“One Man’s Trash…” by Jason Sacran, 2016, oil on panel, 16 x 24 in. Collection of Mary Garrish

Florida painter Mary Garrish calls collecting art “a gut response” to what moves her. But she has another way to explain her choices, one that makes total sense.

“I think that being an artist, I collect what would be chosen for an artists’ choice award at an event,” says Garrish. “Artists see things a little differently than non-painters. But mostly, I gravitate toward what moves my heart.”

“Shore,” by Matthew Cornell, 2017, oil on board, 3 3/4 x 6 in. Collection of Mary Garrish
“Shore,” by Matthew Cornell, 2017, oil on board, 3 3/4 x 6 in. Collection of Mary Garrish

Garrish knows all three of the artists responsible for her selections for this article. Her first comments are about a piece by Jason Sacran. “This is a plein air piece Jason painted in the Panhandle of Florida. This is the yard of a guy who has been cited numerous times for the trash in his yard, and he refuses to clean it up. There’s an old VW bus, boats, and a bunch of other junk that is unidentifiable. Jason went back multiple times to this site. He is so good at abstraction, and that’s what drew me to this piece. It has great color harmony, brushwork, and some knife work.”

“Miles of Open Space,” by Scott Christensen, 2016, oil, 12 x 30 in. Collection of Mary Garrish
“Miles of Open Space,” by Scott Christensen, 2016, oil, 12 x 30 in. Collection of Mary Garrish

Next is a small painting by fellow Florida artist Matthew Cornell. “I do a lot of seascapes, but Matthew is a lot tighter than I am,” says Garrish. “I love his compositions and the way he just zooms in on a wave. He paints larger paintings, but he also does these small but very powerful pieces. In terms of tight painting, Matthew is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Jason. I am somewhere in the middle. I’m trying to work on becoming more abstract.”

“Bringing in the Clouds,” by Mary Garrish, 2017, oil on linen, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist
“Bringing in the Clouds,” by Mary Garrish, 2017, oil on linen, 12 x 12 in. Collection the artist

Last is a piece by Idaho painter Scott Christensen. “I first saw this painting online and immediately called Scott and said I want that!” Garrish recalls. “It was February, and I got it as an anniversary present for my husband (and me, too). I like picking out my presents because I always spend more than my husband would. So I gave it to him in August, and he loved it. We were actually in Idaho a few weeks later and we went into Scott’s studio, and the large-scale painting from this study was on the easel. It was absolutely breathtaking. The painting captures that fleeting ‘awe’ moment in nature when the sun is going below the mountaintops and turns the tops coral. With that warm light against the cool snow … it is magical.”

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