Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Moran.
Hi Mary, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I learned to love painting from my grandmother. She was a phenomenal painter. When I would go visit her as a little girl she would dress me up in a warn smock (her husband’s old white dress shirts) and we would paint with oils in her back yard. She would say, “oh the painting looks like a Monet” and I would feel so proud of my painting. For a brief time I went to Hollins University in Virginia and I mostly took art classes. I would load my easel onto my back with paints tucked away, and I would climb the hills around the college and paint the lush green fields and deep blue skies.
As I moved forward in my life, I went to culinary school and graduated, and for the last 20 years I’ve been food styling and I’m currently the Resident Chef at Traditional Home Magazine. I meticulously design and create food for editorial. It is my passion.
The pandemic hit, and I found myself as a teacher, mother, home cook and sadly my profession got put on the back burner. I began baking bread and painting.
In the last couple of years, I started taking a weekly art class, but over the pandemic, I found myself painting daily for as many hours as I could find in a day to relieve the stress and the pressure of the situation.
My inspiration and focus is and was food. As a chef and food stylist, I look at food differently than most. I see the lines, contours, ridges, blemishes and most importantly the beauty.
Sitting in the salon chair of my favorite hairstylist Troy Zestos, he mentioned that he wanted to have a new art show, and in that moment, I knew I needed to continue to push myself. Thus my Savor Summer Show was created. I painted large and small-scale paintings with acrylic of foods most prevalent in summer.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I took an 18 years break from painting, so when I started again it felt daunting. I was honestly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I remember in college how easy it was to pick up an art brush and put paint to canvas, but when I started again the black canvas stared back at me. It was in my second year of my art class that things started to click. I had this idea of painting up close artichokes in various positions with a black background that was textured with white. After the planning of the painting and the moment I started laying down the white texture in the background, I went into that creative space that allows you to feel in the moment.
That moment of connecting with acrylic to canvas was the next phase of my painting life. Then when the pandemic hit, it took on a whole new level of meaning, it helped keep me grounded in a world that wasn’t.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As a chef and having a wide variety of jobs in the field of cooking and usually balancing multiple different things at the same time, I am most proud of teaching others how to cook.
My first love for teaching is on camera (as it can reach a huge audience) and a very close second is teaching one on one classes. Listening to students needs and then connecting them with the answers is a priceless experience for both myself and the student…
My favorite story was a student that found me on the internet and flew in from Vietnam to learn how to make Creme Brûlée donuts. Her primary focus was on learning how to make soft and fluffy donuts, which of course, I helped her learn.
During the pandemic, I taught a classroom full of students in Germany over Zoom. The pandemic was a way for all of us to do something out of the box.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up in Oklahoma was a gift. It allowed me to have a small-town experience which gave me confidence and courage to move and work in a big city. My mom, dad and brother were very supportive in everything I did which allowed me to find my passions whether it was drawing, playing volleyball, or cooking.
I was always strong-headed and never stepped away from a challenge. If someone told me I couldn’t do something, I worked hard to prove them wrong.
- 8×10 $75
- 12×24 $200
- 18×24 $275
- 24×48 $450
- 48×36 $875
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: hailmaryfoodofgrace.com
- Instagram: @food_art_hmfg
- Facebook: hail mary food of grace
- Youtube: hail mary food of grace
All photos except portrait by: Mary Payne Moran Photo of Mary by: Chroma Studios