Originally hailing from the rolling hills of West Virginia, Mary Heckman moved to Baton Rouge from Kentucky in 1982. She has been a member of LAAG for 7 years. Chatting up LAAG to everyone she meets, she is a one-woman publicity machine. Recently, Mary co-chaired the Baton Rouge Garden Club's "Tablescapes" Exhibit with Cynthia Moran, a member of the Garden Club. A tireless worker, Mary contributes her energy to LAAG projects regularly.
During the period when Mary grew up, career options for women were limited: teacher, nurse, and secretary. Because she is a natural care-giver, she enrolled in nursing school. After she received her RN license and she married he soul mate David, she began tole painting as a hobby. However, she says she didn't like staying within the lines! She moved on to work in acrylics as her medium of choice, although she has dabbled with other mediums.
Wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and artist--Mary is a prolific painter. She paints every day in the keeping room next to her kitchen. Since all her tools are readily accessible and she thinks about painting all the time, art just flows in waves. Using a thematic approach, Mary typically creates a series of paintings, working on several paintings at the same time. For example, her exciting exhibit for Serop's Restaurant consisted of people and events relating to food. One of her paintings depicted her daughter and son-in-law enjoying a meal in the restaurant. Another painting showed "Duke" her dog tearing into a Serop's bag. Mary's paintings always entertain and tell a story. It is obvious that she enjoys what she does. After talking with her, one knows it gives her great pleasure to paint.
Mary never runs out of ideas to paint. Early each year, she plans which shows she wants to enter, and then develops three paintings per show. This year she intends to enter at least eight shows. So she is already well into her creative production.
While she is meeting life on its terms, Mary seeks to learn something new every day. She recounted that she even learned something from a three-year-old child that she met in her doctor's waiting room. She gave the child paper and pen and watched him create. His freedom of expression inspired her. One of the things that makes Mary so special is the role she plays as cheerleader for her fellow artists. She shares the joy she finds in art readily. She will prod and cajole us all to be the best that we can be. She walked me through my one-woman exhibit at Serop's Restaurant and offered numerous suggestions to help me make it a successful exhibit. She even stayed to help me hang the exhibit. In everything she does, Mary goes the extra mile.
Mary's advice to new artists is to plan to paint and draw every day. Artists need to dedicate time to art if they want to continue to improve.
You will find Mary painting most Tuesdays with the water media group at LAAG's Open Studio from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm. Come by and spend some time with this amazing artist!