Mari Richards – Abstract Paintings

The moment I try to plan a painting is the moment it stops working.

What’s my background?
I do lots of creative things: toy design, websites, logos, print design, photo styling, sculpture, teaching art and design, design blogger, DIY kids crafts, printables, paper toys, pianist, composer, pinfluencer. My official credentials include a BA in art and a BM in piano performance from St. Olaf College, and an MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design {MCAD). I have designed over 400 products, and won over 30 industry awards. My artwork has been shown nationally in solo, group, and juried shows. Based in St. Paul, MN, I live a messy, wonderful life with my 9 year old daughter, husband, and 2 hilarious rescue mutts.

Why do I paint?
Painting gives me access to a part of myself that was hidden for decades. I can connect to a deep inner knowledge, to a sense of peace and well-being. All it takes is some paint, a tool, and a surface, and my joy shows up.

It begins by shifting perspective. I have to completely let go of the outcomes. The moment I try to plan a painting is the moment it stops working. Instead, creative intuition directs what color, what mark, and where. Sometimes I’m in that mix too, my years of design and art supporting a certain trajectory. But for the most part, the painting that appears is beyond what my little brain could have suggested.

For a recovering perfectionist like me, this act of releasing all control and letting creativity flow is revolutionary. That’s what makes it so healing: it’s a newfound freedom. It’s like the peace of meditation, of being in the present moment without concern for the future. It is my ultimate self-care.

My paintings focus on bright, saturated colors, a rainbow of options, but always with a richness and vibrancy. They thrive on a sense of movement, of layers and depth. Many people see their own landscapes or figures within the work, but interpretation is intentionally open. These paintings have their own life, an exuberance that wants to burst through the canvas borders.

My hope is that this same spark comes to you. Let these joyful mixes of colors, marks and layers infuse you with some healing. Bring a painting into your life that supports you in saying yes to being in flow, to being present, and finding joy.