In my early landscape paintings, my approach was to paint the idea of a subject. As I got older, I became more aware of the ephemeral nature of the land I was walking in every day. I started bringing a camera along, and the experience of taking pictures made these changes more apparent. Seasons, storms, wildlife, human beings, and time itself alters the landscape. It became important for me to hold on to those moments that had filled me with awe and to honor the places that are part of my life.
Using one of my photographs as a guide, I draft the composition onto the canvas with oil paint. The second working involves filling in colors, making them richer and more complex. These first two workings are done quickly. I find being too finicky at this stage hinders my ability to develop the piece later. It isn’t until the third or fourth working, that I start to play with shapes and patterns. Sometimes, a line or a form arises by accident in an early stage, and this gives me a hint of how to proceed. Other times, I muck about, trying out different approaches until I find the right path. Usually a painting takes 5 to 6 workings, but recently, it has taken me longer to bring it all together.
Living in a place where there is still wildness has been vital for my sense of peace. I prefer to be surrounded by trees, safely enveloped in greenery. Painting the sky or a prairie feels daring to me, as if I am too exposed out in the open. In fact, my “overhead” paintings are usually looking at the sky through the tree tops. Lakes, rivers and creeks are common in Minnesota and frequently the focus of my art.
Mary Lingen was born in North Dakota in 1959. Her family moved to Minnesota in 1965.
Lingen studied art at Augsburg College, graduating Summa cum laude in 1981. While continuing to paint, she worked at several different jobs. In 1990, she moved onto ten acres of woodlands in Backus, Minnesota. This landscape changed the focus of her painting and helped to shape the style of her work. In 1995, she began to paint full time.
Her art has been exhibited across the country, receiving several awards in juried competitions. She has been listed in Art in America's Guide to Museums, Galleries and Artists four times. Her art was on the cover of Spaces magazine in December 2016 / January 2017. To learn more, visit www.marylingen.wordpress.com.
Lingen has successfully completed several commissions, such as six paintings for Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. Her work is included in many public and private collections throughout the country. She is represented by Douglas Flanders and Associates in Minnesota; HW Gallery in Florida; and Milward Farrell Fine Art in Wisconsin.