About Mary


 Mary was inspired to become an artist in high school by a nun who dedicated her life to helping students understand and appreciate the history of art.  At the age of 16 Mary was commissioned by a local hospital in West Virginia to paint a 20′ by 20′ mural for its children’s ward.

Mary Ellis LaGarde

As an artist, Mary has the unique ability to paint with both her left and her right hand.  She is fascinated by the Venetian method of oil painting and uses oils, pigments, glazes, and techniques similar to those used by the Renaissance Masters.

Mary begins by drawing her subject in charcoal directly onto the canvas.  She then covers the under-drawing with an under-painting or grisaille.  After that, she spends weeks and sometimes months adding layer-after-layer of pigments and glazes working from the dark pigments to the lights.  

Mary’s art career was placed on the back burner for more than a decade while she worked as a successful trial lawyer.  During her legal career, Mary was featured as a legal commentator on CNN, Good Morning America, Dateline, Nightline, MSNBC, and various local news stations.

In 2016, Mary’s husband was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. After helping nurse him back to health, she decided to give up her law practice to become a full-time artist.

Mary is an active member of the Oil Painters of America and the Portrait Society of America.


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