Mary Pritchard received her B.A in studio art from Mount Holyoke College and has Master’s degrees in both art and journalism. She was in-house corporate art curator for Ashland Oil, Inc., and has been a consultant to companies such as Nationwide Insurance Company and the New York Power Authority, advising on the acquisition, installation and conservation of art. She coordinated special events and traveling exhibitions for a variety of artists including internationally known landscape painter Wolf Kahn.
Following a career in education administration at the University of Delaware, she returned to painting fulltime. An award-winning pastel artist, she is known for her landscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as well as coastal Maine and rural Nova Scotia. A popular workshop instructor, she maintains a studio in historic Chestertown, MD. Galleries representing her work include Bishop’s Stock, Snow Hill, MD; Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD; and the Station Gallery, Greenville, DE.
As a landscape painter my challenge is to retain a “sense of place” while creating a new reality that exists on the two-dimensional surface. I have found pastel to be the ideal medium to meet this challenge. It offers directness, spontaneity and flexibility as well as a wonderful physicality—the feeling of applying beautiful pigments to paper and seeing layers of color emerge under my hand. Recently, I have discovered gouache as an excellent plein air medium and have been returning to oils to transform some of my favorite images into large scale paintings.
For several years I have concentrated on depicting the farms and rivers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. To me a working farmyard is an endless source of inspiration. One of my favorite themes is the “looking through” series in which an open barn door frames a view of a distant field—creating a landscape within a landscape. Reflections and grasses on the rivers and creeks near Chestertown inspire paintings that deal with the complexity of nature—tangled grasses and the interplay of light and water. Painting trips to Maine’s Schoodic Peninsula have provided a new challenge—portraying the dynamic interaction of the waves and rocks on Acadia National Park’s rugged coastline.