Words about the Art

"Come As You Are (for Vivienne)" Mary Kay Neumann, Watercolor 22x28

"Come As You Are (for Vivienne)" Mary Kay Neumann, Watercolor 22x28

T H E  F L O W E R S  A R E  B U R N I N G

Images in this gallery are referencing the effects of climate change. Using flowers as a metaphor for the power found in unexpected places, they represent beauty and strength that sustains us in the face of adversity. I see flowers and the life forms of a garden as a reflection of the human experience, reflectingthe struggle to survive.

Included in this gallery are collaborative paintings created in conjunction with Helen Klebesadel. They are part of our traveling climate justice exhibition The Flowers Are Burning: Incandescent Watercolors by Helen Klebesadel and Mary Kay Neumann.   



Paintings of tidepools are my emotional response to the rugged coast of Northern California. Seemingly fragile tidepools thrive in this beautiful yet harshly violent environment. Appearing as brilliant underwater flower gardens, I am drawn to the contrasts of the brutal sea meeting the shore, which is the natural environment of a healthy ocean. However, due to raising ocean temperatures, water acidification and pollution these critically important and beautiful environments are in crises. Tidepool life is at risk, and one devastating event that appeared in 2013 is SEASTAR WASTING DISEASE.

A matter of great urgency in our oceans is the disaster of seastars dying in the millions. Seastars were my inspiration to learn about and paint tidepools.  I hope it is not too late to bring them back from the brink. My "Tidepools in Peril Series"  are dedicated to the beauty that can be beheld in this delicate and imperiled ecosystem. I hope to inspire the viewer to cherish ocean life and work for the survival of our fragile natural world.

We can make a difference by supporting government policies that support science. Also needed is support for long-term ecosystem monitoring projects and the organizations that conduct them. One such project is at University of California Santa Cruz Rocky Intertidal Lab, who is studying the Seastar Wasting Disease. I donate 10% of my sales to this project. You may also donate to this very essential research project by going to the link above and designating your gift to "Seastar Wasting Research in the lab of Peter Raimondi".


E A R T H / S E A

I am inspired by the forests of the Wisconsin, red rock canyons and hoodoos of Utah, and the moonscapes of South Dakota's badlands, and fields of flowers under big, beautiful skies.  Similarly, the wild seascapes of the Pacific Coast and Great Lakes of the Midwest capture my heart.  Nature's drama and mystery speak to me in vivid color. Because of my passion for these beautiful places, I am moved to advocate for the changes that need to be made to protect and defend our natural world.  I often think of the chilling Joni Mitchell lyric "pave paradise and put up a parking lot". Let's make sure that isn't the legacy we leave future generations.


C O L L E C T E D   W O R K S

These galleries are an archive of some purchased paintings that are held in private, corporate and public collections.


L E A V E   I T   T O   T H E   P O E T S

Having said all of the above, I'm moved to quote one of my favorite German Expressionist artists:

"I have an inexplicable yearning to lay hold of what I see and feel and then to find the most direct expression possible for such experience. I only know there are things which neither the intellect nor words can grasp. Actually, if you want to know my honest opinion, I'm convinced you can't talk about art. At best, all you will have is a translation, a poetic paraphrase, and as for that I'll leave that to the poets."

-Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, 1914. His work was considered "degenerate" by the Nazi Regime and was forbidden to paint in 1941.