About Me

Mary Blake about 2 years old

I love detail—in shapes, textures, colors, shadows, the glint in an owl’s eye, the fuzzy edge of a feather.  That sounds good, but it often means I’m muttering to myself a lot, saying things like “why did I decide to paint EVERY SINGLE feather!” It might be more like an addiction than a choice.

Mary Blake about 6 years old

Because I usually spend a lot of time on each painting, I choose images that I want to spend time with, to get to know better.

Animals are challenging to paint.  I do my best to show the complexity of who they are. 

I try to convey the power in their talons and beaks, the specific shapes, colors and textures of each individual.  In many of my paintings, an owl or raptor stares back at the viewer, demanding to be taken seriously. 

Mary Blake about 7 years old

I’ve been experimenting with “erased watercolors,” a reversal of the traditional watercolor process. Paint is removed rather than added.  This process forces me to give up some details and colors, and to find an essence.  Since the background and foreground are one and the same, the image seems sculpted or carved. 

I try to work with integrity, always painting the best I can.  It is a slow, tedious, frustrating process. 

Mary Blake about 19 years old

In early 2017, we moved from Marin to Santa Rosa.

Painting has been slow for me since our move. We were evacuated from our home during the 2017 wildfires. The fire reached our front yard, but our home was safe. We were also evacuated in 2019 and 2020.

Mary Blake in 2019


I am usually way too serious! But not always.

Mary Blake in 2016
Printmaking class, City College of San Francisco, Fort Mason Campus
Mary Blake in 1969

Education & Affiliations

B.A. Math & Economics, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Member:  California Watercolor Association, Oakmont Art Association, Valley of the Moon Art Association (secretary), Oakmont Lawn Bowling Club (secretary and communications), The Bird Rescue Center (volunteer)

Solo Exhibitions
2016 MarinScapes, Larkspur, CA
2015       Miracle Mile Café
2014       Founders’ Lounge, Art Works Downtown, San Rafael, CA
                Double Rainbow, San Rafael, CA
                Renaissance Center, San Rafael, CA
                Royal Sweet Bakery, San Anselmo, CA
                Hamilton YMCA, Novato, CA
2013       Founders’ Lounge, Art Works Downtown, San Rafael, CA
2009       Mill Valley Community Center, Mill Valley, CA
2007       AWE Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006       Ross Valley Winery, San Anselmo, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions
2015       Best in Show 2D, 2 Honorable Mentions: Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
                Second Place, CWA 45th National Exhibition, Second Place, Pleasanton, CA
2014       First and Second Place-Watercolor, Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
                Honorable Mention, Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
2013       First Place-Aquamedia, 2 Honorable Mentions, Marin County Fair
                Annual Juried Exhibit, Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael, CA
                Richeson Award, California Watercolor Association, 43rd National Show 
2012       2012 Statewide Watercolor Competition, Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA
                43rd National Exhibition, California Watercolor Association, Pleasanton, CA
                Second Place, Waterworks, Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, CA
                First Place-Aquamedia, Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
                Member Show, National Watercolor Society, San Pedro, CA
                Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael, CA
                Feathers and Fur, Healdsburg Center for the Arts, Healdsburg, CA
                Marin Artists, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, CA
2011       First Place-Watercolor, Call of the Wild, CIAO Gallery, Jackson, WY
                Nature’s Palette, Marin Arts Council, San Rafael, CA
                Artisan’s Art Gallery, venues in San Anselmo, Corte Madera, and San Rafael, CA
                Honorable Mention, Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
2010       Land and Sea, Marin Society of Artists, Ross, CA
2009       Group Exhibition, Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael, CA
                Ripples, Group Exhibition, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, CA
                National Juried Exhibition, Marin Society of Artists, Ross, CA
2008       Works on Paper, Artisan’s Art Gallery, San Rafael, CA
                Group Exhibition, Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael, CA
                Second Place-Aqua Media, Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
2007       Second Place-Aqua Media, Marin County Fair, San Rafael, CA
2005       Merit Award, Small Things, Artisan’s Art Gallery, Mill Valley, CA
                Bon Appetit, Artisan’s Art Gallery, Mill Valley, CA