Hello and welcome to a blog feature I call Nice to Meet You! From time to time I learn about some amazing artists out there who are working with my stamps and stencils and are creating some pretty fun and exciting projects. It’s always inspiring to see what others do with my designs. Sometimes they even introduce me to a new way of seeing the pattern or a new technique to try on my own. Today I’d like to introduce to you Mary Thoma:
Please introduce yourself to our readers:
My name is Mary Thoma. I am a native Oklahoman, making art in my own home in the small rural and diverse community of Spencer, Oklahoma. I am a recreational activities director at an adult day center and I am called on daily to use my creative energy. I consider myself an artist serving other artists living with dementia or other cognitive disorders. Many times, the artists I serve just don’t know they are artists until they are engaged in creative opportunities.
How do you make time to be creative?
I am an early riser, before the phone, TV, food or even coffee some mornings. 4AM many days I can usually get 3 good hours of standalone art time even on work days. There are mornings I barely have time to get my hands washed up before it’s time to run out the door. I get lost in “artistic flow” and the time just rockets by. Recently a Facebook follower asked me to illustrate a children’s book she had written so I will be adding illustration to my creative time as well.
What are some of your favorite n*Studio stamps / stencils?
How do you love to use them?
I usually stamp with acrylic paint, not ink so Nathalie’s foam stamp designs hold up well in that application. I love using the stencil designs with my abstract work and with texture paste for incorporation into collage work. The structure of n*Studio Designs are beautifully and perfectly repeated so I don’t have to reinvent or recreate these dynamic elements to add to my own work.
What is your favorite medium to work in?
Mixed Media, graphite, pastel pencils, markers, color pencils, acrylic paint, Marabu Art Sprays, Ink and spray inks, texture pastes, watercolors, and collage. My art combines representational work with abstraction and Nathalie’s designs add a structured accent to my compositions.
What inspires you to be creative?
I will say it’s hard to beat Creative Jump Start. I also start running through emails and social media, I listen to audio books about great artists, I watch You Tube documentary videos on art and artists, and also manufacturers’ and retailers’ demonstration videos. I am very blessed to have a job that calls on my creativity. I take art tools like stencils and stamps to work with me to help my Adult Day Center Participants create artwork.
Do you have a favorite artist?
Presently, I am studying the work of Francis Picabia. It’s likely I am just too fickle to name just one favorite artist. I find the mid-century modern artists awe inspiring and continue to be highly motivated to study them and their work.
How did you get into art-making?
I think it might be the same way I started breathing. I must make art, it is sustenance for my soul. My parents encouraged my talent. Around 1959, I watched an advertisement for a mail order art course and drew the subjects demonstrated from memory. My father said, “You didn’t do this, you traced it” I reacted viscerally to his accusation. He finally concluded I did the work. He and my mother provided me with art supplies. My mother was quick to take me to art exhibits. I saw Jackson Pollock’s work in person on a national tour in the 1960’s. Western art by Catlin, Remington and Russel were introduced via the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center right here in my home town. I was a smart kid, but, not a very good student. My public-school arts education kept me engaged academically sufficient to get me to graduation and into college with a major in fine arts. Otherwise you would be interviewing a high school dropout. I do not suffer “artist’s block” everything blank looks like a canvas to me. I am looking forward to working full time as an artist and teaching artist. I have my very understanding family to thank for my artistic encouragement, now that my parents are gone, I have my husband, siblings, children and friends to cheer me along on my artistic journey.
In three words, how does art-making make you feel?
Art-making, makes me feel like an “artistic living fountain” flowing deep and wide.
Thank you Mary for sharing your art and story with us! Stay tuned for more Nice to Meet You! posts to learn about other artists!