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Mary Blake

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“I love detail—in shapes, textures, colors, shadows, the glint in an owl’s eye, the fuzzy edge of a feather. I have been drawing and painting for many years. I have chosen to paint watercolors because of the fluidity of the medium, and because I like paper. 

I start with an image which appeals to me emotionally. I both see and feel the subject, and know I want to get that image onto paper. Because I usually spend a lot of time on each painting, I choose images that I want to spend time with, to get to know better. 

My current wildlife series is a good example of this. As a former volunteer at WildCare (in Northern California), I had the privilege of working with ill, orphaned, or injured wild animals.  They are challenging to work with, and even more challenging to paint. Each animal has its own character, with strengths, weaknesses, needs, predictable and unpredictable behaviors. I want to show the complexity of who they are. I try to convey the power in their talons and beaks, the specific shapes, colors and textures of each individual. In many of my paintings, an owl or vulture stares back at the viewer, demanding to be taken seriously. Because I had the opportunity to work with these animals closely, I began to know them and to see their vitality, their absolute will to live.”

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