Monday, November 26, 2012

My blog has moved!

While the full site is still in process, my blog has just moved to! be sure to subscribe and join my new site!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Savannah Summer, 20x24 Oil on Canvas...There was a day awhile back when I didn't feel like getting my fingers dirty with pastels. The kids were squirrelly, the baby wasn't "self-entertained," shall we say, but I wanted to do some art. I like working in most art media...except for oil paints. I steer clear of the slow drying, "have to wait" kind of stuff, and jump right to "I can finish fast if I want to" type of stuff (i.e. pastels!!!) But on this particular day, I thought, "What the heck, let's paint!" I sat on the floor with my canvas propped up, and started painting one of the beautiful trees near my sister's home in Savannah, using my pretty much unopened tubes of oil paint. Given the nature of that day, I ended up completing the piece more quickly than intended, with a baby on my lap (angled AWAY from wet paint!) and my son busily creating his own art on the floor next to me (a little too close to the painting for my comfort!). So it may not have been the most reflective, or the most tranquil painting experience, but hey, I PAINTED! IN OILS! This painting will be at the BAA Juried Show this weekend! Join us tonight for the reception, 5:00-8:00, at Christopher House Antiques near Pepper Place, downtown Birmingham.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ready to go...

All set up and ready to go for the Annual Mountain Brook Art Association Holiday Show. Join me this Friday, 4:00-8:00 for the opening reception at Brookwood Mall, hosted by Cocina! There are 80 artists with a huge variety of art for sale. My panels are towards the back next to the work of my great friend and awesome artist, Cecily Hill Lowe!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Upcoming Events

There are two great art events this week!
Join me at Christopher House Antiques this Thursday, Nov. 15th, 5:00-8:00 for the opening reception of the Birmingham Art Association 2012 Juried Show (3205 2nd Ave South, Birmingham, AL 35233) Christopher House will be open Friday and Sat. 10-5. There is plenty of parking across the street from Christopher House
This Friday opens the Annual Mountain Brook Art Association Holiday Show at Brookwood Village. November 16th come join us for the Opening Reception 4:00-8:00pm hosted my Cocina Superior. November 30th join us for our Grand Finale Party 5:00 - 8:00 pm hosted by Brio. The show will be open for the rest of November, and is a great place to shop for some unique Christmas gifts! I will have 2 panels with large and small pastel paintings.
My current website is still on the fritz! I am building a brand new site that will also include my blog, so stay tuned. Also, join my Facebook page for news and updates at Mary Liz Ingram Art !

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Layers of Life

Ah, the complexities of life. We all have a story, layered with triumphs, tears, mistakes, redemption, tragedies, success, joy and pain. Most of our stories are hidden behind our personas, whether they be smiling faces or bitter scowls; woven so tightly together that the layers are unseen, making up one image. These thoughts were on my mind as I created my newest piece, a 16x20 cotton boll in soft pastel. I begin my pieces with under layers of dark black followed by bright colors: turquoise, fuchsia, purple, bright green, gold:
I finish the piece with a unifying neutral, in this case white, bringing the layers together into a single image; no longer separate pieces of the story, but a complex whole...very much like the layers of life.
We cannot separate our stories into separate pieces, discarding some and clinging to others. All of our experiences unite to make us who we are, individuals with layers of story. To me, this is a good and beautiful part of living life; also, something to remember when we daily encounter our fellow human beings, with our myriad of emotions and reactions. We are all living a story. "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." website is still not functioning due to a server change. I am in process of building a brand new website centering on my new "POV" (see my earlier post!), "Pieces of the South." It should be up and running soon! It will include my blog on the homepage, so it will be nice and tidy, all in one place! Ah, technology...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mini Picasso

My husband just returned from Richmond and, as usual, brought the kids a "prize" from his trip. This time, I got a prize too! A magnetic Picasso finger puppet. Words can't describe how hilarious and amazing I think this little thing is. It cracks me up, and he is already my friend. I'm trying to decide if I should take him to work, to give me inspiration and a good laugh, or to leave him in my art room to watch me draw. I have to ask, "Who makes these things?!" but the thought that follows is, "This is AWESOME!!!" A few Picasso quotes to stir your thoughts: Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life... Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up... Action is the foundational key to all success... Computers are useless. They can only give you answers... Art is a lie that makes us realize truth... I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it... I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them... Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time... The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web... Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working... One must act in painting as in life, directly... Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar... The hidden harmony is better than the obvious... The older you get the stronger the wind gets - and it's always in your face... Painting is just another way of keeping a diary... The people who make art their business are mostly imposters...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eclectic Cool was a Success!

This past Friday was "The Eclectic Art Social Club's" second group show: "Eclectic Cool: the Colors of Calm." Let me pause and give you a little insight/explanation into our name...we are a group of 7 "young women," shall we say, who are serious about art, but we don't take ourselves to seriously. We began meeting several years ago to help each other in our art careers, but mostly ended up brunching, drinking coffee and having a good time together at each other's homes (hence "social club). We all have very different styles, from thoughtful and careful collage, to intricate and meaningful acrylic "drawings," to abstract acrylics, realistic and reflective oils, jewelry, get the idea. We dubbed our interesting mix "eclectic." For this show, we chose to link our styles with cool, calming colors. The show was upstairs at Parkside Bar in Avondale and it was amazing. We had a packed house from 4:30-9:00 and had a blast together, selling and enjoying art and community! Here are some images as our show began...
The crew: (left to right) Dariana Dervis, Mary Liz Ingram, Erin Hardin, Cecily Hill Lowe, Chi Roach
Cecily's large installation
Guests enjoying Chi's art
Dariana and Chi happy to open the show
Dariana's collage and jewelry, always soothing
Erin's beautiful oil paintings
Mary Liz's pastels, apologies for the bad lighting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eclectic Cool: The Colors of Calm

Birmingham area locals, come out to Parkside Bar in downtown Birmingham next Friday, October 19 for this great one night art show, featuring new works by Mary Liz Ingram, Dariana Dervis, Cecily Hill Lowe, Erin Hardin and Chi Roach. Our different subjects, styles and media will be unified by cool colors...the colors of calm: blues, greens, grays, purples. It will be a fun night, so bring your friends! Eclectic Cool: The Colors of Calm October 19 from 4:30-9:00pm Parkside Cafe & Bar, upstairs 4036 5th Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35222
The Old Water Tower, 15X21 Soft Pastel on card...Here's a peek into some of the new work for our show.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The avoidance of narcissism

Reflection, Quick Graphite Sketch... I gave a speech today. I dont like public speaking...not one bit. In seminary, I took all the classes but the preaching classes. I love teaching; I can lead a pastel demonstration for hours and actually get energy from "speaking while doing." But at a podium with a microphone? No thank you. I'll do it, I'll try my best, but I don't like it. Who does like public speaking anyway? Oh right, my HUSBAND, who happens to be really great at it. And there he sat, listening to my speech. He said I did well, but all day I've thought about it and made a mental fuss over all the things I wish I'd done better, things I meant to say. Then it hit me: its ok. It was a short 20 minutes in the lives of a few people, and it's not a big deal. I'm the only one even thinking about it anymore. Then the word "narcissism" drifted into my mind, and my great desire to avoid it. I let go of my speech-obsessing and realized the insignificance of a GOOD way. I know I can make a difference and my life matters...really, I mean it. But when it comes down to me eating pancakes for breakfast, if my toenails are painted, what I wore yesterday, or what I said in my little preschool welcome speech? Not a big deal. And to obsess over it is a shallow narcissism. Life is rich...spend time focusing on what matters...

Saturday, August 25, 2012


War Helicopter, oil pastel by my son, 4 years old...I love my kids. They crack my husband and I up with their schemes, and they love to copy us. One day it might be our little boy walking in with his chin tucked back, his chest puffed out, holding a pretend cup of coffee, saying in a deep voice "Hmph, I'm Dad. I'm going to work now." Or our daughter popping out of her room ("Ta da!") dressed exactly like me in jeans, blue T-shirt, bandana head band and flip flops, proclaiming herself "Mini Mom." Its funny and scary at the same time, watching these little copycats. Some of the things we do, I hope they don't copy: like when I have a meltdown after a long day, or when we get too busy to enjoy what is happening around us. Good and bad, children will absorb the way their parents live, interact and behave. They watch us, even when we don't know it. By watching me create art, my kids have learned to draw from life and from pictures. My son likes to use our iPhones and google "helicopters" and "garbage trucks" and draw the pictures he likes (I always have to "preview" the pictures is sadly amazing what images will pop up for something so simple!). Above is his "war helicopter," drawn from an image he found on Google. Below is our daughter's rendition of our back porch, with our bird feeders and sleeping dogs.
Back Porch, pencil sketch by my daughter, 6 years old

Website Malfunction

Sadly, my website is having some issues... the drop down menus are uncooperative and will be repaired soon! If you have any questions about my artwork, feel free to email me at

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Wash

A Wash, watercolor...Today I had many goals. From the beginning, things didn't start out well. At some point, between a dead car battery and three puny kids, I gave up. As I stood in the kitchen, staring out the window in realistic defeat, I thought "Today is a wash." Better to just say it, than let frustration build...nothing productive would easily be done. I thought of the storm earlier today, and felt like painting. Very rarely do I draw or paint something that doesn't look like something. But today was a day to watch the paint drip, to think of rain and just let the color run down the paper. As Dr. Seuss so aptly said in My Many Colored Days, "Gray Day...Everything is gray. I watch, but nothing moves today." Just a slow trickle of blue gray water. I found peace in recognizing the state of my day, and had no trouble pepping things up with some ice cream cones, because the threat of stress had been erased by being honest. Today was a wash, but it ended sweetly.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tidy Up

Shoes, Graphite Sketch... Sunday, a day of rest and renewal; a time to reset. Sundays have become a mental health day for me...I tidy up, listen to music, drink slow cups of coffee, think about life. I shake off the stress and rediscover the joy. I clean up the grime, and unearth the shine of love and life; breathe in fresh air, notice my surroundings, find peace in my place. It keeps me going, week after week. Today I drew my little boy's line of shoes: the epitome of tidiness in our house, since his room is always the messiest. "We are not afraid to look under the bed, or to wash the sheets; we know that life is messy. We know that somebody has to clean it up, and that only if it is cleaned up can we hope to start over, and get better." -Marsha Norman, quoted in Real Simple, May 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Pursuit of Perfection

Sky, Hipstamatic photo... Its frustrating, being human. I hate messing up, missing an important detail, dropping one of the many balls I am juggling, not being able to "do it all." I want to do everything perfectly. This is obviously unrealistic and impossible, yet I continue trying: Semper Reformata, the cry of the Protestant Reformation, "always reforming." I've been watching the Olympics everyday, marveling at the abilities of my fellow human beings. These people are intense. They aim for perfection. They break world records over and over, always improving, always running faster, jumping higher, lasting longer. Today was a day of defeat; instead of seeing my imperfections as opportunities to try harder, I saw them as failure. I'm only human. But as humans, we can be better. We can keep improving, rejoicing in our progress and the lessons learned along the way, rather than sitting unmoving in defeat. We will not be perfect, but we can be always reforming.