Mary Opatz Herges2021-03-04T14:53:35+00:00

Project Description

Mary’s art career began as a print maker. She received her Masters degree from St. Cloud State University and an MFA from Louisiana State University both in printmaking. Mary did much of her early work in various print shops and studios. Over time, becoming frustrated with the lack of immediacy and flow to the creative process when dealing with the technical processes of printing an etching or monotype, she turned to painting.

The experience of placing the paint directly onto the canvas and seeing the result immediately was refreshing. Upon studying the work of landscape painters and taking a variety of workshops it became apparent that the most important thing an artist can do is awaken an emotional response in the viewer. George Inness, the 19thCentury American landscape painter said that art must not appeal to one’s intellect, it must appeal to one’s emotions.

Mary paints landscapes because she feels the landscape is the perfect vehicle for expressing human emotion. The landscape has been used as a metaphor for the human condition for millennia. Think of a gathering storm, an overcast day, a walk on the sunny side of a street, or a ‘pink sky at night is a sailor’s delight.’ She feels that light is her most important ally and uses it to create environments that are inexplicable, withdrawn, unknowable. When things cannot clearly be seen they can often best be felt.

Oil painting allows Mary to achieve depth by layering with glazes and building color surfaces. She works with six or seven basic colors, which allows her to mix a full range of colors. She often has at least a little of each of these colors in every color which she creates harmony.

Mary’s landscapes often start from photographs she’s taken but rarely look anything like the original concept in the finished painting. The photograph gives Mary a point of reference and says that once the painting is off and running, the photo is discarded.

Mary’s studio is in a 140 year-old flatiron building downtown St. Cloud.