Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my artwork and things that are important to me. Please check out my website at www.maryloudauray.com.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


                                                                   COAL USED UP  
                                              FOUR CANVAS PANELS  16" x 16"  OIL 

Summer Travels and Four Paintings

My recent travels transported me from the shores of California to the beaches of New England; from the seaside in France, Malta, Sardinia, and Italy to the blue waters in Greece.   Along the way I took many photographs, some of which I am hoping will eventually be incorporated into my artwork.   As I went from place to place, I kept my eyes wide open to see and experience what culture surrounded me. 
Even though I was fortunate enough to travel to intriguing and lovely environs,  it was impossible for me to bury or eliminate a continuing troubling undercurrent about how human-centered activities are smothering our planet’s life. Ideally, I should not even have been creating more of a carbon footprint by getting on an airplane and flying to distant lands!  This is a dilemma.
Since I have been doing art work for the past 18 months about the use, transporting, and mining of coal, upon returning to my studio I continued on this path by painting  a four-paneled oil art piece.  This work illustrates my view of the continuing environmental destruction caused by burning coal.  The first panel shows  a blue sky surrounding a large piece of coal.  The last section depicts a black sky smothering the small remaining lump of coal.   Scientists, geologists and others are very alarmed about the extremely rapid and destructive mining, and subsequent use, of minerals and deposits that have taken millions of years to form. Once these minerals and fossil fuel deposits are depleted, they will be gone forever.    
I am also trying to help counter, in some small way, the depressing facts and statistics about the condition of our planet. I have been posting on the Internet numerous articles of the good work, inventions and products people are developing that might help in reducing man-made greenhouse gasses. I am also writing an environmental column for www.manhattanarts.com at the following site: www.healing-power-of-art.org.  There you can read stories about artists who are devoting their talent and energies to raising awareness about various aspects of the downturn in our environment.
I am inspired by Dorothea Lange’s beautiful comment:  “Art is a byproduct of an act of total attention” and certainly my art focus these days has been primarily on climate disruption.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Monterey, Ca. (Oil) 8"h x 10"w

Hawaii-2015 (Oil) 10"w x 8"h
Georgia's Mountain in Abiquiu, New Mexico (Oil) 8"w x 10"h

Can you imagine 700 plein air artists gathered in one place for five days to teach, learn, have fun and collaborate? This past April I experienced such an event in beautiful Monterey, California. I chose to attend this convention with some of the masters of plein air painting because I felt an urgent need to paint outside of my studio walls to look, really see, and feel the exquisite beauty of nature. 
The last few years I have been creating work reflecting my deep concern over the destruction we humans have done to our planet.  The research I have done, and the paintings I have created about my version of climate destruction, was depressing me.  For a change of pace I thought it would be good to learn how to work out of doors.   
During those five very busy days, we all went on site and set up our easels at the beaches in Carmel and Asilomar and put brush to canvas on the rugged coast of Point Lobos and the wharf in Monterey.  Part of the exercise was like “Outward Bound” since in some cases the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour and the sand was impaling the canvases!   Nevertheless, I loved the experience!
Since that week in April, I have been fortunate enough to paint outdoors in the SF Bay Area; the big island of Hawaii; Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico; and also in the New York Adirondacks.  While the practicality of painting outside definitely is a challenge, it has given me a chance to quietly sense  and profoundly appreciate our beautiful planet.  It is so clear to me that right now we do need to search for ways to save it from the damages of climate change. 
“These are our times and our responsibilities.  Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes.  In order to do this we must recognize the enemy—the one within us.  We must begin with ourselves.  We must live in harmony with the Natural World and recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our own destruction.  We cannot trade the welfare of our future generations for profit now”.  These comments come from the an address to the United Nations by Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah, high chief among the Six National Iroquois Confederacy and revered spiritual leader.  
Please check out my website: www.maryloudauray.com
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


 Pen and Ink Sketch 5" x 4"
Burning Coal   Acrylic 9" x 10"
Looking Inside  22" x 30"

Concern, thought, observation and creativity fuel my artistic work...and speaking of "fuel", the worrisome harm caused by continued mining, transporting and burning of coal remains at the top of my list of subject matters to paint.  My personal experience of deep concern over the damage wrought by the burning and transporting of coal began with a train ride through Poland in 2009 when I was distressed by seeing an ink-black, dead lake caused by dumping of  coal waste.   In addition,  I have counted open, uncovered coal cars traversing miles and miles of pristine waters in Idaho.  
Hopefully, during the course of the next few months, I hope to visit and see first hand areas in the United States where mountain top removal for coal has severely destroyed the ecosystems.  I know it won't be a happy sight.
I actually do possess a large chunk of black anthracite ordered online and which is in my studio being used as a model for sketching and painting.  However, since I do not live near any coal mines nor have actually seen coal burning, I have had to research countless photos online.  I owe a debt of gratitude to the present and past photographers who recorded these coal scenes.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


"One Coal Car" 30"w x 40"h Mixed Media  
And the painting goes on…
I wondered, now that 2015 is here, whether I would continue referencing in my art the concern I have for the pollution and destruction caused by burning, mining and transporting of coal.  The subject matter can get depressing, especially when one realizes that almost all the US coal transported and exported to Asia goes to the greatest polluters:  China, Japan, India and South Korea. 

Nonetheless, I decided to keep  on truckin’ and continue to paint art work depicting the topic of man-made environmental destruction.

Coal Cars on the lake in Sandpoint, Idaho

This is a photo I took of coal trains crossing lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho.  My painting, "One Coal Car" was inspired by this photograph.  The bridge, which goes across the pristine waters of this beautiful large lake supports, numerous times a day,  trains lugging as many as 126 open coal cars. Other hazardous cargo, such as crude from North Dakota, also travels along these tracks. To make matters worse, the building of an additional bridge in Sandpoint to transport even more coal and crude is now under consideration.

My hope is that the artwork I create will encourage others to use their voices to show concern about  environmental plundering and encourage the development of alternative energy sources.
Please look at my earlier blogs and also at my website.  Soon, there will be more artwork posted on the site. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014


by Mary Lou Dauray

Black Bird, a song that foretells a coal miner’s death.

I painted this blackbird in January of 2014 just as I began a year-long series of artworks depicting the harm wrought by the mining, transportation, burning and disposal of coal. While creating these paintings in my studio I played over and over  the sad and heartbreaking coal mining songs from a 2007 “Music of Coal” CD set I would highly recommend listening to if you are interested.  
Today, Robert Kennedy Jr., in a NY Times op-ed entitled, "Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise" stated in part that, If we are to save Appalachia, we first need to save our democracy by getting the dirty money out of politics.  As long as campaigns are field by donations from King Coal, state agencies and politicians in Kentucky and West Virginia will continue to be servile cogs in a destructive machine.  That mechanism is uprooting America's purple mountain majesty, poisoning its rivers and people, and destroying the communities of Appalachia".

These two watercolors pictured above, ( 9 ½"w x 10 ½"h), were inspired by what I see as the permanent damage inflicted on the landscape by destructive mountaintop removal during the process of coal mining.  The black hole is dark--empty--black holes of ruin.
I do believe that art has the power to influence action and thought.  I am hoping that my artwork, at the very least, might help to alert some to the terrible dangers in the continued use of coal.  I do hope that more and more people will become inspired to be involved in the development of alternative energy sources in order to rid our dependence on dirty and unhealthy coal. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Circle

What can a simple circle denote?  

Here is a calligraphic copy of one of venerable Thich Nhat Hanh's circle meditations:

"In Zen Buddhism, an ensō ( , "circle"?) is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.  The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics". (Wikipedia) 
very recently was in Japan and experienced first hand the art and simplicity found in Zen Buddhist monasteries.  I saw circles in many designs, but none so important as in the calligraphic circles drawn by Zen monks.  Interesting to me is that even before visiting Japan, the circle had begun to appear in my art work referencing the consequences of coal burning, mining and transportation.  
Today, as I was speaking with a friend while working on my painting, she mentioned that Thich Nhat Hanh, a beloved Zen Buddhist monk, author, teacher, poet and peace activist is very ill with a brain hemorrhage.  He has been a significant force for peace in the world.  Please offer healing thoughts for him.  

Below is a photo taken of my most recent piece which decries the black holes in mountains destroyed by coal mining.  Let there be peace, healing and regrowth returning to these areas.