Art by John DMabry

 
 
 

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John Mabry

Art by John DMabry

Redondo Beach, CA

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Born in Paris, France and migrated to America with my family as a youth, in fact, I was a baby being transported with my Mother, among the colossal task--thousands of babies that came to America with their G.I.dads who had married French brides and were bringing them home. I'm told that they sailed aboard vessels of all kinds--converted liberty ships and freighters, even Navy ships that were loaded with women and their infants. Without benefit of their G.I. husbands, they sailed across the Atlantic, en mass with Navy escorts. I'm told I was one of them "army brats" lucky enough to be brought to California (thru New York) after all!

Among the more colorful homes we lived in, was a quonset hut with a kerosene stove at U.S. Camp Roberts, CA. Barren territory but with lots of wildlife and cool stuff to explore. California, as I recollect was truly as Steinbeck's books depicted it, trains galore, even the Pacific Electric trains and trollies. Our new Southern California home in Long Beach was filled with a variety of artwork. I guess my Mother must've briefly introduced me to painting. When my Dad was busy trying to sell insurance policies in addition to wearing his uniform, we lived pretty modestly and I didn't have much of an allowance. Also, I don't think I'd even figured out what "artists" did, or why, until I was about 11 or so. But being an athletic kid, I enjoyed many outdoor sports instead, surfing, sailing and baseball. My early youth was filled with frequent ocean visits to nearby Palos Verdes Cove. I first encountered surfing at that spot, famous now, for localism and we'd also putt around Long Beach a lot, riding in Mom's flame red '52 MG TD, a very cool little English roadster. I had the Pike amusement zone in Long Beach which was part of the 1936 Olympics, a place called the "home of the Cyclone Racer" an enormous wooden roller coaster. I was too short in height to ride the creaking monster.

Dad was an Army warrant-officer and taught me about black and white photography and printing, using the enlargers at Fort MacArthur's darkrooms when I was 9. I was hooked. That was very early-on, but certainly established a deep interest in image-making and some photo processes. Writing became a strong interest as well.

Sailed to Europe with my Mother, aboard the "Queen Elizabeth" to visit my many French and Belgian relatives. The ship was a fascinating maze, with the gift shops and upscale clothing parlors, selling fine candies and china. Wonderful woodwork and classic furnishings, really knocked me out. Aboard ship, I had learned of the famous "les cheveaux" gambling games, played almost continuously in the game parlor. Carved and painted wooden race horses, moved about by a well-dressed team member, while the other man would crank a large cage filled lotto-sized balls with numbers that corresponded to the game piece, moving the horses on a large painted oval, lavishly painted on the wooden ship's floors. Great fun among 50 or 60 players seated in the parlor's plush loveseats and captain's chairs. The English have such a lovely manner and style, but curiously I think, they tend to use men as ushers or, as responsible attendants, rather than women. A curious habit a bit chauvinistic perhaps...For me, the colorful melange was a memorable gift --Aboard an English ship, and surrounded with circumstance, I had won two expensive bottles of champagne and about $20 in all, while playing, a wide-eyed kid with gambling tokens--it was fabulous fun, getting to play gambling games with all those adults too! I celebrated my 12th birthday, complete with a cake and songs and about a dozen passengers, aboard the ship "Queen Elizabeth" which (was) a sister-ship to the larger Queen Mary. As fate would have it, being built 1/3 or so shorter in length, the heavy weather we encountered on the water, caused a brief emergency, the steel coverings had to be bolted over the glass portholes while we pitched and yawed like a tiny paper hat in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean--for 6 days! Our cabin smelled, er wreaked of cedarwood. Everything was made of it cabinets and the cabin walls were covered with it. Oh to have a million Pencils in my 8 by 8 quarters! Wow did we get seasick! First me and then Mom. It was quite surrealistic time for us, landlubbers heading East in those heavy seas, into frozen Le Havre, France. When we departed New York harbor, it was in early February of 1958, and every moored ship was 'iced-in-place' as well as ours. Statistically, that year turned out to be among the coldest Winters on record! I learned about real COLD that year! AND...fishing and duck-hunting in Belgium....a sportsman's paradise.

At 22, I began my art education at a Southern California junior college (L.A. Valley College), and did a great deal of drafting and drawing. I won a full scholarship to attend Disney's academy, the California Institute of the Arts, earning my B.F.A while I made my living as an artist, making artwork --first as a sculptor then as a graphic designer and occasional photographer for advertising firms. I opened a studio in sculptural work and sold worldwide for over a decade with the help of marketing representatives. Tried pottery for a short time, free-lanced around L.A., shopped my portfolio and book, then I landed a professional position working for a City. In Community Development, as the Graphics/Marketing Coordinator for a little town outside Los Angeles, I set-up shop with computerized graphics, redesigning their City Seal and Logo, did multi-media architectural visualizations, worked with developer's mall designs, created monthly magazines and posters, new street signs, painted murals, architectural signage projects, police and city vehicle markings, and established the city's "municipal identity" and provided instructional design projects for Council and administration and public events before finally accepting an urban planning position and leaving civil service.

I'm self-taught as a watercolorist and feel deeply gratified for having successfully marketed myself in the arts and am blessed to be able to presently enjoy painting in my studio at home. I thank the Lord for his abundant gracious gifts, and by his grace, helping me to bring beauty into my personal created images....everything from drawings and portraits to plein-aire landscapes. Posted here on FAA, are a couple-dozen of my photo images and paintings which are not only a subjective translation of what I see, but an outward emotional expression of how I choose to portray the world. Many of my outdoor subjects are painted, on-site, using the highest grade watercolors along with the finest European-fabricated papers--ALL built for ultimate color-fastness and extreme longevity.

If you have any questions regarding FAA's print-on-demand services, remember, all prints by FAA are GUARANTEED SATISFACTION or you'll be fully refunded if dissatisfied. Thanks very much for visiting my gallery of paintings here on FAA! I'm continually adding new ones, so please check back every couple of weeks to see my latest work and feel free to comment. Stay heathy and keep painting everyone!

 

 
 

Reaching for Home

 
 

Sharing the Bounty

 
 

Humpback Whale

 
 

Summer Home

 
 

My Dream Vacation

 
 

Kern River Light

 
 

Verdon Gorge

 
 

La Belle Epoch

 
 

Summer Heat

 
 

Magic Trail

 
 

Surfing California

 
 

Antiquities

 
 

Tuscan Shadows

 
 

Coronado Afternoon

 
 

Topanga South Yacht Club Malibu

 
 

Garden Study

 
 

Minstrels Retreat

 
 

Experimental Paris Sketch #8

 
 

French Rain

 
 

On Blue Bayou

 
 

La Jolla Shores

 
 

Paper Rock Scissors

 
 

Old Los Angeles

 
 

Baja Surfhut