The Heroine’s Journey of Mary Nagel Klein

What is the best thing that I love about my work?
When I paint, I’m totally immersed and focused on seeing what is beautiful – and then transforming my vision into something to share with the viewer.  This act is so utterly transforming that I lose all track of time and space.  It is this ‘being in the moment’ that I love so much.
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness is hard to pin down – and perfection even harder.  Peacefulness seems more attainable – and for me, peace comes when all is well with those I love and hold dear.
What is my greatest fear?
My greatest fear is a question like this.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
Impatience.  Being more tolerant – with myself and with others – is a trait I work on more than any other.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
Larisa Ivankina Clevenger, Marc R Hanson, Patricia Jerde, Andy Evansen, Peggi Kroll Roberts, Hannah Heyer, Len Guggenberger, Konstantin Berkovski and Bruce Palmer.
What is my greatest extravagance?
My greatest extravagance is the time I spend doing crossword puzzles.  The ones in the Wall Street Journal are my current love – done with my Parker fountain pen – and red Sheaffer Skrip ink – pure indulgence.
On what occasion would I lie?
When it is imperative for me to do so.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
Not doing it – and putting it off.  It’s necessary to do other things besides painting to bring my work to fruition.  But going back and forth between the easel and the business of sharing my work breaks up the flow.  It would be divine to have an apprentice – perhaps some day.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
I am always happiest painting my last painting.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
I’m working on being gentler and more patient.  I can be quite driven and exacting.  It’s important to keep a broader picture in mind and not focus too intently on small matters.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
Taking a chance – and the time – to embrace a different medium.  For a little over a year I’ve been working exclusively in casein and have learned to embrace all it has to offer.  I’m excited to share my book: Casein Fine Art Painting – 7 steps to express your vision.  It will be coming out later this year – 2018.  My former teacher, Patricia Jerde, has done me the honor of writing the foreword.  You can see her name above in my answer to the question: Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
Where would I most like to live?
Right where I am.  I love the seasons, trees, lakes and lushness of living in Minnesota, USA.  I also welcome its challenges – they keep me on my toes.
What is my most treasured possession?
My matte burgandy Parker Place Vendome fountain pen – the one I use to do my morning crossword puzzles.
What is my most marked characteristic?
My introversion – I’m a hermit at heart.  But I hide it quite well and do just fine in social situations so maybe that’s not exactlymarked.  The way I eat, on the other hand, is very noticeable.  As a rule I shun added oils, sugar, processed grains and salt – and limit meat to rare bites of small wild-caught fish.  It’s hard to blend in at restaurants and gatherings when I eat this way.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
There’s a high spot in a marsh nearby where I like to ride my bike to.  I’ve painted there many times and have yet to tire of it’s many moods and vistas.  The muskrats who live there are dubious of my visits – but they seem to tolerate me for short periods of time.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
As noted above, I insist on eating only vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, legumes, whole grains and seeds – with no added salt, oil or sugar.  Whole Foods can best accommodate this at their salad bar and dining rooms.  Also, I love to pack picnics and eat by the many lakes we have here.
What books influenced my life and how?
The Art Spirit by Robert Henri – and Painting the Impressionist Landscape by Lois Griffel – hold special places for me.  Henri’s book more for its nuggets of inspiring art wisdom while Griffel’s was instrumental in teaching me to see like a colorist.  Art and Fear is another book that inspired me early on to think of painting as a verb – as something you do over and over again while letting the work flow.
Who are my favorite writers?
My favorite writers: Balzac, Wharton and Gogol.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day?
What I’m listening to right now – Bach’s Cello Suites performed by Pablo Casals.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Masha from Masha and the Bear.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
My sons – they never cease to amaze me.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou by the Coen Brothers – the nuanced story is based on Homer’s Odyssey, the acting is amazing and the music is unforgettable.
What role plays art in my life and work?
Painting is what I do – it feeds something deep within me.  So I would say it’s central to who I am.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
I am my greatest fan – and, sometimes, my worst enemy.  Self-doubt, negativity and procrastination are my “partners in crime.”  And my lovely collectors – they are my treasured sponsors.
Whom would I like to work with in 2018?
I prefer to work alone – I’m an introvert – see above.
Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018?
I’d love to re-connect with fellow art students and see how they are doing now – to know that all is well with them.
What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on?
I’ll be giving a case in painting demonstration on November 15 for the NorthStar Watermedia Society.  I’m very much looking forward to that – and to sharing my book at that time.
Where can you see me or my work in 2018?
I’ll have a solo show at the Kenwood Kramer Gallery in Minneapolis, USA in November – complete with an artist talk on November 9th.  I’ll also have a portrait in a group show at the Inez Greenberg Gallery in Bloomington, Minnesota USA during October and November.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
It means that you’re going to burnout eventually.  You really need to find a balance and take respite now and then.  Keep to your calling but arrange your priorities in such a way that you can last the duration.  “Dying with brush in hand” means that you take the time for other interests and people too.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Hannah Heyer, Abbey Fitzgerald and Kami Mendlik – all amazing regional landscape artists.
How can you contact me?
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