Mary Beth Gaiarin became a painter 15 years ago, the day she realized that a vast chaotically arranged still life set-up by her teacher was not speaking to her. She took a small panel and focused on the cut half of one orange. She discovered a kaleidoscope of colors, shades, tones and tints, visible because of the intricacies of light and shadow that she never would have found if she had tackled that confusing set-up. She’s been enchanted by this discovery ever since.

When creating a composition, Mary Beth often elevates her subject to eye level and casts the lighting to create mood and drama. Using her brush or knife, she carves her subjects from the shadows with brilliant hues and shades. She maintains a tight intimate focus to draw the viewer in and strives for a balance of serenity and calm, but with a surprise of intense color. Her paintings can be contemplative and quiet or playful and spontaneous. She wants saturated, juicy color to dance out of the shadows. She paints with simple, meaningful strokes and uses texture and the weight of the paint to create movement and expression. With all her paintings, Mary Beth is seeking an intimacy and invitation that will call to and draw the viewer in from across the room. She enjoys exploring and interpreting the juxtaposition among objects in a traditionally arranged still life, but is also drawn to the architectural structure that comes from single subjects— such as a vase of flowers or strawberries in a green cardboard box. She is a happy yet restless artist. She feels that she can always learn, push harder, be bolder; it’s that glorious chase that keeps her coming to her studio every day. Lately she’s been working towards more knife work, lots of paint, and an ever more impressionistic approach.

Mary Beth is a resident of Old Town, Alexandria and is a juried artist member of the Torpedo Factory Artist Association and a member of the Art League. She teaches Still Life in Oil for the Art League. Mary Beth shares a studio with two other artists on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory, studio 322. During this time of pandemic, Mary Beth and her studio mates are keeping their studio open Thursday - Sunday.