mary Baker. It is a copyright infringement and it is against the law. I have found at least one image on another site, used without my permission, in a way that is unacceptable. The image has not been removed, and I am not pleased.

Unfortunately this forces me to put copyright information across the art images, which ruins it for everyone who would like to see the paintings. Mary Baker)

Art, Realistic Painting, Flowers

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Geraniums
Oil on Canvas
24” x 36 “
Mary Baker © 2006

In 2003 I started to paint flowers in my neighborhood. I live in the seacoast town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, in Newburyport’s historic district. My neighborhood is full of wonderful old houses with gardens and flowers along the streets.

I did a bunch of flower paintings, but people seem to resonate more with the landscapes I am doing, so I’ve gone back to painting landscapes. But I love painting the flower paintings.

The last one I finished is called “Geraniums” and there is a picture of that painting at the top of this post.

The painting is of a basket of geraniums that I saw sitting on a stoop in front of one of the houses near where I live in Newburyport, Massachusetts. And I thought the basket of geraniums was beautiful.

And what I love about this painting is the composition. It is definitely a Contemporary Realism composition.

The background is almost abstract. The vertical dark line of the door on the left of the painting. The center vertical white (it isn’t actually white, there are all kinds of colors in there) band in the middle. And then the horizontal yellow stripes on the right hand side.

And the very sharp geometric pattern contrasts with the soft, curvilinear lines of the geraniums and the leaves, setting up what I think is a nice visual tension.

It’s a fairly sophisticated composition, but the painting itself still remains beautiful.

Mary Baker

Art, Realistic Paintings and Artistic Pathways

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Azaleas
Oil on Canvas,
18” x 24 “
Mary Baker © 2006

I think for the first time in my artistic career I’m not sure where I’m going. And I find this very disconcerting.

It’s not that I’m artistically blocked, I just don’t know where the artistic pathway is going to lead.

In my studio I am now working on 8 landscapes. The painting “Azaleas,” at the top of this post is the first one I finished.

What I’ve realized is that all the paintings have pathways in them. I realized this a few weeks ago. I find this very interesting — it certainly wasn’t planned that way. I guess the pathway in “Azaleas” leads to something beautiful, so that’s encouraging.

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Morning Glory and Road
Oil on Paper
7.5” x 17”
Mary Baker © 2004

When I was doing flower paintings I did a painting called “Morning Glory and Road.” It’s probably one of my favorite paintings. I like the haunted quality that it has. And I like the fact that it has a path in it, but the pathway is certainly somewhat ambiguous and I don’t think the viewer, including me, has much idea of where it’s going to lead. Is it going to lead away from the Morning Glory into who knows what? Or is it going to lead from this bright, almost ignited flower to other bright places?

Mary Baker

(Editor’s Note: Please do not use any image that belongs to Mary Baker. It is a copyright infringement and it is against the law. I have found at least one image on another site, used without my permission, in a way that is unacceptable. The image has not been removed, and I am not pleased.

Unfortunately this forces me to put copyright information across the art images, which ruins it for everyone who would like to see the paintings. Mary Baker)