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PASTEL ARTWORK: Self-taught artist Mary Fields uses pastel to create her works of art

Self-taught local artist combines culture, color

LaGRANGE — Four years ago, Mary Fields had two major life changes: she moved to LaGrange and she discovered her affinity for art. Having moved to the United States in 2000 after being born and raised in India, she was used to moving. The art, however, was a different story.

Like most people, she had always been an admirer of art and the people who created it, but was hesitant to try her hand at it personally. After moving here and enrolling her daughter in an art class, she decided she would join in.

“I’ve always loved art and I’ve always wanted to paint, but I was afraid to do it,” Fields said. “Once I figured out that I was good at it, I realized that I had to practice. I knew what I had to do so I veered off from the classes and started doing it on my own.”

Immediately taking to painting with pastels and drawing with charcoal, she decided to take her education into her own hands. By watching professional artists create works on YouTube, she copied their techniques until she was able to use them to create her own pieces.

“With my style, I would like for it to evolve to where I am comfortable with it,” Fields said. “When I make something, I hope it makes me happy and that I am confident with what I made. I’m not trying to be somebody, I am trying to do what I want to do. I think every artist wants to achieve that.”

Fields practices art daily, painting or drawing in her free time when she isn’t working or homeschooling her daughter. To further develop her skills, she works with local artists and is a member of both the Visual Artists Alliance of LaGrange and West Point Fine Arts.

“The area is a great place for art,” she said. “It was a great place to meet professional artists.”

Moving to LaGrange and becoming part of the art scene was part of what made her passion grow to the point where Fields has been commissioned for her work.

“Now that we are in LaGrange and I’ve found art, it’s kind of made me complete because I’ve found something that I didn’t even know I was good at,” she said.

Fields feels that her art reflects the color and diversity of the places that she has lived throughout her life.

“I grew up around many different cultures,” she said. “India itself is made up of many different cultures, it’s a very diverse group of people, so I do appreciate the diversity of LaGrange. My pastel work is very colorful and has a lot of bright colors. India is known for it’s colors, its festivities and it’s diversity and I think that comes out in my art.”