We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~ Native American Proverb
Throughout history many artists have expressed their acute sensitivity to the ills of society by creating masterful works of art with a message. To these artists we owe a debt of gratitude for waking us up from our apathy and misplaced priorities.
An increasing number of contemporary artists have been focusing their attention on the severe issues facing our planet.
Mary Lou Dauray is one of these artists whose primary goal is to raise consciousness about unequivocal environmental warming.
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The artist, who lives in Sausalito, California, devotes her full-time art career to producing compelling paintings with a purpose in addition to actively participating in several humanitarian projects.
On April 22 Earth Day is celebrated with world-wide events to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Dauray is enthusiastic as she discusses her plans for this year: “On Earth Day I am hosting an event featuring the TED speaker, Dr. Bernie Krause, one of the world’s leading experts in natural sound (biophony).”
Mary Lou Dauray has had many exhibitions throughout the U.S. including the Virginia Art Museum. Her art is in numerous public and private collections around the globe including Sophie Davis Medical School and City College of New York.
Her triptych “Iceberg Wasteland” is a large, mesmerizing painting that she created for a two-person exhibition “Aging People/Aging Planet”, presented at the University of Southern California Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
This painting also received an Award of Excellence from Manhattan Arts International’s “Celebrate The Healing Power of ART” juried competition and exhibition in 2013.
She is proficient in a variety of mediums such as watercolor, graphite, oil, and acrylic, and frequently uses her iPad to create sketches. She is a versatile and prolific artist who finds inspiration at home as well as her travels around the world.
World-Wide Travels Inspire Her Art
Dauray and her husband travel to several countries each year. In 2014, they plan to go to Canada, Western Europe and Japan.
She explains, “Most of the time, while traveling, I look, listen and observe. I quietly combine my life’s experience, my visual abilities and my concerns and put those thoughts into a quiet place and mull them over. I know that when I return to my studio, some of these experiences will inspire a series. I also take many photographs and use them as resources in my work.”
Her journeys to Iceland and to the Far East have generated many of her art pieces. They reflect climate destruction and global warming in relation to the melting of glacial ice.
As Dauray reflects on her trips to Iceland, she states, “I was in awe of the rough, raw beauty and at the same time felt an underlying nervousness that Mother Nature could destroy it at any moment. The air was pristine and the creative industries there are among the biggest in the country. The sky and light were memorable and the steaming geysers gave evidence of the immense amount of thermal power under the land.”
Her Iceland series in oils were so impressive that they were shown at the Olympics in London under the auspices of “Art of the Olympians” to tie in with an environmental panel discussing the impact of climate change.
A Trip to Czestochowa, Poland Ignites Her New Coal Series
In January of 2014 Dauray embarked on a series of large and powerful paintings about coal. She decided to pursue this direction after a visit to Czestochowa, Poland. As she explains, “While on a train there I viewed a carbon black lake surrounded by rings of dead black trees. I knew without a doubt that this situation was caused by pollution from the burning of coal and I became sick to my stomach.”
Dauray continues, “At the same time I began to study about the global negative effects of coal burning and it became clear that I had to devote my energies to painting a series on the mining, burning and transportation of coal. I guess you could say I am going from ice to fire in my desire to share my concerns about the seriousness of global warming.”
Mary Lou Dauray is clearly an artist who is on a mission and she emphasizes, “My artwork is my voice. Intense alarm would be an understatement in trying to describe the feelings generated as I continue doing this series. I know that I need to use my art to bring attention to this serious pollution situation.”
Annual Trips to Ghost Ranch Are Restorative
Dauray has been traveling to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico for the past seven years. This is the beautiful area where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted. During these visits Dauray has produced many exquisite watercolor paintings.
For three years she has organized a painting week in New Mexico, which she describes as “a restorative and creative experience for all.” She says although participants primarily paint, they also hike, meditate, photograph and write.
She exclaims, “There is no instruction — just camaraderie, quiet and inspiration from Mother Nature!”
Dauray is also very interested in the subject of creative aging. She has been involved with a new initiative at the Davis School of Gerontology at University of Southern California, which is aimed at studying the benefits of being creative during the aging process.
Another one of her passions is the advancement of women artists and women’s rights. As a board member of the Leonard and Sophie Davis fund, a private family foundation, she was instrumental in creating the RAW (Recognizing the Art of Women) Series at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach. They have already presented three exhibitions that have highlighted the extraordinary art work of women artists and three more shows are planned for the future.
Considering how busy and productive this multi-talented artist is I asked her if she has a favorite destination that she longs to revisit. She responded, “I love the south of France and also the Carcassonne area where I could almost feel the mystery and history. I would also like to revisit Bora Bora, a tiny island with the most beautiful water you have ever seen. I truly relaxed while there.”
Mary Lou Dauray has tremendous creative talent that is fueled by compassion and a desire to make a difference. Her tireless devotion to her causes serves as an inspiration to us all.
To view more of Mary Lou Dauray’s art visit her website at www.maryloudauray.com.