Art Show "Spirit of Place" by Mary Neville and Emily Thomas

Reception: Sat., April 13th, 5 - 7 PM
Show runs from 4/11 to 7/6

Mary Neville

Mary's Story

Mary Neville was born in Santa Monica and grew up in Malibu. After studying merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Mary grew her love (and talent) for composition and color. She began working in clothing, but this was just the beginning of her creative endeavors.

In her twenties, Neville fulfilled her dream of living in San Francisco, where she worked in a commercial art gallery. At an opening, a middle school classmate recognized her - and before long, they were married!. They started their family in San Francisco but wanted to raise their children in a small community like Malibu, where they grew up. A friend recommended Ojai, and they’ve been there ever since!

In Ojai, Neville initially embraced the role of a stay-at-home mom before returning to her love of composition by working in furniture merchandising. In her free time, she helped with an elementary school art program. During this time, she took her first mixed media art class. She loved the medium! Neville incorporated her new skills into a school auction piece with the children’s handprints. This early success inspired her to dedicate herself to a career in art, with a focus on mixed media.

Mary's Art

Neville had her first solo exhibition in 2015, just a few years later. She was juried into Ojai Studio Artists - one of the first contemporary artist members.

Now a full time artist, Neville paints everyday after taking her dogs for a morning hike. She paints until the canvases “stop talking” to her. Neville works on over 20 pieces at a time, to keep herself from overworking her creations. Crafted with intention and avoiding cliche, her titles are important and meant to invoke feeling. 

Neville is a person of many passions - she writes every morning and enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. Not one to keep still, Neville loves change and is committed to continual growth, always wondering what her next step is.

Emily Thomas

Emily's Story

Emily Thomas, a lifelong artist, grew up in Maine. She pursued her BFA in New Hampshire, first studying printmaking then focusing on painting. Despite her initial aversion to painting, she remained determined to master the medium. She simply didn’t have the space for printmaking outside of school. 


Thomas is a creator at heart, and this was true throughout her working life, where she pursued jewelry production, landscape architecture, gallery directing, and ceramics production. Seventeen years ago, she made the bold move to California, without knowing anyone in the area. Thomas had visited Ventura once before, so she found a place in downtown Ventura and never looked back. 


During that transitional decade in her life, Thomas continued sketching, but drifted away from painting. The pandemic marked her renewed passion for painting. In summer 2023, she completed an art residency in Maine. This proved pivotal for her career, encouraging her to explore more abstracted landscapes.

Emily's Art

Thomas has made the leap to a full-time artist, supplemented with teaching children’s art classes.


Thomas fuses her art with other passions, like hiking, mountaineering, and backpacking. She packs her watercolors, searching for places with just the right feeling - vistas with a minimal, calm composition. Her watercolor studies from her hikes become references once she’s back in her studio. 


Her studio is nestled in a sunny corner overlooking downtown Ojai. Thomas, an Ojai Studio Artist member, paints five days a week, usually in the late morning to afternoon. Her paint is a way she can wordlessly express herself. She works in acrylic, starting first with crazy colors and then calming it down with subsequent layers. 


But art is with Thomas always - as is her sketchbook, so she can create whenever the mood strikes.

You can view Mary Neville and Emily Thomas' stunning works at Fox Fine Jewelry from April 11th to July 6th. Join us for their reception on April 13th.

See more of Neville's work here.

See more of Thomas' work here.

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