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From the October 2011 Conservationist

A painting of a squirrel at the base of a tree, with nuts, pinecones and leaves by Mark Verna

Nature on Paper

By Mark Verna

When I was seven, trees and animals were my first subjects. Since then, I have been continually inspired to paint and draw scenery of the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks.

An autumn scene with a wagon wheel, and pumpkins by Mark Verna

My art has evolved over the years, but realism, or some form of it, has always held my interest. I enjoy paintings with strong time of day, a certain light or evening look, and will use bolder colors at times. Fall images are at the top of my list. I use pastels, oils and acrylics, and my work ranges in size from 11" x 14" all the way to 5 ½ feet! The bigger they are, the longer they take to complete-up to four months.

I take many photos as reference for my art; a "wow factor"-something that inspires me the second I walk into a scene-is how I determine a subject to photograph and then paint. My artwork, then, is a representation of a time and place that touched me. And, if my work inspires others in some way, that's the icing on the cake!


Mark Verna has been painting since he was first inspired as a boy by his grandfather's farm in Naples, NY. He lives in Monroe County, and his work can currently be seen at the Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, The Art Stop in Webster and the Mill Gallery in Honeoye Falls.

A painting of a brook running through the woods with an angler fishing in the distance
Who Heard the Tree Fall?

Who heard the tree fall? The meandering creek going from shade to sun was the inspiration for this large pastel. I also loved the fallen tree that crossed the creek, and as this is a popular trout steam, I decided to add a fisherman in the distance.

A smooth river in fall surrounded by trees in fall foliage
Ausable Fall

When creating the oil painting Ausable Fall, I focused on the intense sunlight I had seen on one side of the water. I also liked depicting the light filtering through the leaves and the underwater rocks. The falling leaves were my personal addition.

A pastel painting of a road curving between trees in yellow fall foliage
Durand Delight
Durand Delight: This 12" x 16" pastel painting depicts a road meandering through Durand Eastman Park at Lake Ontario just after a fall rain; the sun was coming out and the trees were almost black with rain-soaked bark. I was inspired by the strong colors and perspective, as well as the element of sun peeking through the trees in the background.

An oil painting by Mark Verna of a forest in the fall with sunlight filtering through the foliage
Inner Sanctum

Inner Sanctum: This 36" x 66" picture was my first large painting done in oils. I was excited about the different directions that the trees took, the canopy of leaves that surrounded the two main trees, and the sun in the background. The falling leaves in the foreground were my own personal touch.

Photo: Mark Verna