Mary VanLandingham is a traditional painter based out of South Georgia. With the use of oil paints, Mary specializes in creating lively and vivid imagery referencing the outside world. Her love and appreciation for the natural world is essential, and she strives to recreate scenes that embody a sense of both comfort and bewilderment.
Mary was born and raised in Nashville, Georgia, and developed an interest for art at an early age. While pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Valdosta State University, she took an immediate liking to oil paints. She then combined her admiration for nature with her passion of oil painting, and began expressing places and perspectives that provide peace and familiarity. Mary has participated in juried exhibitions across the US such as CCHA “Art at the Mill,” TPCAC “Art of Being Southern,” and Randy Higbee Gallery 8th Annual “6’ Squared Exhibition.” Mary continues her endeavors as a full-time studio artist.
I am an oil painter. My current work explores primarily landscapes and I gravitate towards traditional compositions and subjects. I typically start a piece by photographing natural scenery that I find pleasing. The initial photography stage is integral to my process. When making reference photos I am attracted to the little things in nature that go unnoticed. I am inspired by the way the evening glow lights up a tree and casts a shadow on the ground. I am amazed by how the blue sky reflects in a pond and is interrupted only by small ripples. While I love traveling to spectacular locations to take reference photos I find I don’t need to. I spend a lot of time traveling back roads and most of my subjects are scenes I find on my way to school or home, during the glow of dawn and dusk. These places I’ve driven by over and over often have new surprises for me, as the seasons and light of a day change the smallest details.
When I paint I typically work in 3 stages. The first stage is a rough sketch in paint. It is a general outline of composition and color. This is when I block in shapes and relationships. The second stage is when I get more in depth with my subject, adding a variety of hues, getting specific with details and figuring out where the light goes. In this stage I routinely push the values past what is there in the reference, to see how far I can push the light and dark, how much I can exaggerate the parts I find appealing and bring the scene to life. The third stage is where I refine the details, and bring back my exaggerations, searching for a nice balance between shadow and light, hard and soft, focal point and background.
For me, the hardest part of painting is knowing when to stop working on a piece. There seems always to be more I’d like to do, but there is a point in each painting where it begins to be overworked and I lose my love for it. My biggest challenge is to step back from the work and stop while it feels good, to know when my time with the work is up.
Valdosta State University, Bachelors of Fine Arts
Awards and Acknowledgements
2016 Honorable Mention at South West Ga Student Competition – Albany, Ga
2017 2nd Place at Valdosta State University Student Competition – Valdosta, Ga
2017 Outstanding B.F.A. – Art Student – Valdosta State University – Valdosta, Ga
2017 2nd Place at South West Ga Student Competition – Albany, Ga
2018 Harley Langdale Purchase Award – Valdosta, Ga
2018 Outstanding B.F.A. – Art Student – Valdosta State University – Valdosta, Ga
2015-16 Assistant Art Teacher, Boys and Girls Club – Valdosta, Ga
2017 Demonstration for Lowndes High School - Valdosta, Ga
2017 Demonstration at Plough Gallery – Tifton, Ga
2018 Demonstration for Lowndes High School – Valdosta, Ga
2016 Valdosta State University Student Competition – Valdosta, Ga
2016 South West Ga Student Competition – Albany, Ga
2017 Valdosta State University Student Competition – Valdosta, Ga
2017 Turner Center for the Arts “Spring into Art” – Valdosta, Ga
2017 CCHA Spring “Art at the Mill” – Millwood, Va
2017 The Georgia Artists Exhibition – Moultrie, Ga
2017 CCHA Fall “Art at the Mill” – Millwood, Va
2017 TPCAC “The Art of Being Southern” – Troy, Alabama
2017 Nashville Harvest Festival Art Exhibit – Nashville, Ga
2017 South West Ga Student Competition – Albany, Ga
2017 Turner Center for the Arts “Boundless” – Valdosta, Ga
2017 Randy Higbee Gallery, “6” Squared Exhibition” – Costa Mesa, Ca
2017 Plough Gallery “4th Annual Holiday Celebration” – Tifton, Ga
2018 Glave Kocen Gallery, 11th Annual “Size Doesn’t Matter” – Richmond, Va
2018 VSU Martha G. Smart Gallery solo show – Valdosta, Ga
2018 Richeson Gallery “Richeson75 Small Works” – Kimberly, WI
2018 Valdosta State University Student Competition – Valdosta, Ga
2018 CCHA Spring “Art at the Mill” – Millwood, Va
2018 Turner Center for the Arts “Spring into Art” – Valdosta, Ga
2018 FCCA “Power of Red” – Fredricksburg, Va