We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Neville and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
People often share how my paintings connects to emotions deep inside themselves. There is an awakening of something within. This experience seems to be deep and profound for the individual and is the substance for the “success” of my work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My artistic exploration is to try to bring into the open inner thoughts as a tactile expression of understanding life. I have always been interested in emotions and feelings and am inspired by other people’s hidden layers. The skeletons in the closet. What can’t be expressed out loud. Experiences that are kept buried deep inside, even from ourselves.
I jumped into making art around the time I turned 50. I am self-taught. After years of channeling my creativity to careers in fashion merchandising and interior design, I knew it was time for me to own it. Funny enough, it was through my daughter’s art class that this shift occurred. I was asked to teach the 2nd graders art and so I did. I then started taking a mixed media class once a week. When I was invited to have my first solo exhibit, I knew that I had found my lifetime career.
During those early years of painting, I questioned my legitimacy since I don’t have a formal degree in art. I now realize that all the careers, jobs and experiences were necessary steps to help me be my authentic artistic self. Painting gives me a unique voice and the freedom to be intuitive, gain self-awareness, have insights, and observe external perceptions without being literal but rather lyrical. My work continually evolves and every piece is a personal time stamp on my journey.
Almost 10 years later, I have had the privilege to meet and sell my work to people all over the world. To the person who says it’s too late to start something new. I can tell you that it is never too late to reach goals and take the first step on a new exploration when you keep an open mind and trust that there is no straight path to success. I feel blessed to be able to connect with people through doing something I love.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ojai is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Living here is like being in a lifestyle magazine spread. I encourage our beloved Ojai visitors to start out the day with a hike at one of the many trails in the Foothills. Shelf Road hike has terrific views of the entire Ojai valley. Next, it’s on to lunch at Hip Vegan, one of my favorite restaurants here. They have delicious salads, bowls and homemade chai. Which, either hot or cold, is one of the best. To enjoy Ojai’s late afternoon glow, we’d head out to either Tipple & Ramble for a glass of wine and charcuterie platter or maybe head down to Old Creek Winery with a picnic basket and sit outside on the comfortable sofas amongst the vines and drink their delicious wines.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Amy Schneider, My first art Teacher!
Deborah Lyon Photography