by APRIL LEWIS Cascade A&E Feature Writer
Painter Mary Medrano, a recent transplant from San José, California, is looking forward to enjoying the four seasons in Central Oregon and living in the town recently recognized as Dog Town USA. Medrano’s artwork includes dog portraits, figurative and landscapes with inspiration from color, portraying “the slice of life.” In August, Medrano moved into her working studio in downtown Bend above Thump Coffee.
As an animal lover, she enjoys the process of doing commission work, using pet photographs and painting expressive, colorful portraits of the animal for the pet owner to enjoy. Her main medium is acrylic paints, working on 6×6 inch canvas, as well as in larger pieces. Her work in painting animals started from a 50/50 juried art show she participated in California, painting 50 pieces in 50 days on 6×6 inch canvas, with dogs as her main subject.
A graduate from Western Michigan University with a BA in Photography, Medrano’s background also includes a degree in graphic design and visual communications from University of California Santa Cruz. She is self taught in painting through attending various professional workshops; influences from her photography and graphic design experience also play an important role in her artwork. She is currently teaching a painting class held at her studio and will continue to offer based on demand.
“It is my way of giving back. It’s nice to help others to get going on it [painting], even through the frustrating parts,” said Medrano. She is a recent member of the Sagebrushers Art Society and enjoys the fellowship and being part of an art community that promotes artworks. Medrano had her first open studio during the October First Friday ArtWalk and was amazed at the support from the local community. “[There was] a huge turnout. I thought it was fabulous,” said Medrano.
Each morning in her studio, Medrano creates her “daily paintings” on 6×6 inch canvas “to stay fluent” and is busy with her Pet Portrait Commissions artwork. Her process starts with capturing photographs of subjects or landscape. She then will work with the image in Photoshop, to build composition and to play with color.
When Medrano decides on what she wants to illustrate she moves the image to her iPad, using grids from the software to overlay the photo. With grids also on her canvas she is able to plan out her painting, and likes the precision in her pet portraits, to capture the likeness of the animal. With her use of color and shading, Medrano effectively portrays the pet’s expression, the shaping and structure of the animal’s face.
Medrano plans on having her studio open and available for viewing during the First Friday ArtWalks and will continue to offer painting classes for all levels of experience. Originally from Michigan where she remembers the changes of the seasons, she will be following her camera to capture that “slice of life.”
Studio open Friday, November 2, 6-9pm. A portion of the Pet Portrait Commissions goes to the Humane Society of the United States.