Block title

Work Samples

Heart Strings

monotype, 12" x 9", 2022

Ragged Island

oil on linen, 12" x 16", 2022

Blue Note

monotype, 16" x 10", 2020

Summer Storm, Watters Meeting

oil on linen, 18" x 24", 2022


About Mary

Baltimore County

Mary Swann's picture
In the last year, I have been painting around Monkton near the small horse farm where my husband and I and other assorted animals live . My paintings are smaller and brighter than they used to be. I have also been making small reduction block prints, printed by hand instead of with the big press I used to use. At Manor Mill, the neighborhood community art center and gallery, I have had the pleasure of teaching other people how to make these block prints; the results have been astonishing! ... more

Prints 2021-22

A reduction block print I made for Valentine's Day in 2021 got me started with this medium. I liked
the way the rubbery speedo blocks and water soluble inks left an uneven surface that allowed colors from the previous layers to show through. I didn't mind if the registration was not perfect. They had softer edges and looked like paintings; I liked this. In "Red Scent" from 2022, I went further and scuffed up the surface deliberately; it glinted and shimmered like intaglio.

My 5 year old grandson brought on the monotypes: he wanted to make musical instruments!

Monkton Spring Summer and Fall 2022

Colorful trees and fields not far from Home!

Ragged Island Retreat

After 3 years of staying at home, mostly in quarantine, I returned to Nova Scotia and discovered a whole new peninsula and a new way of thinking about paint. Being there this time, when I thought I might never get another chance, felt very emotional. I loved seeing it all again, and as I took it all in, the sensation of lightly dragging a brush with sparing layers of color across the rough linen, was like a caress. Each pass added a veil of light and atmosphere. I wasn't thinking of this at the time, but later have liked to imagine that one could go through the veils and end up actually being inside the painting, more deeply in touch than ever with that world that means so much to me. 

Seasonal Paintings 2021

These are mostly small, quick, and shaggy outdoor paintings, attempting to capture some effects of  afternoon light and moving air. Most were done at the end of a long day spent on other things.

Palimpsest Series

This is a selection from three series of monotypes I did during the first summer of the Covid quarantine. The geese belong to the first group and were made with masking and cut-out shapes that could be re-used throughout the series. The images of the other two series are abstract. They were inspired by a collection of small, ancient Tantric paintings created for meditation practice. In these, I was fascinated by the stains and marks (as well as tears), that read like natural palimpsests suggesting age and previous incarnations

Along the coast in southwestern Nova Scotia

In the late summer, I paint along the southwest coast of Nova Scotia. The air can be cool and vaporous when rain or fog are on the way, while at other times, above and below  you see the bluest of blues.