Maryann Lucas paints with a dual purpose: to become evermore skilled and masterful as an oil painter and to create works of art that steal the breath and silence the mind. To that end, she paints daily and remains teachable, a commitment she made to herself a few years ago when her daughters left for college.
Prior to that, Lucas painted part-time and worked on a few large pieces a year. Living and working in the Hamptons, with its beautiful ocean vistas, her paintings from that period are primarily figurative and feature children at play and families at the beach. Her countless family portraits are in private collections.
What excites Lucas the most, however, is what’s happening to her work now. She says painting daily and alla prima, or “all at once,” has freed her and changed her as an artist. The paralysis of perfectionism that used to take over when she worked on just a few large pieces per year is gone. With more joy in her heart, she literally steps out into the world with her easel to create plein aire landscapes and seascapes. She works directly from life and often in north light to capture the subtle nuances and beauty of light as it transforms the simplest of objects into visual delights.
“For me,” she says, “I know I am in the presence of something beautiful, when it arrests me, steals my breath, silences my mind, pushes out everything else and just draws me in. I trust ‘that.’ I use it to guide my hands as I arrange a still life set-up, or scan a landscape to determine where to set down my easel. Ultimately, ‘that’ is what drives me to paint another painting because as an artist, nothing is more pleasurable than feeling you’ve come so very close to capturing that thing that stopped you in the first place, and nothing drives you harder to make another painting than wanting to feel that again, only more.