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Updated: Jan 17, 2023

You have spent lots of time planning and selecting the perfect furnishings for your home, from pillows and lighting to the correct wood tone on your side tables. Somehow it still feels incomplete and maybe even lacking personality- becoming somewhat of a showroom instead of reflecting the true you. Any style can be enhanced by art, and it is relatively inexpensive and easy to do.

How do you want that room to feel? Will it be spicy and hot like your last Mexican vacation? Or calm and relaxed- full of white noise, a place you can relax after a busy and sometimes chaotic day. Your space can benefit from the healing energy of art, which will enable you to align yourself with the experience you desire.

It is even possible to create different experiences with the same art in different styles of rooms. These two images of the same paintings are used in vastly different spaces. Art can be more versatile than you realize. For instance, there are times when contemporary design can feel cold and too hard-edged. When a painting contains natural and warm subject matter it can ground the hard edges in other areas of the room instantly creating a sense of comfort.

On the other hand, this is a very formal room that has benefited from mother nature's atmosphere in the paintings. Taking a virtual step outside and breathing in the fresh air helps you relax a bit.

It is always possible to hang an impressive piece over a fireplace or a sofa. If there is an empty space in your home, you can also use a statement piece of art to brighten it up with color or interest. Art can even be used as a focal point when surrounded with other objects such as in this room below.

Adding a small painting to a collection of objects can make the room more interesting, and make you notice the piece as soon as you walk in. The workhorses of the room, paintings, help with a variety of tasks such as enhancing the colors from your accent wall or area rug to unify the room.

What a wonderful idea it is to consider hanging multiple paintings from one artist throughout your house. It will become instantly cohesive while carrying the same style or emotion from room to room. Consider purchasing from beginning artists and become a collector of an emerging talent. It will encourage them and you can get a great deal!

"Remember every artist was first an amateur."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Setting an emotional mood with art is very effective. In the bedroom, choose art pieces that will give you calm reflection as it's the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning. It can remove you from the outside noise and make your room feel like a retreat.

Don't forget, art is not just for your home. In the office it can change the temperature of the room to reflect your personality. It's a great way to get inspired for the day and be welcoming to others. Consider a large piece of art even if it is in a small room. A larger painting will make it feel less cluttered than several smaller ones and it will make the room itself appear larger. And while we are addressing the harder places to furnish, an awkward wall or unsymmetrical space can be visually diminished with an attention-grabbing painting.

And finally, you don't have to hang! This is the top of a chest in my family room. It doesn't matter whether your artwork is related or not, it can be used in a collection. A high window behind the chest allowed me to prop the painting up in this corner that badly needed some color. Boom, instant texture and interest. Sometimes being eclectic will add a sense of surprise or even playfulness to an otherwise static design.

These guidelines are just suggestions, because after all, anything goes in the world of art. Discovering your style and becoming familiar with your favorite artists is easy with social media, such as Pinterest. In connection with that, I invite you to take a look at my website. I have several interesting paintings that have been reviewed very well. And, as always, like and subscribe!

Love, Mary

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Recently I was asked to participate in a benefit for a young man who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He has a young family and it has really hit everyone hard. A wonderful member of his family Vickie Corbett has organized an auction to help keep the family solvent. When I say these people are horse people, these guys are Horse to the Max. The auction started out as a Stallion Breeding Auction with top of the line stallions but morphed into offering custom tack, bits, equine sports therapies, weanling colts, vacations, longhorn cattle and many more things including custom art and jewelry.

Vickie, in order to give back to the donors graciously offered to advertise our services to patrons of the auction. For instance in my case the bidders bid on the opportunity to have me paint a commission especially for them. Being somewhat of an abstract artist I wondered how my work would be received by a group so seeped in western culture, but I wanted to help.

It's not like I didn't appreciate their world, I think "horsie" was my first word. My daddy was a cowboy and grew up working horses in West Texas, and of course I adored my daddy. My first pictures I ever drew were of his horses with long flowing rainbow manes and tails. I wore my parents down and in junior high I got my first horse and I kept drawing the whole time. Family life took over and my horses and art went by the wayside.

Its been many years since I've attempted to paint that magnificent animal. I knew to remain true to my style I needed to use colors not necessarily related to true coloring. My friend Vicki sent me a candid shot of Jackie her favorite amber eyed brood mare. She caught her grazing in the pasture , unbrushed with hay in her mane- which I loved. Jackie is a broodmare from their award winning Corbett Creek Ranch which is a producer of champion horses. I painted Jackie in Prussian blue and Nickel Azo gold, Benzimidazolone yellow and Quin magenta. The background was a simple abstract in those colors as to not take away from the focal point. What fun! I remembered the muscles, the nooks and crannies, the shine patterns and the familiar proportions. It was all there from the hard to get to parts of my old tired brain!

This painting has renewed my love for the animal and the art surrounding it. I hope whoever commissions my work will be blown away by the emotion that I feel when I relive those younger days.

If you would like to participate in this worthwile auction for Dusty Stanglin you can see all 68 items donated at For more information call Vickie Corbitt (580)775-5989. The auction starts Dec 15,2022 - 8:00 am CST.

As always thank you for reading and make sure and like and subscribe to my website!

Happy Trails,


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"Just Us"

Mary Rylant Batson

I recently asked my readers to make a comparison between two paintings I did at the beach. Thank you everyone who contributed! One was an abstract that had pretty good composition, values, and clarity. By an artist's point of view it was a better painting but this painting above won by a landslide . The responses that were given helped me see that it was more relatable. Honestly, the reason it was relatable is because it had people in it.

I learned these lessons:

  • Most viewers aren't artists and don't care about the rules of art. They only know what they like. That's not to say they don't know good art when they see it!

  • Putting figures in a picture brings the painting to life. Just a suggestion of a figure is needed to make the intent successful. All it calls for is a simplified figure- really just a few marks. The figures give the painting a focal point, and can portray movement and energy to an otherwise static painting.

  • Figures give a sense of scale. With them you can see that the view of the ocean is vast. It helps you to interpret the ground the figures are standing on, and even what time of day it is by their shadows.

  • Figures give a sense of depth. Because these figures are walking away from you it helps point your focus toward the distant landscape.

  • Figures help tell a story. Several viewers were able to put themselves in this painting. That gives the viewer an emotional viewpoint. I even had one sweet person say she saw my husband and I.

In drawing figures there are a few things to remember. Since figure drawing is really just about drawing shapes remember to simplify.

It is important to pay attention to the size of the head on the shoulders. The smaller the head the more stylized it is and works well for street scenes. Avoid making the common mistake of making the head too big for the body. Avoid facial features the further away they are. If you start to paint features it becomes a portrait rather than a landscape!

When your figures are in the distance their edges become soft and begin to fade into the landscape. This is because of atmospheric perspective . If you would like to know more on this phenomenon read last weeks blog ' Four Ways to Use Atmospheric Perspective'. Realize If the figures are too crisp they will look like stickers stuck on the painting. So, The further away they are they become one dimensional, and have a flat perspective.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

This might just look like a lot of hieroglyphics to you but these were some figures I practiced in my journal several years ago. They are a mixture on two schools of thought in figure drawing.

The first to discuss is the carrot method. Draw a carrot pointing down with a dot on top to make a traditional man figure. Female figures tend to be wider in the middle like the MW method drawn mostly on the right hand page. The M is drawn on top to make the shoulders and arms, the W is drawn just underneath- touching to make the legs. Use one of these methods or many others and figure drawing becomes simple. The rule of thumb is men's shoulders are broader and women's rears are wider. Huh, Imagine that!

One of the hardest things to do is draw figures into an already painted landscape. The scale can cause real problems and it's hard to touch up a finished landscape if a figure is drawn too small or large. Lets say you know the size of the figure you want to paint One trick is to cut out a square the size of your figure and lay it on your painting in different places. You can see where the figure should be to make it in scale with the trees, sky, etcetera. Then you will be able to picture it in your painting. You will see the figure gets larger in perspective as you move it back into the painting.

Art touches us all on an emotional or intellectual level. It is a reflection of the artist's life experiences and their unique response to the world. In my unscientific survey 95% of the respondents preferred the picture with the people. Maybe it is because it allows him or her to put themselves in the story of the painting.

Thank you so much for reading my blog once again. n I hope you found this Facebook and Instagram response as interesting as I did! Please sign up for the latest at:

Onward we go,


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