"The Cycle of Lilies" by Mary Pettis

“The Cycle of Lilies”

29 x 48 in.

oil on linen


In her work, Mary Pettis, Expressive Realist, draws heavily upon her classical training and Russian influence. Mary has been juried into and won awards in national and international painting events and exhibitions from New York City to Scottsdale and Maui to Barcelona.

Her art has taken her to the far corners of the world: China, Russia, and much of Europe. She has exhibited widely, including the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and collectors of her work reach across the globe. Mary is recognized as an eloquent and respected speaker, teacher and mentor, teaching in the Upper Midwest, Tuscany, Venice, France, and Hawaii.

Early in her career, Mary studied with Hungarian painter Bela Petheo; Richard Lack, at Atelier Lack; and Daniel Graves, who later became the founder of the Florence Academy of Art. In the 1990s, Jim Wilcox introduced her to the “wet-in-wet” plein air approach and she moved her studio outdoors. Over the years she continued her studies with various teachers including Zhang Wen Xin, Kevin MacPherson, Jove Wang, and James Shoop.

Now she divides her time equally between the studio and outdoors. Her decades of training and the experiences from hundreds of plein air paintings are a catalyst for a symbolic visual language of expression that celebrates the beauty, dignity and worth of this world and its inhabitants.

Currently, she is preparing for a solo exhibition, titled “Beyond the Surface”, at Orchestra Hall in tandem with performances by the world-class Minnesota Orchestra. In this show, Mary invokes the works and ethos of Debussy to illustrate a cross-media celebration of new artistic movements and evolving techniques. Her paintings, built around Debussy’s “Images for Orchestra” (being performed that weekend), exemplifies a large, ground-breaking movement in contemporary art: Expressive Realism. This movement is a fusion between the purest elements of art (such as color, texture, and balance) and familiar, nostalgic subjects.

Mary and her husband Randy live along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Minnesota. Her work, along with information on galleries, exhibitions, and workshops can be found on her website at www.marypettis.com.

There is a Spirit, a soulfulness, a connectedness within and among everything that light can touch. I love the inherent beauty and language of paint itself, and to share my impressions of this elegant world.” ~Mary Pettis


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