Please welcome Mary Fassbinder and Bridgit Lee as this month’s artists in the Whitell building lobby!

About Mary Fassbinder: “As a painter, my main source of inspiration has always come from our earth,” says artist Mary Fassbinder. Being the tenth of twelve children the enchantment of the woods and lakes of the mid-west is where Mary found a quiet place to connection with nature. Moving to California in 1982 she developed an unbreakable bond with this epic landscape. With such alluring motivation, Mary sets out through every season with her easel and paints in tow to paint in the open air—a practice known as “plein air” painting—looking to challenge herself to capture even a glimpse of nature’s raw reflection and of those who inhabit it.

“Painting en plein air constantly grounds and humbles me in my shortcomings as a human and an artist,” she notes, “yet it also awakens a yearning to connect with what I feel we are losing.”

Over the past several years, this yearning has prompted Mary to embark on an extraordinary project: painting en plein air all of the National Parks in the U.S. and U.S. territory in just under four years. This project, which she started in August 2014 and completed in June 2018, was ambitious and challenging, and there were times when she wasn’t sure she could or would complete it. Ultimately, however, she pushed through all obstacles, and in the process, discovered a way to inspire others to persevere by her example. “Not only was I aware of my burning desire to finish this project because of what it meant to me,” Mary adds, “but I also found people who are just as passionate about preserving this land and bringing awareness to them.”

Sharing her talents in a variety of ways, such as collaborating with students to create artwork that is auctioned off to raise funds for the Petaluma school system is one of the ways she can give back to her community. Mary also donates her own artwork to a number of local charities, such as “Mentor Me,” “Petaluma Education Foundation,” “Hospice” and many more. “Giving is equal to receiving,” she says.

About Bridgit Lee: The daughter of an art teacher, Bridgit was born and raised in the rolling hills of Petaluma, California. She fondly remembers being pulled from school to accompany her mother to art and museum openings on a regular basis. From a young age, Bridgit has always enjoyed being creative – with an artistic eye, she sees the beauty and possibility in most everything.

Her medium of choice has evolved, from sewing and denim creations to mixed media art.
Currently Bridgit primarily works with low fire clay. “I build for light, I reach into my clay bag to create light for myself and others.”

Contact Info for Bridgit: and