Artist Profile: Mary Freericks

“I learned to make my own decisions.”

Mary Freericks creates striking watercolors, prints and abstract paintings. She also dives into the world of literature and poetry. Being a diverse artist, Freericks has a huge following in our community.

Glenn Dallas Gallery is currently showing a selection of Freerick’s watercolors as part of the Santa Barbara Visual Artists exhibition. Visit the gallery before November 15th to see work from Freericks and a variety of other Santa Barbara artists.

Gallery attendant Hali Galloway reached out to Freericks to learn more about her processes, art and inspiration. Keep reading to discover what keeps this busy artist moving, shaking and motivated.

Hali Galloway: What led/ influenced you to become an artist? (a short bio)
Mary Freericks: My mother influenced me, profoundly. She was a true artist. She always carried art materials with her and sketched or painted a great deal of the time. She made sure I had my own stash of supplies. She would give me a blank sheet of paper, colored pencils, and simple direction. “Draw,” she would say. Drawing is one of my earliest memories. I remember sketching my aunt while sitting at the dinner table. I crawled under the table cloth to draw her legs and feet. My mother encouraged it all and cultivated my creativity. I also studied with and was inspired by Kandinsky.

HG: How do those influences manifest themselves in your work?
MF: My mother’s influence helped me make artistic decisions independently. As a child I would ask my mother what colors I should paint with. “Paint it any color you like,” she always replied. I learned to make my own decisions that way.

HG: How have you seen your work evolve from when you first became an artist to present day?
MF: My work has evolved from simply sketching and painting with acrylics to using a number of mediums. Upon moving to Santa Barbra, I mastered watercolor. I also started experimenting with collage, assemblage, oils & printmaking. Now I work in a variety of mediums.

HG: We’re in love with your watercolor work, especially the floral series. What was your inspiration for choosing this subject matter? MF: Once I mastered watercolors, I became enamored with painting flowers. Watercolor lends itself to combining flowing colors directly on paper. These new colors perfectly highlight variations in petals and leaves. Plus, I just love flowers.

HG: What are some techniques, mediums, or ideas that you want to explore further? MF: I just finished an encaustics workshop where we used acrylic medium to achieve interesting results. In a few weeks I’m taking a class to learn more about digital art. I’m always exploring and expanding.

I’ve been to Freerick’s home. It’s really a small gallery filled top to bottom with her creations. To say the least, I’ve a great professional relationship with this artist. She’s a dear friend. Naturally, I had a few of my own questions to add.

Laila Alamiri: You studied at Columbia University. How did art school impact you as a creative? MF: I received an M.F.A. in poetry at Columbia. The main advantage of living and studying in the city was the abundance of galleries, museums and opportunities around.

LA: You’ve published two books of poetry. Do you consider yourself more a writer visual artist? MF: I drew and painted as a child because my mother was an artist. I focused on writing during my time in NYC and Jersey because I was a mother. Painting with children can be messy and require a lot of space. I reunited with visual art after moving to Santa Barbara. That’s when I started taking art courses and showing work around town. I involved myself with notable arts organizations and began displaying in group shows. I also took workshops from well known artists such as Skip Lawrence.
I’m both a poet and visual artist. One does not over shadow the other – my work in unified. Paintings are published alongside poetry in my latest poetry book, Cheer for Freedom.

LA: Please tell us about your goals for the future. MF: I’m always learning and taking classes. My goals include learning more, enjoying life and hopefully to selling more art so I can keep producing.

Artist Mary Freericks, Interviewed by Hali Galloway & Laila Alamiri

Visit the gallery at 927 State St., Santa Barbara, CA to see work from Freericks for yourself. If visiting isn’t an option, shoot us an e mail at