maryirene Stevens

Artist Statement

As a native New Mexican, it is natural that the colors and shapes of the New Mexican landscape should become an integral part of my work.  Though I now live and paint in Berkeley, California, I am lucky to have lived among adobe walls and latillas, Mexican tiles, cobblestone streets, Navajo and Asian rugs.  All of these patterns and textures find their way into my work.

Creating art in some way or another has always been an essential part of my life.  Along with paint, I have explored a variety of media in my quest to find the one that works best for me.  After years of exploration I have come full circle and realize that my passion lies in painting.

After many years as a stained glass artist and craftsman, I attended California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco where I graduated with a degree in painting and drawing.

The beauty of the landscape served as my inspiration when I began as a painter.   As my study of art has progressed, I have found a new vocabulary in abstract art.  By synthesizing the colors and shapes derived from the landscape I am able to expand how to express myself artistically.

I have always been an admirer of Cezanne's work and philosophy.  He said that all representations of nature are made from a few basic shapes. My study and practice of the art and craft of stained glass  made a huge impact on my study of abstraction.  In making patterns for stained glass windows, one breaks down the elements of an image into a series of abstract shapes. Using the pattern-making techniques that are an essential part of stained glass design, I break down images of objects and landscapes into shapes and colors, only now I do it with paint.

The patterns and colors of nature usually serve as my initial inspiration.  Often I explore the same shapes over and over.  I use many layers of paint and textures and varied techniques and tools to get from the beginning of a painting to its ultimate resolution. In some paintings I use subtle differences in color and shape and texture; in others I use very marked differences.  As I continue to paint, my work continues to evolve.