Mary Ann Davis: Color en Plein Air

NOAPS Davis Along Levee Road 14x18

“Along Levee Road” 14×18, Oil, Collection of the Artist.  This painting has been juried into the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit at the Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne Indiana.

The weather is about to change.  Storm clouds are beginning to hover, and it might rain.  In Mary Ann Davis’ painting we are enveloped by the atmosphere…the viewer can feel the dampness, smell the wet leaves, and hear the water rippling.  The artist has taken the scene and brought it to our senses.  She has distilled her colors to olives, slates, complementary oranges and blues, and a bit of rose.  The brightest orange has been placed exactly where the artist wanted to lead the viewer’s eye, and she skillfully carries us around the painting with subdued oranges, golds and pinks.  The colors delight the eye as the brighter colors are placed next to the neutrals to make them come alive.

nOAPS Davisbaspens 9 x 12   “Aspens”, 9×12, Oil, Collection of the Artist

Mary Ann was encouraged at an early age to pursue her art.  She attended Herron School of Art And Design at Indiana University where she earned a BFA.  She has pursued the path of a plein air painter, and has won national awards for her colorful and atmospheric paintings.  Early in her career she joined the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association, a group that offered her an opportunity to paint with others whose work she admired as well as providing valuable feedback on her own work.

NOAPS Davis stormy weather  “Stormy Weather” 14×18, Oil, Collection of the Artist

Many artists have inspired Davis, including Will Vawter, Frank Duveneck, Wayman Adams, William Merritt Chase, Edward Potthast and of course John Singer Sargent.  Contemporary artists continue to inspire her as well, such as James Richards, Marc Hanson, Lyn Asselta, Karen Margulis, and Eric Jacobsen.

NOAPS Davis Queen Anne in the Field  “Queen Anne in the Field”, 12×12, Collection of the Artist

Mary Ann is a pastel painter as well as an oil painter, and has also done outstanding work in that medium.  She paints not only landscapes, but still life and portraits as well.  She is most inspired by light and color, and infuses her work with a sense of atmosphere.  When painting in oil, she paints on cotton canvas mounted to masonite, and uses a simple palette of warm and cool: lemon and cadmium yellow, light red and quinacridone rose (also doubles as her warm violet), Kings and Ultramarine blue, and mineral violet.  Angled brushes are a new favorite, providing her with the ability to paint a variety of lines and edges.

NOAPS Davis morning light

“Morning Light”, 9×12, Oil, Mary Williams Gallery, Colorado

Her working process begins with a thumbnail, which allows her to work out the values and composition.  Most of her work is plein air, done in the alla prima style.

NOAPS Davis poppies  “Poppies” 16×12, Oil, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne IN

Mary Ann feels that the life and the journey of an artist is a great accomplishment in and of itself; she not only gets to paint but meets many great people.  She also knows that the best advice for artists is very simple and very difficult: miles on the brush.  “Paint as much as you can, there is no substitute…”

Mary Ann Davis is represented by Hoosier Salon Gallery in Indianapolis and New Harmony, Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, CO, and Sheldon Fine Arts in Naples, Florida.  To view more of her work, visit her website at

To view more of the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, visit, or on Facebook or Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

The 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit can also be seen at the Castle Gallery Fine Art, 1202 W. Wayne St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, phone: 260-426-6568.


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