Art links

Mary K. Stahl

Biography and Resume

Intrigued and inspired by the effects of light in the natural landscape, Palo Alto, California resident Mary K. Stahl attempts to record the phenomenon in her pastel, oil and acrylic paintings. Working outdoors on location as much as possible (en plein air) allows her to engage all her senses to observe nature first hand and capture those moments in time on canvas. Her pastel landscapes, in particular, have been described as having a peaceful or "dreamy" quality that permit the viewer to be transported into the scene. When working in her studio, she strives to create a unique sense of time and place in her paintings. Mary also enjoys creating colorful floral still life paintings and exploring various lighting conditions that create a bit of drama in the scene.

Mary earned her B.A. in Art at West Liberty State College (now University) in West Virginia. After moving to the SF Bay Area in the early1970's, she taught children's arts and crafts classes at the Palo Alto Junior Museum, and coordinated the children's noontime art studio at Fairmeadow Elementary School in Palo Alto. She also worked as a special education classroom aide for the Palo Alto Unified School District, helping handicapped children learn through art-making.

Taking a lengthy detour from the art and education world, Mary joined SRI International and eventually became manager of Internet host and domain registration at the ARPA/DDN Network Information Center.

She worked for several years at NASA Ames Research Center on the NASA Network Information Center project, and at the Internet software company Nominum in Redwood City creating technical documents, web sites and graphic design before returning to the wondrous world of fine art.

In addition to her college art education, Mary has studied in the San Francisco Bay area with several well-known Bay area teachers and she has participated in many painting workshops. The California painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries have greatly influenced her work.

Mary's work has been juried into many exhibitions and she has also been selected to participate in in several significant plein air festivals and events: Los Gatos Plein Air, Carmel Art Festival, San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival and North Tahoe Plein Air.

Professional memberships include the Pastel Society of America, the California Art Club (Associate Artist), and the Pastel Society of the West Coast where she is a signature member. Mary's work has been displayed at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, the Triton Museum in Santa Clara and the Butler Museum of Art in Youngstown, OH. She has participated in several plein air painting events, including the prestigeous Carmel Art Festival where she was awarded the “Fine Art Connoisseur Emerging Artist Award” in 2011 by Jean Stern, Executive Director of the Irving Museum.

Mary's work can be viewed here on her website ( or in person at the Portola Art Gallery at historic Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, CA.


Selected Exhibitions

  • Local Color. Solo exhibit. Portola Art Gallery, Menlo Park, CA. Jul 2019.
  • Plus One. Group exhibit. The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA. May - Jun 2019.
  • Pastels on High. Biannual Open International Exhibit.Carmichael, CA. Jul - Aug 2018
  • Open Spaces and Quiet Places. Solo exhibit. Portola Art Gallery, Menlo Park, CA. Apr 2017.
  • Solo exhibit.Mildred Owen Concert Hall. Pacifica, CA. Oct 2015.
  • Vistas. Two-person exhibit.Burlingame, CA. Jul-Aug 2015.
  • LandEscapes. Solo exhibit. Portola Art Gallery, Menlo Park, CA. Apr 2015.
  • Winter Wonder. Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, CA. Dec 2017. Honorable Mention award.
  • Pastels USA 2017 International Open Exhibit. Morro Bay, CA. Oct - Nov 2017.
  • Carmel Art Festival 2017. Plein air event. Carmel, CA. May 2017.
  • Los Gatos Plein Air 2012. Los Gatos, CA. Jun 2012.
  • Carmel Art Festival. Plein air event. Carmel, CA. May 2012.
  • A Century of Landscapes. Selections from the California Art Club. California Historical Society. San Francisco, CA. Jul - Oct 2011.
  • Carmel Art Festival. Plein air event. Carmel, CA. May 2011. Winner of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine's Emerging Artist Award.
  • North Tahoe Plein Air. Truckee, CA. Sep 2010, Sep 2009.
  • Santa Cruz Plein Air Affaire. Museum of Art and History. Santa Cruz, CA. Jul 2010, Jul 2009.
  • IAPS Sixteenth Juried Exhibition. Butler Museum. Youngstown, OH. Jul-Aug 2010.
  • Pastels USA 2010. Art Museum of Los Gatos. Los Gatos, CA. Jun-Jul 2010.
  • Carmel Art Festival. Plein air event. Carmel, CA. May 2010.
  • Pastels USA 2009. Triton Art Museum, Santa Clara, CA. Jul-Sep 2009.
  • Seasons of Martis Plein Air Event. Truckee, CA. Oct 2008.
  • Pastels USA 2008. Haggin Museum. Stockton, CA. May-Jun 2008.
  • A Breath of Plein Air. History San Jose. San Jose, CA. May-Sep 2008.
  • A Brush with Nature. Triton Art Museum. Santa Clara, CA. Jan-Mar 2008.
  • Rivers & Harbors/Sources & Confluences. California Art Club. Pasadena, CA. Nov 2007-Jun 2008.
  • Los Gatos Art Association Annual Member
    Juried Show. Oct-Nov 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006. Honorable Mention Award 2008.
  • Paint the Parks. Placed in "2nd Mini50 Category." Aug 2007.
  • Mother Lode Show. Placerville, CA. Aug 2007, 2006.
    Honorable Mention Award 2006.
  • San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival ‘2005. San Luis Obispo, CA. Oct 2005.
  • Los Gatos Art Fest. Los Gatos, CA. Oct 2004.

Professional Affiliations

Pastel Society of America
Pastel Society of the West Coast, Signature Member
American Impressionist Society
California Art Club, Associate Artist
Landscape Artists International
Los Gatos Art Association

Sierra Pastel Society


Gallery Representation

Portola Art Gallery [at Alllied Arts Guild]
75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Phone: (650) 321-0220




This web site, its textual content and images, copyright © 2003-2017 Mary K. Stahl. All rights reserved.