10 Questions | Mary Lekoshere

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Have you always made art? Did you go to school for fine art or did you have other plans? 


A: I’ve never not been an artist, which I find is a very lucky thing—having a lifelong passion inseparable with whom you are. I started college at a tiny Bible school in Wisconsin. At the end of the first year, I didn’t feel it was the right path for me, so I returned home to Greenville and majored in Art. 

Q: Your typical subject matter consists of figurative and interior paintings. What draws you to paint these things?


A:  In any art medium, what I look for is Commentary on the Human Condition. Literature, movies, plays, etc. I deeply enjoy painting the human figure, but also humans in their environments—which has divulged (by receiving some good advice!) into painting merely the environment:) And their pets! 


Q: Where do you find your inspiration for your subject matter? Do you find images online, do the vignettes come from your mind or are they from photos of places and people you’ve taken?


A:  While I stay on the watch for subject matter around me, many of my inspirations start with images online. I’m visiting Crete this summer (!) and hope to come home with some fresh inspiration. 

I was classically trained in representational art, so I’m a big believer in using references. Leaning into the art elements, and loosing up, is a challenge I’m growing in. 


Q: Your life is full with four kids and all that entails…how do you find time to paint? Do you set studio hours or just grab any chance you get?


A:  Thankfully my family has always been very patient with being surrounded by art supplies. Even when we lived in a camper, there sometimes were oil paints on the tiny table. I find it absolutely necessary to keep my supplies out, since I cannot wait for the perfect painting moment, but need to squeeze it in whenever I can! 

Q: You work in oil, but have you ever tried your hadn’t at any other mediums or are you interested in exploring other ways of making art?


A: I work in watercolor for my illustrations, and would love to explore that medium again for representational art. I find it to be a tricky medium! I’m very interested in continuing to learn linocut/woodcut. I love that medium and think it works very well for narrative work.

Q: What colors excite you most  and why?


A: I admit to being rather taken in by trend. I’ve been enjoying the chartreuse phase that’s been going on. With my interiors, I like to paint spaces of color and pattern that I wouldn’t be willing to commit to, but can relish from afar. Édouard Vuillard is a continual inspiration for me, in color, pattern, technique, vibe, and subject matter. 


Q: Is there a time of day you find inspiration to flow more freely or do you have set times you plan to paint?


A: I can’t paint in the super-early morning. I’ve had innumerable plans to do so, but it just doesn’t suit me. I find that I’m most inspired to paint when I have to go do something else 😏 In my current life-phase, probably late morning-early afternoon is best, which lines up neatly with the twice-a-week campus-day hours for my kids. On home days, I actually can paint while my kids do school. It’s not as ideal, of course, but there’s a lot of tedious tasks in their lesson plans, where I don’t have to be directing their every moment. 


Q: When you are in the studio, do you prefer music, podcasts, silence or something else?


A: I depend heavily on podcasts, audiobooks, tv, or friends to keep me at work. I have to play tricks on myself to stay in my chair, and not get up and do all the other things. I have friends who come over and sit with me and talk while I work. That works the very best. Of course, I also need moments of contemplation, where I figure out problems with my work, but the bulk of the painting is *work*. 

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring artist?


A: I have so much advice! Let me break it down. 


1. Work. Don’t just look at art, and think about art, and post reels about art, actually work. 


2. Decide what you want to say, and try very hard to stick at it. That might mean turning down random acquaintances and friends asking for stuff that isn’t in your wheelhouse, and makes you put off painting. 


3. If you desire to sell work, create a focused body of it. It’s so easy to get fresh inspiration and veer off into a totally different subject matter or medium, but there’s plenty of time for that later. Stay focused! 


4. Look at good artwork. Soak in it. It will get inside your brain, and elements of it will come out in the best ways. 


5. Don’t wait for the right time or environment to get work done. Work when you’re tired, skip the dishes—they’ll get done eventually, painting won’t! So pick painting. Don’t be taken in by images online of artists making work-hours look pristine or sexy. Go look at actual studios. :) 


6. Your art is only as interesting as you are. So fill your soul up. Go experience things, see things, get your heart broken a couple of times. Listen to some good podcasts. READ.

Q: Is there something that you want your collectors and admirers to know about you and your process?


A: I’m growing as an artist. I want to get better, and push further, but I’m grateful that my work as it stands now is connecting to my viewers. Thank you for all your support! It takes an irrational amount of wind to keep my sails a-billowed, so thank you for your kind words along the way.


You can enjoy and collect Mary's work  through her artist page HERE.

16 Aiken St
Greenville, South Carolina 29611
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