Pathway at Maudslay, Realistic Landscape Painting

Pathway at Maudslay

Pathway at Maudslay

Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 48″ 2011

Mary Baker ©  2011

I’ve been working on this realistic landscape painting since 2004. I finished the painting a few weeks ago.  It’s part of a trilogy, and this is the last painting to be finished.  It’s found a great home (which means it’s sold).  The painting is of Mauslay State Park in Newburyport, Massachusetts in the spring.

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)

Field 2–Realistic Landscape

Field 2
Oil on Canvas, “20 x 30”
Mary Baker © 2009

Another one of the new Newburyport realistic 2009 landscape paintings by Mary Baker.

Field 2–A visible light on the horizon that the winding pathway is leading to. A moody landscape painting that reflects feelings about the challenging economic times that we are living in. Fear, despair and hope in the future.

Realistic Landscape Painting

Field 1
Oil on Cavas, 12″ x 24″
Mary Baker © 2009

A new realistic landscape painting.

In these challenging economic times, I find that my paintings reflect how I feel. Dark sky, almost like a guillotine, a sliver of light at the horizon line, and a very long pathway leading towards the sunlight, but a sliver of sunlight, none the less.

Website Design

I’ve decided to expand Mary Baker Art to not only include realistic oil paintings, but to also include web help and website design. So I’ve “launched” Mary Baker Design, that is part of Mary Baker Art, but is totally devoted to designing websites and web help.

I seem to have a hidden geek gene, which I am hoping in this lousy economy (recessions are never kind to the arts) will come in handy.

I’ve known for quite a while how to design websites and a lot about web stuff, but it’s been a blast giving myself a two month crash course in designing websites and blogs. It is just amazing how much learning information there is out there on the World Wide Web.

I’ve approached the whole project as if I was preparing for an art show. I did drafts of about ten website designs and then picked three to really concentrate on. And because I’m “new,” or at least officially “new,” to the website design world, I thought I would structure it so that I could give the three websites away for free. They are in WordPress blog software format, which is incredibly versatile. The person who downloads a website can make it look like a blog, a website or a combination of both. They put their own content, title, description, as well as their own information on the two menu bars.

Because I live in the New England seacoast city of Newburyport, Massachusetts, I decided that I would start with images of Newburyport for the first website designs. The first website includes one of Newburyport’s most beloved historic photographs, the “Clam Shack Workers,” which is at the top of this post. The historic photograph is in the public domain in the Archival Center at the Newburyport Public Library, which is an incredible resource. I’ve included a photograph of the website “Clam Shack” itself. Maybe eventually I will start to design websites specifically for artists.

The Wonders of Photoshop

As we enter, or already have entered, into this lousy economy 2009, where “the arts” have taken a tremendous hit, I’ve decided to tap into my “inner geek.” I’ve always loved Photoshop, and as a painter I have always felt that Photoshop is one of those “guilty pleasures.”

What would literally take me years to paint, I can accomplish in Photoshop in 30 minutes. Instant gratification. Presto. One of the things that I have also been doing, is learning all about designing websites. And I love it. It’s been enormously rewarding. The present design for the Mary Baker Art-Blog is a very own Mary Baker, Mary Baker Art creation. As a painter, the pink tube at the top would have taken me a very long, long time to paint, but in Photoshop, it’s a zip.

And I’ve also been experimenting with how to create different frames for the web for my paintings in Photoshop, which is an amazing amount of fun. In this post is a painting of the fields, where I live, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, a small oil on paper, in an experimental Photoshop frame.

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)

Realistic Landscape Paintings and New York City Art Gallery

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Marsh 4
Mary Baker © 2007
Oil on Paper
6″ x 20″

(Sold)

And a nice thing happened.

A New York City realist gallery, specializing in Contemporary Realism (the kind of realism I paint) contacted me, and the art gallery has taken a few of my paintings and will include them in a couple of group shows this year.

This happened a few of weeks ago.

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

The first show opens September 5– September 29, 2007.

“Mainly Maine
Landscape Paintings from Maine and Beyond”

Getting contacted by a New York gallery is nice. And seeing the realistic landscape, “Marsh 4” by Mary Baker, hanging in the heart of “Chelsea,” that has now become the heart of the art world in New York City, is nice too.

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

Artist, Realistic Landscape Paintings

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“The Pasture”
Oil on Paper, 5.5″ x 22″
2007 © Mary Baker

(Sold)

Along with being an artist, I am also very involved in the community that I live in, Newburyport, Massachusetts. So much so that I started The Newburyport Blog a little over a year ago.

One of the things that I’ve learned about as an artist, is how involved many of the people of Newburyport, MA are in preserving “Open Space” or Newburyport’s landscapes, something which as an artist, I had always taken for granted. Something I had always presumed would always be there.

I think paying so much attention to this fight for Open Space in Newburyport, MA is one of the many reasons that as an artist that I have gone back to painting landscape paintings.

The painting, the “Pasture” above is one of the many places that the people of Newburyport are trying to preserve.

As an artist it is a privilege to still be able to paint realistic landscapes of my home town, Newburyport, MA.

More of the “Open Space” realistic landscape paintings can be found at my artist website Mary Baker Art.

Mary Baker

Mary Baker–Painting, Realistic Landscapes, The Marsh, Newburyport, MA

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Marsh 2
Oil on Canvas
20″ x 30″
Mary Baker © 2006

Landscapes of the Marsh, Newburyport, MA

I’ve been painting the marshes of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a small New England seacoast city since 1983.

I always seem to go back to them. They are compelling.

Aside from the sense of wide open space, the vastness of Newburyport landscape, I keep wondering why I go back to painting the Newburyport marshes again and again.

Last year I found out something very interesting. I don’t know whether it is germane or not, but I am intrigued.

My ancestors farmed a large piece of land on Shelter Island. The land became a State Park.

Shelter Island is at the very end of Long Island, New York, in between the two forks at the end of Long Island.

I will reluctantly admit that I have never walked the land that my ancestors farmed so faithfully.

However, about a year ago I looked up pictures on the Internet of Shelter Island. And what I discovered was that the landscape is almost exactly like the landscape of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

So what I am wondering is if the landscape of Newburyport, MA and Shelter Island is somehow in the “hard drive” of my artistic unconscious.

Mary Baker

Mary Baker, Realistic Landscape Paintings of Newburyport’s Marsh

Marsh 1
Oil on Canvas,
24” x 36 “
Mary Baker © 2006
A painting of Newburyport’s marshes

Paintings of the marshes by Mary Baker are back!

This painting “Marsh 1” is the first one of the new series of marshes that has been completed.

The last marsh painting I finished was in 2002. Probably the last time the marsh paintings were exhibited was 1995. So it’s been a while for marsh paintings from Mary Baker, that’s for sure.

I wasn’t sure whether or not I had a marsh painting left in me, but I guess I do. I ended up liking this painting of Newburyport’s marsh a lot.

Mary Baker

Recipes for Artists, Summer

Oh my goodness, it’s summer and who wants to cook, not moi. But I do want to eat well. So at the end of a hot artist’s day, what to munch on?

Don’t recoil, hang in there with me, yes, folks Liverwurst.

Liverwurst, yuck, you’ve got to be kidding. Well folks, I was born and raised in New York City, so I get the liverwurst thing.

Here we go. Liverwurst has 170% Vitamin A, 10% Vitamin C and 20% Iron. The stuff is actually good for you. (Ok, the fat and cholesterol is a little high, but you’re not going to be eating gobs of it, I promise.) Think of it as the poor man’s pate. And yes it is inexpensive. Get it pre-sliced.

Get tomatoes, either crumpled feta or blue cheese (there are inexpensive brands of these in containers, cheese already pre-crumpled,) humus, garlic salt (I think a must on any shelf,) shredded regular cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack, whatever you like,) and a loaf of half way decent French or Italian bread.

You can slice up the French or Italian bread and put it in the freezer, so it won’t get all moldy, and take out a couple of slices when you need them. (Fat loaves can be sliced and long loaves can be cut in chunks and halved.)

Aluminum foil. Get out a sheet of aluminum foil and put on let’s say two slices of bread. Spread with margarine. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Spread the humus on top. Cut one or two slices of liverwurst into thin strips and lay them with space in between on top of the humus. Sprinkle with feta or blue cheese. Top with tomato slices and sprinkle tomatoes with shredded cheese (the cheddar, mozzarella, monterey jack.)

Put under a toaster oven or under a broiler for a few minutes until cheese on top is warm and melted.

Yummy, filling, all food groups and actually good for you.

Mary Baker

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, Artists, Quirkyalone

I love being alone. I love working alone. I love walking alone. I love cooking alone. I love watching movies and TV alone. I love going to art museums and art galleries alone.

I consider myself my own best friend. No one knows as much about me as I do.

The older I get, the more I like to be alone.

I was beginning to think I was really nuts. And then I came across these folks in web-land who also like to be alone, and the name that has come about is “Quirkyalone.”

That made my day. Because as far as I can figure out, I’m just inherently like this and I like it that way. Now society says I’m not supposed to like it that way, but I do, which is very handy for an artist.

“Quirkyalone” doesn’t mean lonely, or a hermit, or single, it simply means liking to be alone and being that comfortable with yourself.

This really, really works for me. What a relief.

Mary Baker

Recipes for Artists, Mexican Meals

Well boys and girls, this recipe is a real keeper and easy, easy, easy and so versatile.

Mexican meals in all sorts of ways.

The Base:

Two onions, chopped and cooked in canola oil until wilted. Add 2 lbs hamburger or a little less, one and a half pounds is good too. A teaspoon of salt for each pound of hamburger and then, depending on how spicy you like it, 1-4 tablespoons (yes, that’s the big spoon) of chili powder. Poke the hamburger to divide it up as much as possible and cook until hamburger is done. Cooking the hamburger should take about 5-10 minutes.

Then add one large can of whole (peeled please) tomatoes. Poke the tomatoes to divide them up too and simmer for 15-20 minutes. And viola, a delicious base Mexican meal base.

All the things you can do with your Mexican base to make all sorts of Mexican meals:

1) Add a can of red pinto beans and yes, viola again, you have chili. Serve straight or over rice (get the “boil a bag rice”, done in 10 minutes and if wrapped in Saran wrap keeps for quite a while and you can make the “boil a bags” in bunches) with shredded Monterey Jack cheese (already shredded in a bag.)

If you have time and want to get real fancy you can add some or all (you can do this with the tacos too) : chopped onions, chopped black olives, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped avocado, salsa.

2) Tacos. Get tacos, again shredded Monterey Jack cheese and chop lettuce and tomatoes. Put together with the meat at the bottom. A little salsa on top is easy and quick too. See above for fancy extras. Quick, quick, quick and so good. And yes, has all the food groups.

3) My favorite, an enchilada casserole. Get large can of enchilada sauce and corn tortillas. In one of those round glass baking dishes, put a little enchilada sauces on the bottom. Put one corn enchilada (basically what you are doing here is making a Mexican lasagna) more sauce to cover enchilada. Put meat base on top and then a good dosing of Monterey Jack cheese.

Cover 2-3 corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce. Put on top. More meat, more Monterey Jack cheese. Last layer, 1-3 tortillas coated in enchilada sauce again, top with rest of the Monterey Jack cheese and drizzle some of that leftover enchilada sauce over it. Cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until bubbling. Don’t burn it for goodness sakes.

Top secrete information – let it cool and then serve individual portions. Same principle as “tastes better the next day.”

© Mary Baker, artist who loves really good recipes for Mexican meals.