Mary Bechtol has had a love affair with the arts ever since a third grade teacher in her native Oklahoma taught her to paint to music. “I can still do the demonstration to Old Man River,” she recalls fondly.
Mary studied art at West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas and has also had the good fortune to study with many “greats” in classes and private workshops. Watercolorist Stephan Kramer taught her how to adjust color temperature and Scott Burdick taught her to appreciate color value. Rick Howell, she says, “gave me the courage to do what I do.”
Mary paints as a way of expressing her personal views of the world around her. She paints primarily in oils. She is inspired by “Light. Light. Light.” and the way it plays on an object. She frequently paints in series. Once something stirs her imagination she finds it hard to say everything about the subject on one canvas. She used a limited palette of 4 or 5 colors and focuses on making each canvas predominately cool or warm. Even with a limited palette, Mary is able to create a rich rainbow of color in each piece.
Mary began selling her work almost by accident when she rented studio space in which to paint and be around other artists. She found, however, that she preferred to work in isolation but kept the studio as a place to hang her work rather than “stacking it in a closet”. Sales of her work soon followed. Some of her most avid collectors are other artists which Mary finds both affirming and complementary.
Mary has worked as a registered nurse and as a commodity and stock broker and raised a family of three daughters alongside her husband David, a large-animal veterinarian who is also an accomplished and published wildlife nature photographer. She is an avid bird-watcher so you will always find at least one bird in her landscape paintings. Mary and David live on a farm in Canyon, Texas.