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Mary Michael Shelley

Folk Art Americana Painted Wood Carvings

I take pride in making one of a kind and original artwork.

Subject matter for much of my self taught folk art art can be divided into a number of series: diners, farms, vacation/outdoors and dreaming.

Diner Series:

Sullivan's Diner with Waitress, Horseheads, NY- carved and painted folk art americana

I originally started doing pictures of diners, waitresses and restaurants because I was fascinated with them as places where people, isolated during the rest of their day, could come together just to “be” and feel a sense of instant belonging. After all, I also found myself (the artist working alone in her studio for most of the day) going to them for the same reasons. The diner pieces are often about hunger and waiting. The waitress or cook is always about to serve coffee and eggs. Customers are always impatiently calling out their order or waiting to have that coffee cup filled back up.

Farm Series:

Barn With Garden, Geese in a Swirl - carved and painted folk art americana

Just as in the diner series, my farm life pictures portray cows and farmers who wait, patiently or not, to have their needs met. Recently I have begun to do more farm art that focuses on the barn itself as a symbol for waiting and enduring. I love barns, cathedrals of space inhabited by the wind and hay. As a child, I spent many happy hours playing in our own barn at the farm where I grew up. I'm an avid gardener so that's why, whenever I can, I do pictures of gardens.

Vacation and Outdoors Series:

Sailing, Cayuga Lake, Me Alone in Sailboat in a Storm - carved and painted folk art americana

Over the years I have carved many pictures that remind me of my vacation travels to Cape Cod, Puerto Rico, and the Adirondacks. Recently I’ve spent a lot of time sailing on Cayuga Lake, so many of my more recent sail boat and outdoors pictures are inspired by gentle time spent on this body of water. I feel best when I am outdoors.

Dreaming Series:

Dreaming Icon with Copper and Two Birds - carved and painted folk art Americana

The dream series is often metaphorical, feeling based and visionary. Here I would include my “Yes” pictures, my guardian angels, and pictures that relate to my feelings about family. Just as my dreams might process the events of my day, I use my dream artwork to make sense of the events of my life.

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