Artist Profile: Mary Ahern

Artist Mary Ahern paints larger than life portraits of flowers. Enjoy her portfolio and her artist story.


"Centering - Pink Peony" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“Centering – Pink Peony” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 36″


ABI: Tell us about your creative journey and how you developed your current body of work.

MA: My paintings begin in the garden. The gardens that I designed surrounding my studio provide the source material for my art. Whether I’m designing a painting or a garden there are so many similar aspects to address. In both I consider their composition, rhythm, focal points, textures and color. I feel like an artist whether I’m placing plants or pushing paint.


"Just Waiting - Free Spirit Rose" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“Just Waiting – Free Spirit Rose” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 36″


My most recent body of work has come from my focus on simplifying my life, my work and with what I choose to surround myself. As I focused on downsizing the work of tending the thousands of plants in my garden, I began to contemplate what the essence of my garden is to me. This simplification entered my studio along with me. I wanted to strip away extraneous material and get to the center of my art.


"We Are Sisters - Coral Roses" Oil on Canvas, 24" x 30" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“We Are Sisters – Coral Roses” Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 30″


ABI: What is the concept behind your flower portraits?

MA: This simplification of my life led me to concurrently reduce the scope of my paintings from landscapes to the study of a single flower. This narrowed focus of seeing and depicting the centers of these flowers in my art gave rise to my questions of the purpose of their existence. This lead me to the questions of the purpose of existence not just for them, but also for us.


"I'm Not Hiding - Pink Amaryllis" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“I’m Not Hiding – Pink Amaryllis” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 36″


Flowers represent to me a microcosm of the universe in their cycles of living and loving, families and relationships as well as their quest for survival and eventual senescence and rebirth. To me, these paintings offer a duality of external and internal vision. We can see the beauty of these images with our eyes, but we can also choose to see the beauty of what they represent with our souls.


"Together Again – Peach Freckles Rhodi" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 24" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“Together Again – Peach Freckles Rhodi” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 24″


ABI: What has influenced you in subject matter and technique?

MA: It may come as no surprise that I’ve been influenced by the person and the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. Many years ago, before I knew I was an artist, I wept upon first seeing images of her work. She wrote that she painted flowers larger than life in order to get people to actually stop and see them in their otherwise hectic lives.


"Pay Attention - Orange Hibiscus" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“Pay Attention – Orange Hibiscus” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 36″


Although we share some of the same soul, we don’t share the same painting technique. O’Keeffe painted in a more direct style of paint application. I however, enjoy the glazing and layering style more akin to Renaissance artists and practiced by the Dutch painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. I begin each painting with a grisaille underpainting and apply thin coats of fifteen to thirty layers of glazing. It is a long process which takes weeks to complete.


"My World - Pink Anemone" Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36" by artist Mary Ahern. See her profile at

“My World – Pink Anemone” Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 36″


These layers hold for me a journey, a depth of color but also a depth of meaning. They speak to me of who I am and what I create as an artist.

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change” – Buddha


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  1. Thank you so much for capturing the essence of my work and my life! The greatest joy of being an Artist is sharing my vision with the universe!

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