Painting above, "The Tender Care Giver," by Mary Jane Cross
Mary Jane Q Cross
Born In 1951, Mary Jane resides in Newport NH with her husband, Mark Cross. Mary Jane's desire to make beautiful things began a serious journey to live an artist's life by age 8. In 1970-1973 studies at the Worcester Art Museum School in Worcester MA began her insatiable appetite for museums, galleries, biographies, paintings and then their storytelling in paint. Cross found the season of expressionism of the 70's to fall short of the academic skills that were desired. So, shortly after graduation, she patterned a curriculum for herself and a few students after the French Academic Painters, and the Pre Raphaelites. Studying how other artists were trained gave her the courage to find what her own voice would be.
A few workshops along the way with Daniel Green, then 15 years of mentoring in atmospheric color treatment with Fran Hoyt, a student of Vincent Dumond of the Arts Students League, she began to round out studious 'perspiration.' Gerome, Bouguereau, Lefebvre, the Pre Raphaelites, Jules Bastian LePage, Mary Cassatt, Lord Leighton left their romantic sumptuous themes, models and exquisite technical ability to story-tell in captivating ways rounded out the 'inspiration' that continues to captivate and embody her work.
Q Cross's work embraces beauty personified in primarily womanly subjects on an emotional and intimately respectful level. The models' spirits and souls are loved under her fingers. This is literal, as the artist paints with her fingers due to a severe tremor that restricts the use of brushes. The artist's career did not end but has persevered to inspire a documentary which was 18 months in the making.
Mary Jane is at her best as she spiritually entwines poetry with her comely treatment of the figure as the Pre Raphaelites did in their ability to tell stories. Her desire that three lifetimes would perhaps enable her to paint only half the paintings in her personal vision yet ahead, lead her to know her Creator's eternity as a most welcome eventuality.
Strong, prayerful women, scenes of tranquility, and a quiet stillness have perhaps come from a rest that bodily eludes her. It is evident that she has an interior tranquility that has become a comforting theme that is powerful, as a visual reprieve, in our busy culture.
It is said by Mary Jane about her work, "Always learning and never reaching, keeps me, ever the contemplative painter, longing to paint the next tender work...and then by God's grace, the next."