News From Mary

News from Mary

November 2015

Here is a TV interview that aired on KLST/KSAN TV in San Angelo, TX during the San Angelo En Plein Air event that Mary attended recently.

Posted by Clint Dooley on Thursday, November 5, 2015



May 2015

Art-A-Whirl* this past weekend was a huge success! We had well over 2000 people visit studio gallery #366 at The Northrup King Building. We talked with many artists, art lovers and people curious to know more about Mary's paintings. Thank you to all we talked with, to those who simply took a moment to enjoy what they saw, to our studio mates: Heidi Hoy, Cynthia Kath and Gerri Summerville and NEMAA for sponsoring the event.
~ Mary and Jen
*Art-A-Whirl is one of the country's largest open studio tour, sponsored by NEMAA (Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association)



Cutter & Cutter Fine Art Gallery (St. Augustine, Florida) hosted the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition for Traditional Oils which opened on May 1, 2015. "Solitary", a painting inspired during a trip through Russia to study the Russian Masters, was selected to hang in this exhibition.



March 2015

Truly an honor... Mary's painting, "Solitary," is an Oil Painters of America (OPA) National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils finalist.  This painting will be on exhibition in St. Augustine, FL from May 1, 2015 to May 25, 2015 at Cutter & Cutter Fine Art in their Brilliance in Color Gallery.

Here is what Mary says about this painting: The simple organic character of this dwelling, the frozen silence, and the gentle warms and cools woven together captivated me as we walked along the river in this little Russian village. I couldn't wait to paint it!

Solitary-16x20 by Mary Pettis

16x20 - oil on linen



February 2015

Mary, standing in front of three of her 7 paintings completed during the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational, including one of which won the 'Montage Kapalua Bay' award: 'Warm Aloha at Lahaina Coolers'.

Only one painting remains at The Village Galleries for the final days showing. We are truly honored.

On behalf of both of us: Thank you to EVERYONE who put this event on, sponsored it, judged it, came to watch all the artists paint during the week, fellow artists, collectors, those who sent us pictures, hosted Mary and followed us on Facebook.
Mahalo!! Jen


January 2015

Spending these quiet winter days in my studio feels both nourishing and exciting! Every January I reflect on my body of work in the past year and prepare mentally and spiritually for the wonderful Maui Plein Air Invitational in February. (Wish me luck!) To prepare technically, I do several quick paintings (averaging 16 x 24") of subjects that have haunted me, begging to be brought off my memory shelf and onto canvas. As I do this, I experiment with which paints to include in this year's limited palette...a very difficult thing for me to do, as each year I fall in love with new tube color combinations! (Love affairs can be very dangerous!) This year, after the Maui event, I will visit the beautiful island of Kauai painting and spending time at Palms Gallery with Michael, Tess, Craig and the whole Palms family.


The first big piece of news for 2015 to share is that the painting, "Time Stands Still", (below) was selected as a finalist in the December 2014 RayMar Fine Arts Competition! Thank you to judge Camille Przewodek and RayMar Art for the honor of being selected. Here is a link to see the other finalists:

Both Jen and I are excited about what's to come this year. Be sure to sign up for our newsletters, connect to us on Facebook and check our calendar for news, events and fun information.

Time Stands Still
48" x 30" oil on linen
Photo by Mitch Rossow

This studio painting is inspired from a spot I painted on location this past year. I often find as I paint field studies that one segment of the scene I am looking at begins to call to me in a deeper way, from beyond the surface appearance. I let myself plug in to that 'call' without fear, and through some miracle I don't fully understand, it imprints! Back in the studio I can usually quiet myself into a complete recall of that feeling, and, when the stars line up, it shows up in the work. This was one of those situations!









Mary Selected for Maui Invitational

Mary painting at Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii.Mary is one of only 15 artists from the mainland to be invited to participate in Hawaii’s premier outdoor painting event: The Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational.

The Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational is in its 10th consecutive year and Mary has been selected each year since it began. Jean Stern, noted author and Executive Director of The Irvine Museum in Irvine, California, will both judge and deliver the keynote lecture at the event. Mary states, “This is a great honor. I have the opportunity to paint with some of the most prominent plein air artists in the country at this event, in one of the most gorgeous areas of the world.”

Photo: Mary at Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii during the 2014 Maui Plein Air Invitational

September 2014 - AIS 15th Annual National Juried Finalist

Exciting News! Minneapolis, Minnesota will be represented in the American Impressionist Society's 15th Annual National Juried Show.

"Minnehaha Falls - Overcast", my 20x16" oil painting capturing the historic 2014 flooding in Minneapolis, has been chosen as finalist in the AIS (American Impressionist Society) 15th Annual National Juried Show.  

Minnehaha Falls - Overcast  20x16"  oil on linen

 "How thrilling it was to try to capture this beautiful, surging water in the middle of our City of Lakes." - Mary Pettis

With over 1300 paintings submitted, only 165 artists were accepted into the annual show.  The opening reception and awards presentation will be held at Abend Gallery in Denver on October 2, 2014.  Click here to find out more about the show and see the full catalog of finalists.  

We want to thank the American Impressionist Society, Abend Gallery, the jurors, the media partners and many sponsors of this event. It is an honor to represent Minneapolis and stand along side this group of amazing artists.

Minnetonka Center for the Arts - Annual Members' Juried Show

Mary Pettis demonstrates toning and color wash at a 2014 Master Class.

May 22nd was the opening for the Minnetonka Center for the Arts Annual Members Juried Show, to which Mary submitted three paintings. To her surprise, all three paintings were juried in to the show and Mary won FIRST PLACE / BEST IN SHOW for one of them: St. Germaine de Bel Aire. A big "Thank You" to the members of the Jury and to the Minnetonka Center for the Arts!"

Mary Pettis selected as ARC Salon Finalist

Mary has been selected as an ARC (Art Renewal Center) Salon Finalist for 2014. In their recent publication, they report "with an approximate 2,200 entries this year by over 1,000 artists, the competition was steeper then ever." Winners will be announced in early May. To learn more about ARC, visit their website at

Minnetonka Center for the Arts

Mary is accepted into the Minnetonka Center for the Arts (MCFTA) 2014 Juried Figure Show. As the MCFTA describes it, "From primitive talismans to high-style portraiture, artworks depicting the human figure comprise one of the oldest and most enduring genres of art. This exhibit will present a juried selection of works of art and fine craft in a broad range of media by regional artists." The show runs from April 10, 2014 to May 8, 2014. Visit their website.


Mary Pettis demonstrates toning and color wash at a 2014 Master Class.

Northstar Watermedia Society

Mary demonstrates "Great Starts! Painting from the Inside-Out" at the Northstar Watermedia Society's monthly meeting on March 27, 2014. Mary will demonstrate how she paints from emotion first, building her concept in the first few minutes with transparent colors that pair with her artistic intent. She believes that to achieve a powerful painting, the artist must know the story she wants to tell and tell it clearly. Mary will teach a great way to draw, mass, scrub or rub to achieve pleasing arrangements of negative shapes. This inside-out method develops the feeling and the design at once. It enables the artist, in the first 12 minutes, to hold the initial inspiration through the entire painting process. Mary teaches that if you don’t love your design, if what you have doesn’t intrigue or excite you after the first 12 minutes, wipe it off and do it again! Here is a link to the Northstar Watermedia Society website.

[ photo above:] Mary demonstrates toning and color wash at March 15, 2014 Master Class.


Cincinnati Art Club

On April 11, 2014, Mary is the guest speaker at the Cincinnati Art Club monthly meeting. The Cincinnati Art Club was formed in 1890 for the purpose of advancing the knowledge and love of art through education. Today it is America's second oldest continuously operating art club with a notable roster of nationally recognized artists. Here is a link to their website.


Mary's Studio at the Northrup King Building, Minneapolis, MN

Art-A-Whirl: May 16-18, 2014

Look for Mary and Jen in studio/gallery #366 at The Northrup King Building during Art-A-Whirl 2014. This event, sponsored by NEMAA (Northeast Minneapolis Art Association) is one of the country's largest open studio tours. At the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, The Northrup King Building is a host to this annual open studio and gallery crawl.

May 16, 17 & 18, 2014
Friday, 5pm - 10pm
Saturday, 12pm - 8pm
Sunday, 12pm - 5pm

Northrup King Building
Studio Gallery #366
1500 Jackson Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413


Cinque Terre, Italy 2015

We're planning another Artists' Workshop to Italy in September, 2015! Happily, Il Chiostro has agreed to host us in this exquisite painter's heaven! Let us know if you are interested.


American Art Collector

Two of Mary's paintings are featured in the special section: "Paintings of Seascapes, Rivers and Lakes" in the April 2014 issue of American Art Collector.


Plein Air Magazine

Mary Pettis Galleries can be seen in the April 2014 issue of Plein Air Magazine.


Plein Air Workshop

Upcoming Workshops

April 2014 - Successful Plein Air Basics

All are welcome - this outdoor workshop is an excellent opportunity for both beginners and intermediate artists. If painting is your life's work but you haven't painted much outdoors, or if you have less than 25 paintings under your belt, this workshop is for you! Through exercises, lectures, discussions and demonstrations, you will learn how to select and simplify nature in its overwhelming abundance! You will be introduced to the tools that make great paintings: Line, Shape, Values, Color, Edges, and Texture. You will overcome the fear and begin the JOY of painting from life outdoors!

Event Details:
April 25 - 27th, 2014 | 9:30am - 4:30pm
Taylors Falls, MN
Workshop Fee: $300.00
Click HERE to register via PayPal (new window will open). Use the Contact form for any questions.


May 2014 - Creative Breakthrough: Bring the Art Spirit into Your Work

Find your voice! Held at the beautiful Grand Marais Arts Colony, in Grand Marais, MN, this workshop gives artists of all skills the opportunity to hone in on what makes your art authentic and personal. Through exercises, lectures, discussions and demonstrations, you will learn the path to finding your inner creative spirit.

Each day you will paint - not to turn out finished pieces, but to get a sense of the exercises that will make stronger, more powerful paintings in each of six considerations: Line, Shape, Values, Color, Edges, and Texture. Improve your work at an astonishing rate by understanding what makes a Master Painting: having something to say, and knowing how to say it.

Register at (will open in a new window).

Event Details
May 19 - 22nd, 2014 | 9:00am - 4:00pm
Grand Marais Arts Colony
Grand Marais, MN
Workshop Fee: $395.00


Mary adjusts skirt on a plein air model.

June 2014 - Plein Air Figure & Landscape

Have you always thought it would be fun to paint figures from life? Have you been afraid to add figures to your plein air landscapes and cityscapes? Or, are you a classically trained artist who wishes to improve your ability to grab the essentials in shorter model sessions?

Here is a solution! During this fun, 3-day workshop you will learn:

  • How to paint figures out-of-doors quickly and accurately
  • Proven methods that will help you exercise and master quick oil sketches
  • Techniques for longer, 2-hour 'finished' poses.

Event Details
June 27 - 29th, 2014 | 9:30am - 4:30pm
Taylors Falls, MN
Workshop Fee: $350.00 + $20.00 model fee
Click HERE to register via PayPal (new window will open). Use the Contact form for any questions.

Painters who take this workshop will be eligible for an outdoor, longer-pose workshop. Here we will work on 2 poses over the 3 days. Morning and afternoon light poses last 3 hours each day, with 2 completed large paintings at the end of the workshop. Details to come.


2014 Maui Plein Air Invitational Painters

2014 Maui Plein Air Invitational Painters Chosen

Mary is thrilled to announce that she is among 25 painters to have been selected to participate in the 2014 Maui Plein Air Paintng Invitational. This is one of her favorite competitions and she feels honored to have been selected again this year, as in previous years. Mary looks forward to seeing many of her colleagues and painting in beautiful Maui next year. If you would like to attend the event , or read more about this competition, click here to view the Plein Talk e-newsletter.


The Poet by Mary PettisArt Attack

Mary will be in Studio 366 during ‘Art Attack’ this coming November 1, 2 and 3, 2013, presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (, Art Attack is an annual open studio and gallery crawl at the Northrup King Building, in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. This weekend-long event features over 200 artists and is a great opportunity to tour private artist studios and galleries, connect with the artists, and purchase original artwork.
Art Attack hours:
Friday, November 1, 5 – 10pm, Saturday, November 2, Noon-8pm, Sunday, November 3, Noon-5pm.
This event is free and open to the public.


Mentored Master Class

Mary will be leading a Mentored Master Class in October 2013. This is an invitation only group offered to artists who have taken at least one workshop from Mary. If you are interested in being a part of this class, please contact Mary via the Contact form. Thank you!


Textures of the Tongass by Mary Pettis2013 NEMAA Fall Fine Arts Show

This is my 36x24 painting, “Textures of the Tongass” that can be seen at The 2013 NEMAA (Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association) Fall Fine Arts Show.

(from NEMAA:) "This is an exhibit of more than 140 of their members’ artwork. It’s a great opportunity to view and purchase a vast collection of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed-media art, and much more — all in one location.

NEMAA Artist members are consistently recognized nationally for the high caliber and originality of their artwork. Don’t miss this opportunity to view an eclectic sampling of their artwork - within one gallery space located in the heart of the vibrant Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. Artwork will be available for purchase in varied sizes, styles, and price points."

Location: Solar Arts Building, 3rd Floor, 711 - 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis 55413
Dates: September 20 – 29, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, 9/20, 6 - 9 PM
Saturday & Sunday, 9/21 & 9/22, 12 - 5 PM
Friday, 9/27, 5 - 9 PM
Saturday & Sunday, 9/28 & 9/29, 12 - 5 PM


Mary’s 4-day Figure in Plein Air WorkshopPlein Air Workshop participants

Mary Pettis Plein Air Workshop in progressMary’s 4-day Figure in Plein Air Workshop this past summer was a huge success and lots of fun.  We spent days doing quick poses varying from 2 to 15 minutes.  We also painted from models walking 50 yards back and forth.  On the last day, 20 minutes to paint a figure seemed like an eternity!



Mary with a finished plein air painting in Frederick, MDI am excited to share the results of the Easels in Frederick Invitational. In June 2013, I traveled to Frederick, Maryland in June 2013 for the “Easels in Frederick” Plein Air event.  It was 5 days where residents and visitors came to watch the artists at their easels as they paint throughout the county. Here I am in front of my painting, Umbrellas and Puddles, which won the “People’s Choice Award” and $1,000.00 cash prize this year.  All 4 of my 16x20 paintings sold during the event!


I’m thrilled to announce that in March 2013, Jen Kochevar joined Mary Pettis Galleries.  Jen grew up in a household where business and art were the major influences.  Jen Kochevar and Mary PettisShe has over 15 years of experience running her own consulting business, supporting small business owners with bookkeeping and operations. Following her love for engaging with people, in 2000 she became a licensed personal and professional leadership coach.  In 2011, after 3 years of board service, she was elected the first woman president of The Nash Foundation. Jen Kochevar Along with being a leader, healer, artist and a business woman she is the mother of two boys, Jack and Sam, and loves spending time with her partner, Jim.  Employing Jen’s organizational, sales and visual skills will allow me to turn my attention from the back office work to spending more time in the studio.  


My new website was launched the second week of May, 2013! Laurie Lawrence, from Monticello, New York, created it. She is great to work with, and I highly recommend her. You can contact her at Photography of my paintings is expertly handled by Carol Seefeldt; she can be reached at Carol Seefeldt Photography.


I am thrilled to announce that, in addition to my studio in Taylors Falls, I now have a studio presence and a showcase for my work in Minneapolis. We are in the Arts District in the Northrup King Building ( , Studio 366, 1500 Jackson Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.
STUDIO 366 HOURS: We will be open every first Thursday of the month from 5 to 9 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 4pm. Days that I am personally available at Studio 366 will be posted on my web site calendar.
You can visit me there during ART-A-WHIRL! May 17, 18 and 19, 2013. Presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (, Art-A-Whirl is the largest open studio tour in the country. It’s a great opportunity to tour private artist studios and galleries, connect with the artists, and purchase original artwork.
Here are the Art-A-Whirl hours:
Friday, May 17, 5 – 9pm, Saturday, May 18, noon-8pm, Sunday, May 19, noon-5pm
Art-A-Whirl takes place annually in Northeast Minneapolis, the third weekend of May. This event is free and open to the public.



I have been invited to be a featured artist at the Easels in Frederick Plein Air Invitational June 18 - 23, 2013 Frederick, Maryland. I am delighted to have been selected among so many submissions. For more information, please visit:

The 2013 Maui Plein Air Invitational was an extraordinary event for me in many ways. I met numerous new friends, and was again the top artist in gross sales. Thank you, everyone! From the 5 days of intense painting, we sold 4) 16x20s, my 16x12 quick paint, and the miniature brought from home for the silent auction the evening of Jean Stern's lecture. I taught the post-event workshop, which filled out at 12 students. What a great event the Maui Plein Air is, connecting artists and art lovers and promoting the arts and culture on Maui!


2012 NEWS

2012 was a fruitful year with sales, commissions and much-treasured time for study and reflection. My painting, "Tribute" inspired from an oil sketch painted at the Kelly Farm Living History Museum in Elk River, MN, was juried into the American Impressionist Society Exhibition. It features 2 oxen in yoke with a farmer working the plow behind them, morning sun still fresh in the sky, and the smell of freshly turned earth mixing with the dew. I love that painting. It will be displayed on my new website coming out soon.

I have been invited to be the featured artist at the 2012 Door County Plein Air Festival this year, 2012. Peninsula School of Art hosts the largest plein air festival in the midwest, attracting artists, collectors and visitors to stay, shop, and dine and enjoy Door County.


Maui Plein Air 2012

I had a wonderful and extremely successful Maui Plein Air this year! I was awarded an Honorable Mention for my 16x20 Painting, "Cooler's Colors", and (I am told), I was the top artist in gross sales, as we sold all 4 16x20s and my quick paint! Yay!


February, 2012

I have been painting more than ever, and now emerging from my inner sanctum of the studio. Sometimes an artist needs to take the time to retreat from the spotlight, and take the time necessary to simply go within.

Last year was a wonderful, busy year, painting and teaching!
We went to Maui Plein Air in February, 2011, where I won the Irvine Award of Excellence for my night scene. I taught and painted with friends in Tuscany, judged and was guest lecturer at the wonderful Grand Marais Plein Air event along Lake Superior in beautiful northern MN. I also taught a workshop while I was there, and met great new painting friends! I painted in Alaska.

I have recently returned from a wonderful Winter Plein Air sponsored by the Grand Marais Art Colony along the Gunflint Trail in the Boundary Waters. We painted, and jumped through a hole in the frozen ice a couple of times after the world class sauna! This year I will be in a show in New York, I am an invited artist at the Door County Plein Air in late July, I am teaching a fall workshop at the Grand Marais Art Colony, and we are planning a trip to Paris fall of 2013. I am now heading to the prestigious 2012 Maui Plein Air Invitational sponsored by the Islanders! Ah...warmth and sunshine do an outdoor painter's heart good!

Studio Notes

Please see Mary's Blog for more current information.  
Thank you for your interest!  

December 2015
Plein Air Magazine's "Plein Air Today" interview titled Painting Light on Busy Animals can be seen by clicking here!  This interview was inspired by the comments people made on Facebook about the painting "Breakfast at Treva's" (20x24"), seen below.  Thank you for following me!

November 2015
This past month, 4 paintings were purchased by collectors from four different locations around the world!  "The Yellow Umbrella" was sold through our Northrup King studio gallery during Art Attack (Minneapolis), "Twilight at the Beaver Pond" was purchased during the opening weekend of The Mountain Oyster Clubs 46th Annual Auction and Exhbitition (Tuscon), "Neighbors" was purchased by a couple in Canada and "Lavish Life" was purchased through Palms Gallery (Hawaii). Thank you to each and everyone!

 "Lavish Life" 19x43"
 "The Yellow Umbrella" 16x20"
 "Neighbors" 16x20"
 "Twilight on the Beaver Pond" 20x30"

October 2015
These four paintings are now headed to Handwright Gallery (New Canaan, CT) to hang in their Small Works Exhibition. The opening reception will be on November 5th and the show will run until January 2, 2016. For more information, please visit their website at

"Sister Colors"  9x14"
 "Alaska Rainforest"  10x8"
 "Sensation of Lilacs"  8x6"
 "Grand Marais Birch" 8x10"

"Neighbors" (16x20" oil on linen) has been selected by the American Impressionist Society for their 2015 National Juried Exhibition.  The show runs from October 1 - 29, 2015 at Trailside Galleries, Scottsdale Arizona.  Opening Reception/Awards Presentation, Thursday, October 15th.

September 2015

I am excited to participate again in the Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational!  The event runs from February 13, 2016 - February 21, 2016.  For more information visit

 "Warm Aloha at Lahaina Coolers'

August 2015
The two works I was commissioned to paint for the Dakota County Technical College, seen below, are a departure from what I normally do these days.  I enjoyed the challenge of including transportation, construction and emerging technologies with abstract concepts like inspiration and connection.  Both are 48x72" oil on linen.

 "The Spirit of Connections"     "The Spirit of Inspiration"
July 2015
I'm very excited about my upcoming solo exhibition, titled "Time Stands Still", at the Jaques Art Center in Aitkin, Minnesota. This will showcase 30+ selected oil paintings and begins on August 7, 2015. The Artist Reception is August 22nd from 12pm - 3pm at the Carnegie Gallery, housed in the historically preserved 1911 Carnegie Library building.

"Time Stands Still" Solo Exhibition
Jaques Art Center, Aitkin, Minnesota
August 7, 2015 - September 19, 2015

July 2015

July 12, 2015 - Today is the first day of the week long event: "Plein Air Duluth: Paint du Nord", sponsored by the Duluth Art Institute. This morning, I painted at Amity Creek (above) and this afternoon I found some beautiful wildflowers in Lester Park, along the creek (below).‪

June 2015    

It was a rush to be up in Duluth this month and have a second chance at the lilacs! The iPhone photo on the top is of the finished lilac sketch. If I wanted it to be more than a finish and sign it, the values and drawing would have to be cleaned up a bit.

In contrast to Sunday's lilac study, "Behind My Studio" shown on the bottom, is a more finished, refined lilac painting (from a while ago). Painting little studies helps me learn about structure and character, and my artistic intent is in the category of 'notes to myself', which I approach a bit differently than a complete Plein air painting.