ChromaLuxe is the leader in aluminum for a variety of industries. The thick gauge of aluminum and the brilliance of their color matching makes for a perfect vehicle for my flower and garden prints.
I tested many brands from various vendors and ChromaLuxe proved to offer the superior product for my work. Prints of my original paintings have been hanging in my garden for over 5 years now. They have withstood winter snow and summer heat. I wouldn’t sell something I didn’t trust.
As an appreciation for my testing and our collaboration ChromaLuxe created and distributed a full-color brochure of my Artwork on their exterior grade aluminum.
As a person involved in creating art for the past many years, the opportunities and revelations keep coming.
Mary Ahern – Outdoor Art Show with the Floral Park Art League 1975
The art world has changed but so have I. I’m more self-assured about my work than I was at the beginning. Through a lifetime of hard work, bumps, skids, rashes, pain, zigs and zags I’ve developed the thick skin needed to have confidence in my skills as an artist and as a person running a small business selling and showing my art.
We all know the tremendous changes that the internet and social media have introduced into the careers of artists. We are now independent enough to take our careers into our own hands rather than rely on galleries as the only outlet to selling or placing our work. I’m sure that for some artists, galleries are the central force in placing their work in prestigious collections and museums. For most of us though, galleries are not the only answer any longer.
Gallery representation isn’t for everyone
One of the obstacles for me is that I have 3 distinct bodies of work in which I like to create & promote. One is digital, one is in traditional mediums and the third is a combination of both. Even though they all focus on the same subject matter, flower and gardens, they all have very distinctive looks. I love the freedom that being independent affords me so I can create in whichever medium I choose.
As a lifetime entrepreneur the thought of having a gallery owner tell me what they want and when they want it is abhorrent to me. There is a benefit to being a working artist for many, many decades. I have the emotional and financial security to remain an independent artist. Having spent my former career in sales and marketing and also having had my own graphic design business for decades, I have the skills that many artists don’t possess.
I’m committed to creating my own art styles, exploring new mediums, enjoying the process of experimentation. But I’m just as committed to running my art business. Because of the tools now available through technology, the internet and social media I can do that myself at an affordable price. It’s a game-changer.
Recently I was asked what advice would I would give to my 21-year-old self on how to get started and keep motivated?
I can’t speak to my 21-year-old self since I was married and the mother of a baby boy by then. I didn’t put myself through college until my youngest went to nursery school. By the time I graduated from art school I was a 32-year-old single parent. A career was foremost on my mind in order to support my sons but I knew that I needed to focus on the arts in some way to follow my calling. By creative thinking & sheer guts, I got myself into the nascent computer graphics industry in the early 1980’s as a salesperson who had to use and demonstrate graphic devices and electronic paint systems. This gave me a toe-hold into the conversation of creative arts.
Critical as well was that I always maintained a working studio in my home, even sitting in it & studying art history books when I was too stressed to pick up a brush. Because I kept my focus on the artist part of me more than the technologist part of me I was able to transition into creating my own art more often as my sons grew up and life became easier. Maintaining this tangential association with the creative arts was the reason I’ve been able to now focus 100% of my effort into my artwork.
Keeping motivated isn’t difficult when you’ve burned with the desire to create your whole life. What does help however is having artist friends and mentors who understand the struggles to carve out the time to express yourself in an ever-busy world. Accountability partners help me to keep the balance needed to make room for the creation of art and the running of an art business. Either one of those activities is all-consuming but without one you don’t need the other.
Mary Ahern giving an Artist Talk at The Firefly Artists Gallery in December 2019.
Selecting art to buy online can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. In my Art Shop I’ve added a few features to help you take the guesswork out of what art and what size will work in your space and what will not. It’s called Live Preview AR (for Augmented Reality.)
Using your own mobile device you can select a print from any of my collections of landscapes, floral portraits, still lifes and designer prints and view it through your on-board camera projected onto your wall space. You can resize the image of the print until you find that perfect sweet spot that will work for you in your own particular setting.
You can easily select different prints to view. Will a landscape style work or perhaps a square print? Choose prints to view either by clicking directly on their image in the category library or just press the left or right arrow to view the next in line. All the available sizes for each print are quickly and easily seen by you in the pull down menu right at your fingertips.
To exit Augmented Reality is easy and brings you right to the ordering page. You have an array of options in which to choose. What surface do you want for your print? Canvas, fine art paper, aluminum or acrylic? Once you decide the size and treatment you might consider a frame or matting depending on your choice of materials.
Now that your selection is made just click to see your shopping cart and the rest is a breeze. The hardest part will be anticipating the arrival of your very own piece of Art, custom chosen by you for your own special place. Enjoy!
I have always dreamed about having my Art displayed outside around my garden and outdoor living spaces. And now the technology has caught up with my dream. I have my original paintings printed under heat & pressure to create these very vibrant aluminum prints. They can have a glossy or matte finish to them and I haven’t any particular preference since I like them all.
Sunflowers and Purple Asters aluminum print at the entrance to the home of one of my collectors.
The weather-resistant aluminum which I’ve selected for my Art is thick and durable enough to survive and flourish in my garden throughout the 4 seasons and has been doing so since 2014. Because I wanted to make sure that the quality was right and the color lasted I tested many fabricators before offering the metal prints to my collectors.
Sometimes I frame the pieces in simple aluminum frames but most often I just hang them outside, on the trees, on the fences and on the walls. What a delight to look out of my office and look at art instead of looking at my garage & thinking it needs powerwashing! Even better is looking out in a snow storm and seeing the brilliant color of summer flowers breaking through the white and gray backdrop.
When the birds decide to decorate the art, I just squirt the pieces with some window cleaner and using a paper towel I wipe them clean again. No problem.
The aluminum makes the colors pop whether they’re on a matte or glossy finish. Though these prints can be hung outdoors many of my collectors buy them for inside their homes. Either way, it’s a unique decor addition whether inside or out.
A July summer event, featuring music, dance, poetry and over 30 artists displaying and selling their original work. Art show begins at 10am and festivities begin at 12pm. Free admission and a fun day for the entire family. Hours are 10am to 5pm.
Join us for another exciting event in the picturesque Village of Northport, NY. This multi-disciplinary annual event is held in the Village Park at the foot of main street surrounded by the lush tableau of water, boats, trees, playgrounds and the old time Village feel of another, calmer and genteel era.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Professor Louis Finkelstein, the Art Department Chairman abruptly walked out on me at my senior thesis show when I mentioned that I was about to be a single mom declaring it to be impossible that I could also be an Artist. He previously had offered to sponsor me to the notable, Robert Pincus-Witten for a Whitney Museum Graduate Fellowship program but suddenly I was anathema. That event took my breath away for quite some time until I began to gather the pieces of me that felt flayed and strewn to the wind.
So what did I do to salvage my heart and soul? Since 4 years of art school didn’t train me for anything remotely connected with making a living, I knew I needed more education. I also found out that if you worked at a college your tuition was free. So I made a list of colleges I wanted to attend & found a job in the career services office at Barnard College. During my lunch hours, I attended computer programming classes at Columbia School of Engineering. Going from such intense right brain to left brain work was so difficult it often physically hurt.
Barnard at the time was a bastion of feminism and my boss, Martha Green guided me and untold numbers of other women into successful and rewarding careers based upon skills which, I for one did not know I had. She recognized in me untapped horizons and restored my confidence.
Mary Ahern demonstrating the Chyron Chameleon electronic paint system 1986 at the Cablevision television studio in Woodbury New York
From the support and direction I received from the women surrounding me at Barnard, I launched my career into sales, because that’s where the money was, and computers, because that’s where the future was. I zig-zagged my career in computers over the years to capitalize on my Fine Arts degree by selling computer graphics equipment to the creative departments in the television broadcast and industries. My art helped me sell those systems.
So here I am, still painting, still an Artist, proud of having supported and raised my sons on my own. Now I work every day in my studio surrounded by the gardens I created that inspire my Art.
I kept my eyes and ears open and when one mentor slammed the door another mentor opened it for me so I could charge through. Success is the sweetest revenge. Thank you Martha!
The only way for me to efficiently prepare for any upcoming Lecture or Art Show exhibition is to create a checklist of items I need to complete to make a successful event. These contain Marketing items, preparing to show the Art, inventory items for sale & display and the advance staging & rehearsal.
For my latest upcoming Art Lecture at the Long Island Horticultural Society, I worked from this list if items. I really enjoy drawing lines through each task as I complete it so I can move on to the next.
The list is fluid & with each event I have to make adjustments but this is a fairly good outline to begin with.
Lecture To-Do List
Update my website
Write blog post
Write & send Press Release
Post event to Facebook
Post event to Fine Art America
Post event to HAC
Post event to NAC
Print price lists
Create & print handouts
Create Planting Fields paintings
Get portraits printed
Paint mixed media paintings
Inventory small prints for sale
Inventory matted prints for sale
Inventory note cards for sale
Collect show-&-tell items
Staging & Rehearsal
Update power point presentation
Stage easels with lighting
Stage & test presentation
From the Garden to the Wall- Lecture by the Artist, Mary Ahern
The aspect ratio of a painting is the relationship between the height and width of the finished piece. In painting the most common aspect ratio has been 3:4.
Dancing Iris Trio. Mixed Media Painting available in 30×40″ and 18×24″, Standard or Gallery Wrapped.
This means that for every 3 inches in the horizontal/vertical, there would be 4 inches in the other direction. An example would be a 30” by 40” painting. By reducing the size but maintaining the same 3:4 aspect ratio relationship you would have an18x24”, 12×16” or a 9×12” painting.
The aspect ratio remains the same regardless of whether an art work is hung in a horizontal or vertical direction.
This 4:3 aspect ratio is visually comfortable for most viewers and replicates the standard television format that was used until recently. With the advent of HD TV, the standards have changed to a longer screen and a 16:9 ratio is now the flat screen TV norm. This changes the shape or aspect ratio of the rectangle that is viewed by most people on a regular basis.
Pansy Field. Mixed Media Painting. Available in 24×36″, 20×30″ and 16×24″ Standard or Gallery Wrapped
This change in aspect ratio is also reflected in digital photography and in paintings. This new TV standard has increased the popularity of the longer 2:3 ratio. The new sizes in paintings would represent: 8×12”, 12×18”, 16×24”, 20×30”, 24×36”, 28×42” and 30×45”.
Framers use these standard sizes for many of their ready-made frames which is a cost saving to the Art Collector.
I create all my paintings in standard sizes so custom framing is not necessary
Here is a video which I originally created in July of 2013 of how I prepare prints for display and sale at outdoor art festivals .
I took these video clips in my studio as I prepared for the Northport Art in the Park hosted by the Northport Arts Coalition.
I used a Canon Power Shot SD3500 IS Digital ELPH, holding it in one hand and demonstrating with the other. I used the audio from the camera which is muffled at times since I put my finger over the microphone. I originally started with 18 minutes of video clips and brought it down to about 4:15.
I edited in iMovie with the end credits created in Photoshop.
Fun little project which I wish I’d given myself more time to perfect but there are always choices to be made. Time being the one thing I can’t seem to stretch.
“THE WORK OF FOUR EXTRAORDINARY ARTISTS EACH ONE FOCUSING ON THE UNIQUE AND VARIED WAYS THAT COLOR LIVES IN OUR LIVES”
– William Grabowski – Curator
March 26 – June 17, 2013 Art-trium Gallery. 25 Melville Park Rd, Melville NY 11747
Friday, April 5, 2013. 5:30 – 7:00 pm With music performance by Sally Shorrock and Friends
This Show is Sponsored by the Huntington Arts Council
SOME OF THE MIXED MEDIA PAINTINGS ON VIEW by the Artist, Mary Ahern
“Light Blue Iris in the Garden”
I grew these delightful light blue Iris germanica in my garden one year but they sadly haven’t come back with such beauty since. Iris borers and not enough sun perhaps. I solve this ephemeral behavior by painting the flowers from my garden. No pesticides, no fungicides, no weeding, no deadheading. They are in perfect condition all year round.
“Lilies in the Garden”
As a gardener and an Artist I’ve been able to combine both of these passions.Though my garden has been featured on various Garden Tours, I guarantee that it doesn’t look as good as the fantasy garden in this painting.
“Siberian Iris Trio”
A small patch of these Siberian Irises were in the garden when I bought my home in 1989. They are short lived during the season but very long lived over the years.
“Daylilies and Rudbeckia”
I paired this combination of flowers on my canvas for the their jovial and robust colors. Noticing their form, color and bloom time I transplanted them to create a seasonal vignette in my late summer garden as well.
“Conversation Piece Azalea”
These multi-colored flowers all bloom on the same shrub in my garden collection. Another nice thing about this cultivar is that it blooms a bit later than other Azaleas, thereby extended the colorful season.
MY ART BLOG
I wrote an article on my Art Blog recently describing how subconsciously I was influenced by the famous Matisse painting, “The Dance.”
Studying Art History for decades seeps into your creative mind and emerges in ways that you don’t expect. Though I majored in Art in college, it’s the years of continuing pursuit that really make the subtle and not so subtle differences in an Artist’s work.
MY ARTIST STATEMENT
My Art is driven by the pursuit of multiple passions. In my garden I grow the delicate & ephemeral models which are the subjects of my paintings. I transform them through a complex series of digital technologies and traditional mediums.
I have a degree in horticulture, a degree in Fine Arts and my entire career has been spent in Digital Imaging technologies. These are the tools I use to create my Art.
Creating and reinventing my gardens larger than life size demonstrates the profound importance they play in my own personal centering.
Rose Montage has 5 individual digital paintings of Roses. Framed size is 8 x 39.5″
This is the month for the annual silent art auction fundraiser in support of the Huntington Arts Council’s exhibition program at the Main Street Petite Gallery and Art-trium Gallery in Melville.
November 9 – November 30, 2012
Huntington Arts Council Petite Gallery
213 Main St.
Huntington NY 11743
Contact: Florence Dallari, Asst. Dir. 631-271-8423
Huntington Arts Council Website: http://www.huntingtonarts.org
This year I’ve donated my White Rose Montage to this worthy fund-raiser.
I designed this long 8″ x 39″ montage for all the folks who tell me they can’t buy my work since they don’t have anymore wall space. This piece fits nicely between windows or as an accent piece at the edge of a wall. It has 5 individual digital paintings of roses for all those rosarian collectors out there.
The holidays are coming and you can do two nice things for the price of one. Bid on this piece to help support the Huntington Arts Council and then give it as a gift to one of your special friends.
Curating an Art Show takes many steps and stages. The process begins with the organization sponsoring the event. They are responsible for setting the dates and timetables of the show, the selection of Artists and in this case, establishing and maintaining a cooperative working relationship with the owners of the hosting venue.
The organization that is sponsoring the Art Show decides if they are hosting a One-Person Art Show or a Group Exhibit and where the venue will be held. This information is included in their prospectus.
For the Art Show I’m having from August 28 through October 9th, 2012, I downloaded the prospectus from the Northport Arts Coalition (aka NAC) website here. Most organizations now offer their applications & information online.
In this case, I applied for a One-Person Show to be held over a 6-7 week period at the Wine Cellar on Main in downtown Northport NY. I was notified of my acceptance and given about a one-month lead time to prepare for the showing.
Normally the lead time for an opportunity for a large show like this is quite a bit longer but I was pleased with the opportunity to show my work so I quickly accepted their offer.
A view of my studio while staging for the Art Show
Depending on the organization the curating of the actual show is done either by a designated person within that group or the individual Artists whom they’ve selected for a show.
I usually have various paintings of mine in multiple group shows over a wide variety of time slots & locations so I keep comprehensive records of where my Art Work is allocated at any given time & where the work is scheduled to be shown.
I also know what work is in the process of being created & when the work will be available for the next showing.
Curating is many things. These include finding the venues, selecting the Artists, designing the show itself and creating and executing the marketing campaign.
So I applied and was accepted for a one-person Fine Art Show at the new Wine Cellar on Main in Northport NY from August 28 through October 8th, 2012. The acceptance email was the fun part & then the stress factor hit me within moments.
Yikes. I’m a curator now.
What paintings would I show? How many pieces of Art? What size paintings would look right. How would I stage the show hanging? And since it was such short notice, (one-month) how quickly could I pull this whole show together efficiently & still enjoy life?
Here’s what I did.
Site survey of the Wine Cellar on Main with my friend Greg Oleanik’s show in place.
Side wall of Greg Oleanik’s show at the Wine Cellar on Main
I took my point & shoot camera, pencil, paper & a sturdy metal measuring tape & scouted out the available show space. Luckily, my friend Greg Oleanik currently had a show hanging there so I was able to take snapshots of all his work hanging in place.
Mock-up of what size paintings I will need for my upcoming Art Show
Side wall mock-up for my Art Show planning
I measured the height & widths of all the available spaces within the room, keeping them sequentially numbered along with photos of each space. I spoke with the proprietor, Lindsay Ostrander & we discussed the fact that she had installed a hanging system with rails & rods so that I wouldn’t need to put nails in her walls. This info I took back to my studio & headed for the computer.
I imported the photos into Photoshop. I created a panorama of the interior hanging space with photos of Greg’s show. Then I made a mock-up of the walls & created placeholders for the different sizes of my own Artwork since I know what sizes of Art I generally work in.
With this in place I was able to count how many and what sizes of paintings I would need to have available to put into the Art Show.
I felt calmer already. Next step was planning on how much creating was ahead of me & what I could possibly hope to accomplish in such a short span of time while also leaving me time to publicize the show. I wanted to make sure I left enough time to share the news about the show with family, friends, and with all my past, present & future customers.
These are the creative and committed women aka “Commuting Women” who took part in the Delaware Canal Festival winning the “Most Beautiful” decorated canoe prize. These women took part in planting thousands of daffodil bulbs along the canal & other prominent locations this past spring.
I was pleased to donate my “Single Daffodil” artwork for use on their team T-Shirts. I applaud their energy, their commitment to the beautification of their community & their sense of humor. Kudos!
Friends of the Delaware Canal sporting their Yellow Daffodil shirts celebrating their planting of thousands of daffodil bulbs along the canal & other prominent Yardley locations.
This is a copy of a letter they sent when they donated their prize money winnings to The Friends of the Delaware Canal.
Friends of the Delaware Canal
The Locktender’s House
145 South Main St.
New Hope PA 18938
Enclosed is a check for $75.00 payable to the Friends of the Delaware Canal, representing the prize money the “Commuting Women” won for our “Most Beautiful” decorated canoe in the Yardley Boat Parade as part of the Delaware Canal Festival.
The award by the “Commuting Women” for “Most Beautiful” decorated canoe in the Yardley Boat Parade as part of the Delaware Canal Festival.
Our theme was “Thank You Bucks Beautiful,” celebrating and thanking the Bucks Beautiful organization for planting thousand of daffodil bulbs along the canal and in other prominent Yardley locations. When the daffodils all bloomed this spring, it was a spectacular sight!
Our group is comprised of “mature” women who commute to work in Philadelphia, either currently or in the past, on SEPTA Regional Rail trains. We had lots of fun planning and constructing our boat parade entry, and we are proud of our ingenuity and resourcefulness – using only items we already had on hand around the house. Lots of paper plates, muffin cups, skewers, and plastic tablecloths – as one young observer commented, “That’s a lot of arts and crafts.”
Along the way we made a new friend, Mary Ahern, from Northport NY who generously donated her daffodil art design to our matching parade-day T-shirts.
All in all, a fun and rewarding experience. Thanks for a great day – this is why we chose to live in the small towns along the Delaware Canal. We are happy to donate our prize winnings to the Friends of the Delaware Canal.
Virginia Hamby, Yardley
Dorothy Judd, Washington Crossing
Jeannette Leighton, Yardley
Mary Ahern’s “Single Yellow Daffodil which was used as the image for the Friends of the Delaware Canal T-shirts.