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.

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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Painting at the End of Summer in New Mexico

Sunrise at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Watercolor 12" x 10"

Sculpture of the Mountains
Watercolor 12" x 10"

The beauty of the mountains and land in Abiquiu, New Mexico inspired these two watercolors that I painted with immense pleasure.  I spent a week at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu just at the end of summer this year and painted every day in those glorious surroundings. “To me it is the best place in the world,” Georgia O’Keeffe said (at 94) of Ghost Ranch.  I tend to agree with her!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Acrylic painting 30"w x 40"h

This is the second in a new painting series calling attention to the air we breathe.  These works are part of a larger group of work I began in January reflecting my concern about the burning, transportation, and mining of coal. 
A recent article posted by the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology carries the title  Air Pollution Linked to Cognitive Decline in Older Adults”.  I feel that my “Blue Sky and Two Black Buildings” art piece and the information contained in the article definitely are on the same wavelength.  One can be fortunate indeed to glimpse during the day a blue sky in some of the major cities in the world. 
“Living in cities with high pollution has long been attributed to decline in physical health as we age,” said Jennifer Ailshire, Assistant Professor at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and fellow researcher Philippa Clarke, who co-wrote the recent report.  They have reason to believe that the tiny particles in vehicle exhaust and other sources of air pollution may hasten cognitive decline.  Ailshire said “the public should understand that there are health risks to living in polluted environments, particularly for older adults”.

For more information on this topic please check out the following link:

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Twin Towers  
Oil Painting  24"w x 30"h

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the tragic attacks on the twin towers.  Three days after 9/11 I created this oil painting and today is the first time I am showing this piece.
September 11, 2014 is also the thirteenth anniversary of the death of a family member, Amy Jarret, who was a flight attendant on the ill-fated United Flight 175. Please take a few moments to watch the You Tube video that honors Amy with a beautiful song by Chris Ross:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeZDpPX2MVY
Thank you.