Artist Bio - Mary Jane Q. Cross

Mary Jane Q. Cross

New Hampshire


Born 1951. Youngest in a family of three children, raised in Rockville, Hartford, and Manchester Connecticut. “  I knew I wanted to have beautiful things, and  to have them I would probably have to make them, I didn't know this was being an artist, until I was about eight. The strongest gift I think I have been given is a desire to paint rather than a natural talent.”


“Time goes away when I paint, it makes me think we were born for eternity, that what I do well has a timelessness about it that I can do forever” it makes me more certain that I was born to do this”

“ The only person I have to be better than is myself,”

“I would rather see something the wrong color than the wrong value.”

“I will pursue beauty all my days”

“Respecting beauty, truth, craftsmanship, wins over…. shock, ingenuity, novelty.”

Attending the Worcester Art Museum school in 1970 I received a contemporary Education.   Recognizing myself as a closet realist made me pursue my clandestine life with the Pre-Raphaelites, Gerome’, Metcalf, and Dumond.  The naïveté of what I expected to receive for my arts Education, set me on a course of pursuing a salon or atelier Education.  I would choose an artist’s whose work that evoked admiration  and respect, then would study them in-depth and take away what ever  needed for my own work. John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Camille Pissarro, Lord Leighton, Lawrence Alma Tadema, were all visited along the way. The little-known Bouguereau has been the one with the most staying power in my studies. That he was not in our history books was a disappointment. That he pleased the public so well was a joy. 


To learn drawing all over again I taught seven classical studies classes at a local Art Center.  It was a period of time of gaining stronger academic skills. This was also the beginning of my public portrait painting career.  In one year 105 portraits were done.


In 1983 I took a one-week workshop with Daniel Green in New York.  It was a catalyst for my strong interest in portraiture and began to lay the foundation for treating flesh in a colorist manner. I was painting portraits in preparation for what I thought was a mural painting career.  Multifigured, salon type of subjects, with strong composition was a focus for quite a long time.  Many Biblical murals were produced during this time, resulting in a one-woman show in 1991 at The Biblical Art Center Museum in Dallas Texas. Many of these paintings are in my hometown at one of the larger local churches.  They have also been published in the “Upper Room Magazine”, as illustrations and covers.


Continued study included many years with a 97 year old artist, Frances Weston Hoyt,(died May 2005) a student and Friend of Frank Vincent DuMond, an early 1900’s landscape American Impressionist painter and much loved Art Students League teacher for 59 years. The pallet that best enabled Fran to evoke the progression of hills and atmosphere and light affect, is the one that DuMond handed down to several of his students. It is not uncommon to meet fellow artists at shows or exhibitions that recognize each other from this identifiable treatment of the landscape and palette, who have studied with other Dumond students. At the present time the elements that are coming together to be able to produce the genre portraits that are currently being painted at Q. Cross Atelier, are Strong classical drawing, colorist flesh, and atmospheric light affects on the landscape and the figure in the landscape. Most importantly though is the element of being on my knees in prayer, to serve God who has made me, in this business of painting.


It must be mentioned that in 1992 I lost the ability to hold a brush due to a severe right-sided tremor that developed after 19 days on one of the most popular medications of all-time. For the next 5 1/2 years I began to live with a different aspect of my life.  It took all of that time to cope and relearn how to make the tremoring hand do the work I do today. As a result the work is predominantly finger painting.  95% of the painting is generally done with my fingers, another two to 5% is with a brush using prosthetic devices. 

Together with 21 years of mural restoration, conservation and restoration of paintings, a deep love for classical realism, and a large body of well known, figurative Biblical work, are some of the areas that have helped form the painter I am continuing to become.


Married to Mark Cross, childhood friend, ardent supporter and best critic.  “It's an absolute delight that I do what I love to do, but it is a joy that my husband loves what I do as well”

My work is signed with a thumbprint made into a Q.


Mary Jane Q. Cross

[email protected]