Meet the artist - Mary Frances Crabtree

Mary Frances Crabtree writes eloquently about her artistry and creative experience here in Concord:

"Diversity, affordability, proximity to a cultural center and a sunny suburban refuge from Pacific coast fog—that is what I like about living in the Concord area.

Escaping from the icy grip of a Chicago winter to a warm California welcome fulfilled my original retirement goal, but challenges still there enough inspiration for artistic growth here? Where would I find the vivid colors I celebrated during the seasonal changes of the Midwest? With family and friends left behind, as well as familiar neighborhoods and a city where education and culture highlighted my life—what did my new life in Concord offer?

By Mary Frances Crabtree - pastel

The answer is light - brilliant light that emerges from shadow to define contours in objects, landscapes and people. The light in Concord’s hills against low, shaded valleys presents an artist with sharp contrasts in light intensity. It can be unforgiving light emerging from a black, shadowy background, or it can be a softly muted light tracing powdery shapes.

As color no longer defined my artistic vision here in Concord, the familiar technique and media—oils and gouache paint that I always used—horrors! It didn’t work! I was forced out of my comfort zone. I needed to express the new reality I saw all around me living in Concord: light and shadow, white pastel on Fabriano deep black paper. 

This is what the viewer will see in my drawings—yes, simple drawings devoid of lines—a technique which I developed inspired by the negative in photography.

By Mary Frances Crabtree - pastel

My advice for a new art student comes from a seminar in painting from an instructor who was tired of hearing— Am I finished? Should I put a dash of cerulean here or more burnt sienna there?  His advice to me was simply to put the paintbrush down."

1 comment:

Thanks for visiting - we'd love to hear from you!