Most people would think a person such as myself, with an almost obsessive desire for order and structure, would not make a happy artist, but my paintings start with order and structure and that is exactly what entices me. After that, color, value and texture inspire and challenge me. I became a painter the day I realized that a vast chaotically arranged still life set-up by my teacher was not speaking to me. I took a small panel and focused on the cut half of one orange. I discovered a kaleidoscope of colors, shades, tones and tints, visible because of the intricacies of light and shadow that I never would have found if I had tackled that confusing set up. I’ve been enchanted by this discovery ever since.
When creating a composition, I often elevate my subject to eye level and cast the lighting to create mood and drama. Using my brush or my knife, I carve my subjects from the shadows with brilliant hues and shades. I maintain a tight intimate focus to draw the viewer in and I strive for a balance of serenity and calm, but with a surprise of intense color. My paintings can be contemplative and quiet or playful and spontaneous. I want saturated, juicy color to dance out of the shadows. I paint with simple, meaningful strokes and I use texture and the weight of the paint to create movement and expression.
With all my paintings, I am seeking an intimacy and invitation that will call to and draw the viewer from across the room. I enjoy exploring and interpreting the juxtaposition among objects in a traditionally arranged still life, but am also drawn to the architectural structure that comes from single subjects— such as a vase of flowers or strawberries in a green cardboard box. I am a happy yet restless artist. I feel that I can always learn, push harder, be bolder; it’s that glorious chase that keeps me coming to my studio every day. Lately I am working towards more knife work, lots of paint, and an ever more impressionistic approach. I will never erase completely my bend towards order and structure but painting has folded it into an ever expanding world of artistic expression.
I am an oil painter and I paint every day, believing that I can only improve through hard work and a strong commitment. I also am fortunate to live an interesting life that is full of opportunity for an artist. With a working vineyard in Piemonte, Italy, where I make four types of wines and a home in Alexandria, Virginia, I have found that I can balance this all with my painting. I have been painting for fifteen years. My work has shown in galleries in Alba, Italy, Clifton, VA, and the Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA.
My two sons, husband and I live part of the year in an old rustic farmhouse in the middle of our vineyard. I specialize in oil painting and find particular fulfillment in painting the images and aspects of the wonderful food and wine that is so important to the Italian culture, and farm and wine related artifacts that I find in my travels throughout Europe. From the smallest rose bud that grows along the support post at the end of a grapevine row to an old bean pot used by the farmers centuries ago, I take nothing for granted and strive to capture the beauty in all that is around me by painting.
Mary Beth Gaiarin
110 North Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
571 212 9835
"Good Morning Sunshine", 24"x30", oil on linen
"PIece of Cake", 6"x6", oil on panel
" Persimmons & Roses", 20"x20", oil on linen