I stopped in at Mary Hong’s gallery in Grayton Beach (FL panhandle) and visited with Mario, her long-time gallery manager.  I was amazed all over again at the beauty of Mary’s work.  It had been years since I was in the area, and this trip reinforced my previous musings that there’s something about Mary’s unique glass art that’s more than a framed image that hangs on a wall, and more than pieces of glass on canvas.

There’s something alive in it.

This is what I sense when I open a box Mario has shipped to me, and this sense of alive-ness is even more pronounced when I enter Mary’s gallery.  Everything comes alive… I feel more alive, the room feels more alive, Mario on his stool seems like the brightest guy (I’m sure you really are, Mario!), everything seems brighter and happier.

I consider why this is…the studio lighting reflecting off the glass, the resin making colors and dimension bounce off the canvas and into the room, the harmonious images of sealife, trees, skies, water….nothing still about them.

It made me curious about the impact of this kind of art on the places where it hangs. Then I remembered hearing that Mary’s work was in the new spa at the Henderson Inn in nearby Destin.  With all of this “aliveness” bouncing around in me, and my curiosity piqued, I made an appointment for a facial at the spa to follow my inquisitive nature.

When I arrived at the spa, I asked the lovely women at the welcome desk about Mary’s work, and they BEAMED…again, that aliveness of spirit and surroundings!

“She’s my favorite local artist,” said Patty (I’m changing names not to protect their identity but because I am terrible with names and forget them in the same minute I hear them!),

“I have one of her pieces at home!”  Then Patty turned and pointed to the two images on the wall behind her, giving a nod to a guest’s first impression when they enter the spa.  The two figures, a male and female, are a stunning Picasso-style rendition of a couple in Mary’s unique style of glass on canvas, drawing every visitor’s eye. Patty then took me over to one of the treatment areas to show me more of Mary’s pieces. Even in the midst of the other amazing decor at the spa and the other unique artists featured there, there’s something about Mary’s.

Waves, seascapes, the emotions of nature themselves work with the glass and resin to enliven the spaces they are in, and the people taking them in.  I actually was thinking I already felt lighter in the space, and I hadn’t even had my spa treatment yet.

Mario had told me that Mary’s work is making its way to other states, that she had a spot on a recent HGTV episode,  and she even has kits for sale to make her style of art at home. I imagined couples, children, my grandparents sitting around tables making Mary’s glass art, their faces lightening, their homes brightening as they put their imaginations to their own creations.  I tell Mario I am happy for Mary’s success because there really is something about her style and medium that draws us in.  And like every really good recipe, I can’t quite put my finger on Mary’s secret ingredient. But that’s a good thing…that’s what makes it magic.