“LandEscapes,” an exhibition of recent plein air and studio works by Mary K. Stahl, is featured during April at the Portola Art Gallery in Menlo Park. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 11 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm.
Intrigued and inspired by the effect of light in the natural landscape, Mary strives to capture this phenomenon in her pastel and oil paintings, many of which are produced en plein air. Her pastel landscapes, in particular, have been described as having a peaceful or “dreamy” quality that captivates viewers and lets them escape into the scene.
Mary earned her B.A. in art at West Liberty State College (now University) in West Virginia. As a young parent in the 1970s, she introduced children to art by teaching classes at Palo Alto’s Junior Museum and volunteering as coordinator of the children’s noontime art studio at Fairmeadow Elementary School in Palo Alto. She also worked as a special education aide, helping handicapped children learn through art.
Taking a lengthy detour from the art world, she joined SRI International to eventually become the manager of host and domain registrations for the Internet at the ARPA/DDN Network Information Center. Finally, after a stint at NASA Ames working on the NASA Network Information Center project and, subsequently, at Nominum in Redwood City doing technical documentation, web and graphic design, she returned to the world of fine art.
A signature member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, Mary’s work has been displayed at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, and the Butler Museum of Art in Youngstown, OH. She has participated in several plein air painting events, including the prestigious Carmel Art Festival where she was presented with the Emerging Artist award in 2011. More information about Mary and her work is available online.
Portola Art Gallery, located at the Allied Arts Guild on Arbor Rd. in Menlo Park, exhibits high quality, representational art by 17 award-winning Bay Area artists.
“Carson River” (12×18, pastel, 2015) is one of the featured paintings in Mary K. Stahl’s April exhibit, “LandEscapes,” at the Portola Art Gallery