Mary Van Deusen
live life creatively


1. Creative Crafters Journal:



2. Southampton Artists article:


The following article is written in honor of the talented art students who presented such excellent

 work at the Southampton Artists Association High School Art Competition & Exhibition: 


  As an art teacher there are all the technical lessons we guide our students through discovering:  lost and found edges, contours and gestures, impasto and washes, composition, color, chirascuro. What I want to focus on here are a couple of the lessons that fall out of the realm of technical but are just as important.

Prepare yourself for chance when you are creating art! I stress being receptive to the happy accident, using this example: I wanted to create a collage from photos I had taken on a trip to Tibet. First there was the technical problem of a brand new35mm camera that did not work properly (when I returned home Canon replaced a computer chip – too late for all the images lost on this extrodinary trip!) Faced with this delema, I manipulated them in Photoshop and discovered that the vaugeness of the images actually enhanced the concept I was looking to create. It was not the sense of particular individuals but rather the spirit of the endless multitudes on a holy trek.

 I prepared a canvas surface and attached the pictures and was just about to finish when I knocked over a jar of water and it splashed onto some of the photos. In horror I was sopping up the water only to make another discovery. The water spots actually enhanced the work and so I proceeded to pour water in other areas of the collage!

 I could have given up with the broken camera and once the water hit the photos I could have viewed it as ruined. So when stuff happens, as it often does, look at the possibilities. It’s not always about what you see in your mind’s eye when you start but being open to what happens as the creative process flows along!

 Another thing I remind my students about is not giving up so quick on pieces they start. After a few lines, the paper gets crumpled, then the next and the next. I encourage them to save some of these efforts, if for nothing else than for experiment. What if I put that line here, what if I tear this edge, what if I put some color here, what if….. If you’ve already decided it was garbage, what is there to loose in finding out the answer to some of these questions? It’s sometimes easier to be bold and free with these pieces you’ve rejected, than to try the ‘what if’ on something you’ve worked on for hours! Some of the ideas worked out on these experiment pages provide the impetus to reach for new heights with the ‘serious’ projects; to create a piece that is not merely technically refined but has that spark of creativity that commands attention!

 Look for inspiration in the unexpected and dare to experiment. Most of all, enjoy your creative efforts! 

                                                                                                          - Mary Van Deusen

"Tibetan pilgrimage" - mixed media on canvas - as refered to in above article



3. Montauk Pioneer: Whale Watching 

The following paintings were inspired by the whale watching trip:

"Eyes to Eye - due south of Montauk"