Perhaps because winter overstayed its welcome, we can’t get enough of flowers this spring. The cherry blossoms finally appeared, the forsythia is everywhere, and now we have the perfect exhibit we can enjoy after those flowers fade. Mary Margaret Pipkin’s large scale watercolors, capturing the beauty of explosive blooms and the textures of the forest, are now on view at the Athenaeum on Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria. (Photo at top, Mary Margaret in front of Peonies from the Garden.) Mary Margaret Pipkin, a native Texan, divides her time between a home in Arlington and a farm in the Shenandoah Valley. She is known for her large scale watercolors which, at the same time, seem quite intimate. Her paintings are truly a celebration of nature.
Pipkin has a BFA and MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and studied painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York as the recipient of a Max Beckmann Scholarship. “Watercolor involves a huge time commitment,” she said at a reception marking the opening of the Athenaeum exhibit on April 14. “It’s like putting a puzzle together. I work on small areas at a time. It’s just figuring out what to do first.” Because Pipkin’s large scale paintings can take three months to complete, long after the flowers have wilted, she works from photographs.
Walking into the Athenaeum is like walking into a beautiful garden with Mary Margaret’s colorful paintings lining the walls. Works featuring flowers are juxtaposed with others focusing on leaves and trees.
Blue Ridge – Afternoon Sun
Pipkin’s work has been seen in one-person shows across the country, including the U.S.Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach, the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, Wisconsin, The Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. Her work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Washington Post, The National Institutes of Health, and Fannie Mae Corporation.
On her website, Mary Margaret talks about her motivation to recreate nature in paintings: “Being in communion with nature can be a transcendent experience, lifting our hearts and spirits, taking us out of our own heads, our daily worries, and giving us a chance to feel at peace and at home in the world.”
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at 7:00 am and is filed under Playing Around, Washington DC.