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story.lead_photo.caption Maumelle artist Mary Ann Stafford will be the featured artist at Art on the Green in Conway through Feb. 7. She is shown here with two of her newest pastel paintings, In the Neighborhood, left, and Sarah’s Bean Fields. The public is invited to meet Stafford and view her work at the opening reception, set for 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday. - Photo by William Harvey

CONWAY — Mary Ann Stafford of Maumelle will be the featured artist through Feb. 7 at Art on the Green in Conway. The public is invited to meet Stafford at an opening reception from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Stafford, who shows her art regularly at the gallery, will have 13 paintings in the exhibit that she titled Where the Sky Kisses the Earth. Paintings in this series of work are pastel landscapes on sanded paper.

“I am thrilled to be the featured artist at Art on the Green,” Stafford said. “Art on the Green is a very fine gallery. I am proud to be a part of it.”

Brenda McClain, gallery director, said, “Art on the Green is privileged to represent many great artists. Mary Ann Stafford is an interior designer’s dream.”

To coincide with the exhibit, Stafford will teach a six-hour workshop, Painting Landscape in Pastel, at Art on the Green. Classes will be from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 24 and 31 and

Feb. 7. The cost is $115 for all three sessions.

Teaching is nothing new for Stafford, who taught high school English, humanities and art for 16 years and was assistant principal for five years at Pine Bluff High School. She was staff-development coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Education until she retired in 1993. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education degree and a Master of Arts degree in English and additional hours in art from the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Arkansas. She also holds a doctorate in education with an emphasis in art.

Since her retirement, Stafford has been painting and drawing full time, although she said she does not paint every day.

“I paint when I can find the time,” she said, laughing. “I try to do too many things. When I am not painting, I teach [art] at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center.

“I volunteer at my church, Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church in Little Rock. I also volunteer at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center, where I lead a grief support group. My husband passed away four years ago. I get lonesome. … I try to stay busy.”

Stafford said she creates her artwork by using photographs as models.

“I take photographs and then paint,” she said, adding that pastel is her favorite medium.

“I do other things, too — pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor, acrylic – but I do not do oil,” Stafford said.

“For some of my newest paintings in this exhibit, I used brilliant watercolors for the underpainting,” she said, pointing to the brilliant orange and red colors in the paintings. “I just let them flow down the paper and then look to see where the landscape elements might be and use pastels to finish the painting.”

Stafford said landscape is her favorite subject matter, but she does create still-life paintings and animal portraits as well.

Stafford is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists and the Conway League of Artists and is a founding member of the Arkansas Pastel Society. She holds signature-status membership in the Pastel Society of the Southwest, the Arkansas League of Artists and the Mid-Southern

Watercolorists, which she serves as a regional adviser for the central-Arkansas area.

Stafford also has work on display at the Big Cuppa coffee shop in Morrilton.

For more information on Stafford’s exhibit at Art on the Green or to register for her upcoming workshop, contact Art on the Green at 1100 Bob Courtway Drive, Suite 1, or call (501) 205-1922. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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