Finding the Way
The first thing that drew me into Mary Rountree Moore’s current exhibition at the Hidell Brooks was how full of color the artist’s paintings were. As someone who has always had a love for color in its various forms, I was immediately drawn into the vibrant pieces that the artist had created.
Mary draws her inspiration from coastal marshes and her colors are dictated by nature. While she mostly works with oil on canvas, she’s also drawn to experimenting with different mediums.
In this interview, Mary shares about when she knew she wanted to become an artist, her inspiration, and some words of advice for budding artists.
When did you first know that you wanted to become an artist?
From a very young age, creating art of any sort came very naturally to me. It was my entertainment of choice as a child. My mother was a very creative person – she painted portraits as a hobby – along with her life as a wonderful homemaker, hostess, and “corporate wife”. But it was later in life that I realized that painting, especially, for me was something I was meant to do.
Was there a particular artist(s) who inspired you at the beginning of your career?
The energy and palette of the American Abstract Expressionists have always been an inspiration to me. I am especially enthralled with the work of Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993), a California artist who painted in the mid-20th century. Earlier in my career, when I was working as a design coordinator for an import company, I took workshops with many different Plein air painters, which was very important in learning how to paint.
Cruising Through – Don’t Mind Me
You work with oils on canvas, is there a particular color or color palette that you prefer to work with?
I mainly work in oil on canvas, although I love to experiment with different mediums. Concentrated inks, paper collage, acrylic for its fast drying property, and most recently gouache. My palette is usually dictated by nature, and I love to enhance the brilliance of those colors.
Do you work off of photographs for your pieces and if so where are your favorite places in the South to visit for inspiration?
As I travel, I enjoy taking photos to remind me of the compositions, light quality, colors, and mostly the feeling that inspires a painting. The coastal marshes of the southeastern U.S. coastline are a huge inspiration for me. I have a home on the NC coast and often paint studies en Plein air on the deck, my “summer studio”. I have spent much time, as well, in the Caribbean; the colors and shapes of this magical geography work into my paintings often. My parents moved to Puerto Rico when I was 19. You will see both of these influences in the Hidell Brooks show.
Edge of Oblivion
What is a typical day in your studio like?
It truly is the place I want to be some of the time each day. I am so lucky to have a spacious and light-filled studio, away from the house but on the property, to immerse myself in the process, without distraction. I will paint for 2-3 hours, taking breaks with music and yoga stretches, and visits with my English Cocker pooch “Burns”.
Do you have a painting for the current exhibition that is a personal favorite?
I love them all for different reasons – favorites change from day to day!
What do you enjoy the most about working with the team at the Hidell Brooks Gallery?
The team at Hidell Brooks is the best!! Katharine and Rebecca are very attentive and responsive to both their artists and their clients. I feel very fortunate to be part of their gallery of fine artists – their taste is impeccable.
You featured limited-edition Art Scarves based on some of your paintings at the opening night of the exhibition at Hidell Brooks. When did you come up with the idea of creating the scarves?
My Fine Art Scarves limited edition all started when I had the idea of having my paintings printed on wool and silk scarves as Christmas gifts for my sisters. They were so beautifully executed, I just couldn’t resist offering them to friends and collectors as wearable art. It’s a throwback to my first career as a fashion designer, I guess!
Do you have any advice for young artists who are just beginning to explore the artistic world?
I believe that making art is an innate talent, something one MUST do if so inclined. Having a habit of making that art is important, in moving forward with your skill, and grounding yourself. It should be a priority in your life. Sketch every day, for example. Spend time with creative people. Study art and art history. Learn all you can to contribute to your own expression. Practice and learning add up over the years!
Website: www.maryrountreemoore.com // Shop Mary’s Fine Art Scarves: http://www.maryrountreemoore.com/shop // Instagram: @maryrountreemoore
If you’re in the Charlotte area, you can see Mary’s most recent exhibition titled, #marshpaintings at the Hidell Brooks. The exhibition will be on view through March 30th.