Mary O’Malley: An Introduction
One of the things I most like doing is introducing interesting artists to readers and telling, or letting them tell, their story. Because I love her work, and because of our recent collaboration on our coloring book for adults, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas, I’d like to start with Mary O’Malley.
Mary and I met about a year ago. I had just released the coloring book 52 Flower Mandalas and was thinking of doing a sequel. A mutual friend said, “You have to talk to Mary! Her work is already like a beautifully colored coloring book!” I took a look at her website, maryomalleyart, and I was awestruck.
Mary was the perfect collaborator. She understood the coloring book concept immediately, she was already a flower and mandala artist (and more), and she saw how to transform the Flower Mandalas into illustrations that colorists could interpret in ways I would never have imagined. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of her work on the book with “before” (David) and “after” (Mary) examples.
Click the image below to download a colorable sampler of some of the Flower Mandalas and the illustrations Mary created from them.
I asked Mary to say a bit about her art.
“I’ve been making art my whole life. As a child, I was very shy and quiet, and drawing became my way of communicating with the world, and I suppose it still is today. It was never a question for me what I wanted to do with my life. I knew from an early age that I wanted to become an artist.
“I find inspiration for my work in many places (nature, botanical art, textile and surface design, folk art, fractals, fashion, architecture, etc.) I keep a large database and archive of images I’ve collected (from books, magazines, the internet, and my own photos) as well as sketchbooks to serve as jumping off points for pieces. I also think discipline is extremely important to keep ideas flowing. A lot of my ideas come from previous work; they are born out of the experience and process of making work. Having a regular art practice keeps me open to ideas when they come and also for me to find them in unexpected places.
“Because my work is so detail-oriented, it becomes a very meditative practice for me. Especially with my silver ink on black paper pieces, which I begin with minimal planning. The black paper I use will show any pencil or eraser marks, so I have to keep any sketching to a minimum. This keeps me very present when I’m working.
“Working on the coloring book was a very satisfying creative experience for me. Once I got past the practical hurdle of figuring out the best and most efficient way to create the drawings, I was able to really enjoy the process of transforming the photographs into images that would be fun, interesting, and challenging to color. What was most fun for me is how much each mandala surprised me; I would look at David’s photograph, and think I had some idea of how my drawing would turn out. But almost every time, I was pleasantly surprised at the final outcome. I got to really spend time with each flower, look at it really deeply, and discover all the complexities and beauty in them. I feel like I got some sense of what a colorist will experience when coloring these mandalas.”
You can buy 52 (more) Flower Mandalas here.
P.S. You can get a peek at Mary’s new coloring book sampler here.
P.P.S. You can find out more about 52 (more) Flower Mandalas here.
P.P.P.S. You can download the $6.99 eBook version of Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas here.
Mary’s work can be seen at:
13 Forest Gallery, Arlington, MA: www.13forest.com
Her website: www.maryomalleyart.com
You can also buy high-quality reproduction prints (and a limited selection of originals) in her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/maryomalleyart