These drawings are my personal meditation on the meaning of the eight Beatitudes. Using traditional Christian iconography as a starting point, I created images of birds and plants symbolically and visually appropriate to each Beatitude.
Mary Lee Eggart was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was educated at St. Joseph’s Academy and Louisiana State University, where she received Bachelor’s and Master’s of Fine Arts degrees in printmaking.
She retired in 2011 from the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology where she worked for over 30 years as a Research Associate in cartographic design and scientific illustration and as an instructor in cartographic design. She continues to work as a consulting cartographic designer.
Her colored pencil and watercolor drawings focus on avian wildlife and other natural forms.
As a child Mary Lee was surrounded by creative visual expression. Her father was gifted in drawing and design, and her mother directed a community arts program. Her uncle, the painter and art professor William Moreland, showed her how to see the abstract possibilities in nature.
Her botanist grandfather taught her to think about nature scientifically and showed her the beauty of flora and fauna functioning within their ecosystems. Together they studied the birds at his backyard feeder. As those birds began to appear in her work, her avian interests expanded from the scientific to the aesthetic and to the metaphoric. Art history offered a precedent for melding love of nature with the precepts of a strong Catholic faith inherited from her mother and grandmother. She feels an affinity with the late-medieval artists whose carefully observed portrayals of nature also express a spiritual message.