Mary Maxam: Soft Still Lifes and Landscapes

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Idaho native Mary Maxam draws inspiration from the scenery and gardens of the northwest. A graduate of Boise State University, Mary has studied in many professional workshops, and taught art herself for several years.

Using watercolor, acrylics and oil, Mary’s paintings are abstract responses to familiar subjects seen daily, combined with her own artistic discoveries which occur throughout her painting process.

In nearly all of her paintings Mary emphasizes one or two specific objects, first by painting them in bold detail, and then by creating an abstract haze of subdued color around them.

I see this especially in Sunflower Sky below. Two sunflowers stand at attention amidst a field of blurred wildflowers whose vague sense of reality mimic the clouded sky above. The softness in the rest of the painting gives the two sunflowers a fantastic sense of solidness, allowing them to vividly come alive.

Sunflower Sky

Mary takes her abstract style one step further in Morning Magic. Muted pinks, purples and oranges envelope the scene, making the fly fisher and his surroundings truly “pop!”

Morning Magic

It’s a breathtaking painting, and I can see the vast amount of work that painstakingly went into it layer by careful layer.

And last but not least, Nesting shows me just how cognizant Mary is of creating an interesting composition using even the simplest objects as a focal point.


Despite burying the bird’s nest below layers of greenery, the brilliant blue eggs and circular swirls of twigs inevitably draw me back to the nest. And even though this painting is almost entirely abstract, I quite enjoy it’s complexity of greens which contain shapely hints of leaves and branches.

Of course, the paintings above show just a glimpse of all the beautiful landscapes and still life paintings that you’ll see on Mary’s website. If you have some time today, I would highly recommend dropping by for a visit.


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