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Introducing Mary Planding, American Colorist

"If we all do our part, we can leave the world a better place than we when we entered it."

I was born in New York to a fine artist father and computer expert mother. I began my “auspicious” painting career at the age of three helping my beloved Papa gesso his canvases. (As you can imagine, I got more gesso on me than on his canvases.)  With my Papa's blessing, I began studying art in NYC at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Brooklyn Museum, taking drawing, illustration, and painting classes throughout my youth.

Finding art again

I was captivated by studying foreign languages and working abroad. I was distracted by a bit of a nomadic life. Fast forward — it took more than 35 years before I returned to my true love. While recovering from burning out in my fast-paced career in high tech marketing and advertising in Silicon Valley, I rediscovered my love of creating art. I immersed myself in exploring Van Gogh, Monet, Edgar Payne, John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, Degas, Matisse, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Society of Six, and the beauty they created. I became obssed with the impressionists and post-impressionists.

When I returned to art and painting, I had to start from the beginning it had been so long. I felt awkward, clumsy, and frustrated because I couldn't quite make you see what I was feeling. I had to evolve. That’s why I sought out amazing artists who were also gifted teachers. I invested in learning from many contemporary artists most notably Teresa Saia, Johannes Vloothuis, Marla Baggetta, Kim Lordier, Dream Tolle Perry, Jeanne Rosier Smith, and others. Their guidance helped me develop my own style and to stay true to my voice. Still, the learning never ends...I continue to take workshops and will 'til they cart me away for good.  

I consider myself a color and soft pastel addict. There's no medium in the world as long-lasting as soft pastel. Nor can any medium even begin to mimic its brilliance and luminosity, which is why it's my favorite.  Today, my work has expanded to include oils and watercolors in addition to soft pastels. My watercolors are a private source of personal enjoyment. With oils and pastels, I take more time for thinking and planning. Watercolors, on the other hand are the opposite — I rarely think, I just do.

We need compassion to thrive

I am passionate about helping preserve the Earth’s beauty and preventing cruelty to animals. Every year I donate a portion of my art work profits to groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Ocean Conservancy, the National Resource Defense Council, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, among others.

When I lived in Santa Cruz, CA I served on the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz’s board of directors for two years, was a member of the Santa Cruz Art League, and the Pastel Society of the West Coast. Now that I'm living in North Carolina with my adorable tuxie art studio supervisor, Sir Paddington, I'm now a member of the Pastel Society of North Carolina, the Appalachian Pastel Society, Appalachian Plein Air Painters, and the Transylvania Art Guild. I also served on the St. James Artisans/SUFA board of directors in Southport, NC for 18 months. Working with and helping communities of wonderful artists is one of my greatest pleasures.

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