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Art & Life with Mary Ann Trzyna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Ann Trzyna.

Mary Ann, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago with a degree in studio arts. I have worked as a freelance graphic designer for over 15 years while also pursuing my personal work in the fine arts.

My studio is at Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights, a professional artists’ cooperative where I keep regular studio hours and enjoy the frequent interaction with other artists that being part of the cooperative allows. I am a gallery artist at Tall Grass Arts in Park Forest where I coordinate a monthly Life Drawing Workshop and I’m a Signature Member of the Chicago Pastel Painters.

The summer of 2017 I was accepted in the Artist in Residence program at the Indiana Dunes Lake Shore National Park where I had the opportunity to devote two full weeks to painting en plein air in an inspiring natural environment. At the end of the residency, I came home with over 15 completed paintings, a full sketchbook and hundreds of photos. These continue to be sources for additional paintings.

I challenge myself to be an active, productive artist, making studio time a priority and taking classes and workshops to improve my skills. I am also active in the local arts community in order to support other artists and the arts.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a painter working in pastel or oils, landscape and still life my most common subjects. Generally, I am a “realist” painter though I have been experimenting with abstracts lately too.

My landscape paintings are about the sound of wind in leaves, the feel of sunlight, and walking in the woods. Most of my paintings are in natural settings but I have started painting urban scenes too. I like to paint en plein air. When I don’t paint on site, I work from photos, notes and sketches and my memories of mood and atmosphere.

My still life work is about visual seduction. I can think of no other way to describe it. I chose to paint objects that have a strong visual appeal, with color and texture that interests me. I always set up in the studio and work from life — often taking an hour or more composing and lighting the setup. I usually prefer organic forms for my subjects—mostly fruits and vegetables. I will also use patterned fabric as a further source of visual interest in my paintings.

At some point in every successful work, I start to look at the painting more than my sources. This is when I make changes based on what I need to do to make the final painting work—what I need to visually pull the viewer into and around the picture.

Ultimately, my work is about the visual play of color and form on the finished canvas and the mood and moment I am expressing.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Finances often require that art making is not your full-time job – make sure that you schedule time in your life for art making and recognize that that time is important (and make sure the people in your life appreciate the importance of that time).

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Online portfolio (where I also post current and upcoming shows)

I also post work on Instagram

My studio can be visited during regular Union Street Gallery hours or contact me to schedule an appointment.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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