Mary L. Dorrell Artists-in-Resident 2015

Artist Mary L. Dorrell

Mary L. Dorrell

Memory and heritage weave the fabric that provides a foundation of who I am as an artist. I have been compelled to create since a young child and instinctively followed this passion in many forms--my experience is wide and deep, ranging from Native Craft in the Lakota and Cherokee tradition to recording experience in handmade sketchbooks. I spent my early childhood in rural Missouri and moved to Chicago as a teenager. I pursued the arts in education, earning a Master's of Arts from National-Louis University, Naperville, IL with a focus on Philosophy, and earned several Certificates, including one in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Certificate in Fine Arts from The Art House, Chicago, IL. I exhibit widely in Chicago area galleries and am represented by The Art House, Chicago, IL. Like many, I have pursued my passion as a fine artist while raising and providing for a family--it is only through my complete understanding of myself as an artist that I have continued to trust my inner compass, forever steering me to create. In recent years my successes in exhibiting and earning a living as an artist have grown, and I am honored to have the good fortune to pursue art-making on a full time basis. My dream for 2015 was to be invited to participate in the Artist in Residency Program at Petrified Forest National Park and I am honored for this opportunity.

Midnight in Homer, Alaska, it is 24x36, Oil on Canvas
Midnight in Homer, Alaska

Mary L. Dorrell


I continue to be drawn to explore and creatively document wild places. I tell stories by trusting my instincts as I choose my language of creation: articulating mood and experience with color, line and shape. Drawing and painting my environment, memories and growth has been an integral part of my career as an artist. I am continuously captivated by the endurance, power and magic that lies in all of nature, from the sublime single leaf to the majesty of a panoramic horizon. Moved deeply by the elements of nature, I rely on my art to capture the transformative knowing that lies within all of nature.As I pause to breathe in the elements of the environment, and tune in to my senses, I am shifting from the analytic to the intuitive, to feel the one true presence in my core. To feel that beauty ignites my internal creative spirit, allowing an opening to the un-manifested to be accessed in my artwork. Much of my self-expression has been about conveying the mystical elements inherent in untouched nature. Once engaged in the process, I suspend the expectation of outcome, allowing me pure access to the moment. Submerged in the present, I trust my hand, my intuition, and my experience to express the deep connection I feel. Never is this more enriching than when I am surrounded by the wild places, the untouched sincerity of nature.

Last updated: March 23, 2015

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