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Mary Ogle

Ojai, CA - United States

Mary Ogle - Fine Artist

Mary Ogle

Member Since: 07/05/2011

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I was born with a genetic condition that left me partially blind. I was unable to focus, and because I was so young and my eyes were changing so rapidly, they were unable to fit me with glasses. I spent the first six years of my life in a soft, yellowish, confusing blur - unable to understand what people were talking about when they described the world and all the things in it I could not see.
Knowing I was different from other people, but not really understanding how or why, I developed into a shy, withdrawn and anxious child with a deep burning need to do something with all these harsh, unsettling feelings. So I began to draw. It didn't seem to matter that I could only vaguely see the crayon in my hand - the simple act of moving it around on the paper, of creating and leaving a mark of some kind, calmed me and exhilarated me all at the same time.

Since I could not see clearly, I learned to draw my impressions of things - I drew the energy around them and what they meant to me, and the connection I felt to whatever my subject might be.
In first grade I was fitted with my first pair of glasses and the world changed completely and so abruptly I was almost literally thrown off balance. I was not familiar with these crisp and intimidating lines and angles rushing up at me. People didn't look the way they were supposed to - and there was so much information to process I was completely overwhelmed. I withdrew even further - creating elaborate dreamscapes inside my whirling, tumbling, shifting thoughts and pouring them onto whatever surface I could get a hold of. My later pictures may have more structure, but they are still built out of paint, pencil or computer with the same passionate intensity and need to give voice to my mind, heart and soul.

In 1995 the genetic defect that affected my eyes caused my lenses to completely detach. Surgery on my left eye to remove the lens and implant an artificial one was successful but a string of complications left me blind in the right eye. I was distraught and deathly afraid I would never paint again.

Painting and drawing were much more difficult for me after the surgeries - the loss of depth perception and ability to see fine detail affected my work greatly. Yet all was not lost. About a year before I became partially sighted, I had begun experimenting with a new medium - the computer. With this miraculous tool I could zoom in on a picture as close as I needed to without even leaving my chair. I was saved. Over the next several years, with much trial and error, I painstakingly retrained myself to paint in the digital medium. My traditional skills were very important - giving me the solid foundation and structure to created balanced and harmonious compositions - while still allowing my artistic vision to burst through.

The computer cannot 'generate' art any more than brush and canvas can - only a passionate heart can endow a picture with enough human intensity to truly create a work of art.

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