What’s New?

“Cosmic Elk” Heading to Cheyenne

“Cosmic Elk,” 14×11 watercolor on Aquabord, was selected for the Second Annual New Frontiers Art Show & Sale to be held Nov. 3-Dec. 3, 2023 at Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. 

New Card Sets!

Cosmic Animals, Woodland Creatures, and Autumn Scenes 2: new small (4.24×5.5-inch) card sets available at Art Center of Estes Park, Homestead Fine Art Gallery in Berthoud, or from me directly. All are blank inside. 

Pastel painting of a brilliant blue lake inlet surrounded by vibrant fall foliage with Tetons in the background by Mary Benke

“Lyrical Landscapes”

Featured artist show at the Art Center of Estes Park
April 30- June 7, 2021

I was delighted to be the featured artist at the Art Center of Estes Park from April 30- June 7. For the show, which I called “Lyrical Landscapes,” I explored some new techniques. I created some highly textural oil pieces, with the use of water-mixable oil paints, cold wax and some unique implements including a silicone bowl scraper, spatulas, a steak knife (!), along with more traditional brushes and palette knives. I also concentrated on developing distinctive “mark making” techniques in my pastel paintings. 

I find that painting opportunities exist everywhere. I work primarily from photos of my travels and explorations, often doing a quick thumbnail color sketch on site. In the studio, I focus on not only re-creating the scene, but evoking the senses and feelings experienced during the time the photo/sketch was captured. Included in this show were a few “imagined” landscapes—places that I wish existed but that don’t, at least I haven’t found them yet….  

lyrical landscapes by mary benke reporter herald

Click here to see this article online.


“Frosty Stroll” Juried into PSC Show

“Frosty Stroll,” 12×8 pastel, was selected for the Pastel Society of Colorado’s Small Works Show “Little Gems” to be held Nov. 8, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024 at Collective Community Arts Center, Lafayette, C