“Nature is all inspiring,” according to artist Mara Lehmann. “To be in the country, among the mountains, trees, and blue sky is magnificent. It’s the beauty before me that I try to capture. Nature is my source of inspiration.” She refers to the Catskills as “a kind of holy ground for artists,” and says that what inspires her most is the ability to stand on the same ground that the great Hudson River School painters once stood, and to interpret the same scenes that they painted in her own unique way.
From an early age, Mara was attracted to painting in oils, which she has been doing since the age of ten. Family travels and escapes to the country proved to be fertile subject matter for her work. Even as a young child, she realized that nature was her canvas. Be it a farm in winter, bales of hay in the fall, autumn leaves, South Lake in spring, or Olana. What is so wonderful about Mara’s paintings, and what she strives for in her paintings, is the light that illuminates the entire scene.
Lehmann endeavors to capture the beauty and serenity of the countryside, using subdued colors, forceful tones and shifting lights and shadows. Mara often paints en plein air (outside) in order to capture a particular scene. When a painting cannot be finished in one session, she either returns to the same spot or finishes the painting in her studio, relying on memory or photographs of the site. She almost never paints a scene exactly as it appears before her. “You’ve got to have your own artistic interpretation,” she said, “and add your own touches. That’s what makes your art different from anybody else’s.” Ultimately, Mara wants people who look at her paintings to see how awe-inspiring and breathtaking the world is.
Before moving to the Catskills some 20 years ago, Lehmann worked in the New York metropolitan area as a textile designer and graphic design artist. With a master’s degree in education from Columbia University, she enjoys teaching and inspiring other artists. Lehmann has shown extensively in the metropolitan area and has been the recipient of numerous awards from Cork Gallery, the Avery Fisher Hall, NY, Salmagundi Club, NY and the Manhattan Art Club.