Featured Artist Mary Kay Neumann

Watercolor artist Mary Kay Neumann creates vibrantly colorful images of underwater flora and fauna. Learn more about this artist and her inspiration by visiting her website.

 

“HOWL” Watercolor, 30” x 22” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“HOWL” Watercolor, 30” x 22”

 

Art can be healing and a force for positive social change.

 

“What to Remember When Waking” Watercolor, 30” x 22” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“What to Remember When Waking” Watercolor, 30” x 22”

 

Vincent Van Gogh has been my everlasting inspiration. His bold, colorful paintings, in his time, were shocking to others. However, his commitment to painting his truth was what kept him alive. My love of Vincent’s art moved me to express the intensity of his bold and vibrant oil paintings using watercolor. I quickly learned how difficult this was!

 

“Walk on the Wild Side” (Tidepool Series”) Watercolor, 22” x 30”by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Walk on the Wild Side” (Tidepool Series”) Watercolor, 22” x 30”

 

Wet-into-wet watercolor techniques provided me an avenue to push the boundaries of traditional watercolor. Using copious amounts of intense, saturated paint onto very wet paper, I seek unusual texture, forms, and meaning. I relish the interplay between abstract and realistic imagery to express emotion and energy.

 

“A Caution to the Birds” (Tidepool Series) Watercolor, 15” x 22” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“A Caution to the Birds” (Tidepool Series) Watercolor, 15” x 22”

 

Painting the natural world of the “underwater gardens” of tidepools and garden plants is deeply joyful. During tidepool explorations on the west coast, I encountered the beautiful sunflower sea stars, a starfish with twenty-four arms that moves rapidly with 15,000 small tubular feet. The beauty of this creature and its similarity to blooming sunflowers on land was astonishing and has been a source of inspiration for decades.

 

 “The Last Waltz” (Melting Sea Star Series) Watercolor, 30” x 40” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“The Last Waltz” (Melting Sea Star Series) Watercolor, 30” x 40”

 

As these images swim in my imagination, what will emerge can be surprising—animals of a tidepool or the plants of an underwater garden, flowing and undulating within the same plane? Poppies seem to swim among the kelp, sunflowers morph into sea anemones.

 

“Sending Out An S.O.S” (Melting Sea Star Series) Watercolor, 30” x 20” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Sending Out An S.O.S” (Melting Sea Star Series) Watercolor, 30” x 20”

 

The joy of painting these underwater creature/flower fantasies has been shaken up by climate change. Sunflower sea stars began dying off in mass numbers on the Pacific coast during the summer of 2013, literally melting away. Millions have now died due to sea star wasting disease, which is directly related to climate change.

 

“Flown This Acid World” (Melting Sea Star Series) Watercolor, 12” x 16” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Flown This Acid World” (Melting Sea Star Series) Watercolor, 12” x 16”

 

“Melting Sea Star Series” was my challenge to depict these creatures during a time of crises, while they are melting. In other paintings, imperfect flowers vibrate with rage; sunflower fields hold their own under threatening skies or facing fires on the horizon; fragile tidepool environments are under siege by ocean pollution.

 

“Desire is Hunger, The Fire We Breathe” Watercolor, 22” x 30” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Desire is Hunger, The Fire We Breathe” Watercolor, 22” x 30”

 

Climate change put “fire in my belly” to focus on the social change aspect of my artwork. I emphasize the threat to our environment by the climate crises and ways we can make a difference.

 

“Silent Spring” (collaborative painting by Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann) Watercolor, 22” x 30” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Silent Spring” (collaborative painting by Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann) Watercolor, 22” x 30”

 

My most recent work is a collaboration with the wonderful artist, Helen Klebesadel. “The Flowers Are Burning: Incandescent Watercolors” is a traveling art and climate change exhibition and project. Our message is “What do you love that needs protecting? What are you moved to do about it?”

 

“Burned by the Fire We Make” (collaborative painting by Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann) Watercolor, 22” x 30” by artist Mary Kay Neumann. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Burned by the Fire We Make” (collaborative painting by Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann) Watercolor, 22” x 30”

 

The exhibition of our individual and co-created watercolors seeks to evoke a sense of alarm about the immediacy of climate change and the hope we can do something proactive. Intertwining with the art is educational information and a website with resources for action. Our collaborative paintings were co-created. Having very dissimilar styles led to a wonderful blending in our finished works.

 

Photo of artist Mary Kay Neumann with Sunflower Sea Star in Newport, Oregon Aquarium. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Photo of artist Mary Kay Neumann with Sunflower Sea Star in Newport, Oregon Aquarium

 

This underscores our message that collaboration with others and embracing differences can bring unexpected treasures and be a healing force.

Mary Kay Neumann invites you to visit her Facebook page.

 

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Comments

  1. Laurel Sukup says:

    Inspiring visuals to inspire action! Extremely important, engaging work on the most important issue that has faced mankind.

    • Thank you so much, Laurel! I agree that climate change–and climate justice– are the most important issues our planet has ever experienced. I appreciate hearing your thoughts. Mary Kay

  2. Diane Miller says:

    Hi Mary Kay,
    I am an instant fan of your art! The vibrant colors pull me in and keep me there enjoying the beauty of your work. I hear your voice too about the necessity of human need to pay attention to what we do and to how our behaviors effect the environment. Lest we “burn” the most precious gifts of nature. Great and necessary message! Oh and congrats on your feature with Artsy Shark! Much deserved.

  3. Hi Diane!
    What a lovely response to my artwork…this is the exact reaction I most aspire to! So often people just shut down when faced with the overwhelm of climate degradation, and finding a way to bring attention to what we can do about it through the beauty of art, is my highest hope.

    I’ll repeat the message I want to spread: “Find something you love in the natural world that needs protecting. What are you moved to do about it?” Thank you, Diane, for giving me the chance to say it again! Mary Kay

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