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Get to Know Our Featured Artist

Mary Champion

In memory of our friend and colleague who passed away in August 2017.

“As I continue to learn the language of painting, and discover new ways to translate what I am seeing onto a flat surface, I am driven to learn more and to experiment with my palette and technique."

Mary Champion

Mary Champion

Mary Champion is a native of Dallas, Texas and has lived in Alabama, Virginia and Maryland before relocating to Leesburg in 2008. Fortunate to have art in her curriculum from preschool through college, it was not until 1997 when she joined a study group led by Professor Emeritus UAH, Jack Dempsey, in Huntsville, Alabama that she found art instruction that truly engaged her. She studied classic drawing and painting for six years, attended plein air workshops with Richard McDaniel as well as other prominent artists, and has been painting exclusively in oils ever since.


Champion has exhibited in galleries throughout the Tennessee Valley and has been juried into national shows such as the Biggs Picture Show at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware, Red Clay Survey at the Huntsville Museum of Art and Small Matters of Great Importance at the Edward Hopper Art Center in Nyack, New York.

Unison Farm, Round Hill, VA by Mary Champion
UNISON FARM, ROUND HILL, VA - 24 X 30 - oil on canvas

Mary’s current work interprets the rural Virginia landscape in light filled paintings. Her work has been shown in numerous regional shows in northern Virginia, including shows at The Cooley Gallery in Leesburg, Live an Artful Life in The Plains, and the Berkley Gallery in Warrenton. She has work in hundreds of private homes and businesses across the United States and abroad. She creates her work in her studio in The Artist Lofts at Hill High Marketplace in Round Hill, Virginia. Mary is an active member of the Loudoun Sketch Club and founding member of Fine Art Professionals of Northern Virginia. She is represented by the Berkley Gallery in Warrenton, Virginia.


Backlight on Mt. Gilead by Mary Champion
BACKLIGHT ON MT. GILEAD - 24 x 48 - oil on canvas

Mary's strength is her ability to capture the light and color of a given subject. She uses her intellect and intuitive sensibility to simultaneously see all the colors in any given scene, Mary is a true and faithful practitioner of color analysis, breaking down each area of her canvas to understand the basic true elements that are present. She takes to heart the old "adage" “Paint what you see and not what you think you see.”

“Light is what truly captures the essence of any scene and makes all the difference."

Mary Champion

Sweeping Sky by Mary Champion
SWEEPING SKY - 16 x 20 - oil on canvas
Spout Run by Mary Champion
SPOUT RUN - 11 x 14 - oil on canvas


Studio of Mary Champion
Mary's studio in Northern Virginia.

Mary starts her painting process with the scene, wandering the region through parks or just out on a drive. Timing is everything when it comes to light and being in the right place for the scene to speak to you. Light is what truly captures the essence of any scene and makes all the difference.


Once something catches her eye, she begins with her camera, photographing the landscape. Once the picture is captured, the process takes the next step into Photoshop to get a better feel for the natural palette. Photoshop allows her to develop the colors as she saw it and adjust the proportions for the proposed work. She refines the scene and captures features that may be missed during the initial photographing of the scene. To that point, Mary may enhance certain colors to ensure that some aspect of the scene is vividly present but not overwhelming. She continues this process until she’s satisfied with a piece that’s both creatively challenging and workable on the canvas.

Work Space of Mary Champion

Mary’s next step is to establish the size - to print a reference photograph that proportionally works on the on the canvas. She then prepares the canvas, grids the reference photo, and proceeds in putting oil to canvas.

A Tree at Selma Estates by Mary Champion
16 x 20 - oil on canvas
11 x 14, oil on linen panel
The Small Barn at Selma by Mary Champion
Sky Meadow Vista by Mary Champion
SKY MEADOW VISTA - 36 x 48 - oil on canvas

“I have always been engaged by trees, rocks, water, and weeds, and I really want my paintings to reflect how I feel about these things."

Mary Champion

Airmont Road by Mary Champion
AIRMONT ROAD - 24 x 30 - oil on canvas

Elan Magazine - May 2015

* Click image to read article


Mary Champion

Mary Champion

“Mary Champion channels boundless curiosity in composing her dynamic landscape paintings." - Elan Magazine

*All painting images Copyright 2016 Mary Champion


See our previous UP-CLOSE featured artists.

August 2016 - Jill Banks

September 2016 - Linda Hendrickson

October 2016 - Laurie Fields

November 2016 - Mary Champion

January 2017 - Robert Thoren

February 2017 - Susan La Mont

March 2017 - Web Bryant

December 2016 - Chica Brunsvold

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