The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is well known for its beautiful vistas, gentle cascading falls, and lush green landscapes over a stretch of 255 miles between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Mary Pettis has called a small town on the Saint Croix River home for many years, and her latest paintings are on view soon.
With just one stoplight, Taylors Falls, Minnesota, is the type of small, quiet town perfect for a plein air painter to flourish, especially when that town is nestled right along a beautiful river. Mary Pettis has an established reputation built on her stunning representations of the Saint Croix River region as well as other parts of the country, and her latest oils are on view beginning tomorrow, August 7, at the Jaques Art Center in Aitkin, Minnesota.
Drawing heavily from her classical training and Russian influence, Pettis’s paintings have a stillness that captures well those moments when we stumble upon a pristine and untouched space in nature. “Time Stands Still” is a beautiful example of this character. In the piece, we find a reflective pool or pond adorned with floating lily pads and driftwood. The brilliant white of the lilies contrasts sharply with the dark waters and gives the eye points of detailed focus. The bottom right corner of the linen is given over to a swath of yellow and orange grasses, helping viewers solidify their footing within the scene and observed space. Although tightly cropped and focused toward the ground and water, the reflections in the water allow the viewer to pick out hints of the sky, which opens the scene and provides comfort.

Mary Pettis, “Autumn Poetry,” oil on linen, 30 x 40 in. Mary Pettis 2015

“Autumn Poetry” is another breathtaking painting, capturing the viewer immediately with large areas of vibrant — almost neon — reds as they sweep diagonally across the linen. There is a sharpness and violence to the application of the red that is balanced by a much softer touch to the trees and sky in the distance. The exhibition should leave audiences pleased, if not booking their next trip to the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway.
Mary Pettis’s “Solo Exhibition” opens on August 7 and will run through September 19.
To learn more, visit Mary Pettis’s website.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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