Along with gracing the front of our August 25, 2017 issue, Lynn Mara’s cover is the official poster of the 2017 Hampton Classic Horse Show. Mara was born and raised on the East End. Her artwork has appeared on the Hampton Jitney, at Plaza Café in Southampton and at other Long Island restaurants.
Mara’s father-in-law was the late Wellington Mara, owner of the New York Giants. Her paintings of Giants players are on display at the Legacy Club at MetLife Stadium and at the team’s training facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. She frequently paints horses, beach scenes, Indian chiefs and farms and vineyards.
Why do you love to paint horses?
People have always had a love affair with horses. For me, horses represent strength, grace, elegance and beauty. They’re sexy and romantic. I think my time in Saratoga, studying the paintings of Alfred Munnings, inspired me to try to capture and compose a horse in painting the way he did.
Will you be at the Hampton Classic?
I wouldn’t miss it! I come every year looking for great new photographs to work from. I’m hoping to cheer on my niece, Lily Brown who will be showing in the Classic in the jumping class. My sister Erin, who owns Topiaire Flower Shop in Southampton, does a lot of design work for many clients attending.
Describe your creative process.
If my eyes are open, I’m in a perpetual creative flow. Sometimes I can respond immediately to what I see, other times it is stored away for later. I take lots of snap shots. Then I imagine the composition and a color scheme. I try to be conscientious of decorating trends and color schemes. I like to paint things big, and from the perspective of having a privileged proximity, i.e. in the racing paddock, on the sidelines, in the locker room or on a private vineyard. I always begin with a painted sketch directly on the canvas and things just evolve from there. I was very deliberate about the painting for the Hampton Classic poster.
How did you develop your distinctive style, what you allude to as the “Brilliant Disguise”?
I sold my first painting at our flower stand in front of our home when I was about eleven. Then I majored in art in college and have been painting my entire life. I came to admire the authentic lifestyle and hard work of the farmers, baymen, landscapers and vineyard workers. I feel very fortunate to have been born and raised on the East End. Painting is both the mode to express that gratitude and the gift I’ve never tired of.
The allusion to the “Brilliant Disguise” refers to the Divine presence in all that is good and beautiful in nature and in life. My style is born out of a joy derived from being immersed in life; particularly life on the East End as I have experienced it. I think the signature sign in my work is my use of bright, bold colors and the love of my subject matter, whether horse or human. It should reflect that love of life to the viewer.
Who are your biggest influences as an artist?
As a child I spent endless hours at the home of local artist Jane Doscher. Her home was just a few doors down from another favorite artist of mine, Fairfield Porter. I credit her and my mom for the early encouragement, which was so important. Later, my friend and fellow artist Jack Riggio sent me home with some of his palette knives and told me to loosen up and have fun! We shared a love of figurative work and strong, bold colors. Other favorites include LeRoy Neiman, Andy Warhol and Childe Hassam.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a series of abstract, big, beautiful, bright American Flags for an upcoming show at the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye. The exhibit will be up from September 15 through November.