A Conversation with Mary Frances Millet – Artist

Mary Frances Millet has been a successful artist for many years, but when she decided to try something new, she was suddenly propelled into a whole new world. She wanted to create a coloring book to celebrate her town, Schenectady, NY. We all know coloring books are hot, but she never expected it to take off the way that it did. She even was awarded a Proclamation from the City of Schenectady.

The books flew off the shelves and she had to print another round. Sales are still going strong, and now she has been asked to do other areas as well (stay tuned). She is also adding in a new coloring book component to her services - personalized coloring books. Using family photos or photos from events, she creates a personalized book for each client that orders.

Mary is also famous for her beautifully painted silk scarves. Customers can custom order one, or choose from her current selection.

Are you interested in learning to paint your own scarves? Or would you like to learn some art tips? Be sure to check out Mary's classes that are offered throughout the area.



Tell us about your Schenectady coloring book.
It is a 60 page book with hand drawn illustrations and accompanying text.

How did the idea for the project start?
I noticed the coloring book trend not slowing down. I thought it was just a fad but it has become a phenomenon. People are catching on to the fact that coloring is therapeutic; as is all art making. We artists have known it all along.

I went looking for a coloring book about Schenectady since there are so many wonderful things about this town, past, present, and future. I call it the Town of Firsts because so many things were invented here, mostly thanks to the scientists of GE.

Where can people buy it?
The Open Door, Folklore Society, Mikes Hot Dogs, Via Aquarium, Garafalos, Civitellos. Soon to come will be Ellis Hospital, MiSci, Proctors, and more. I have been approached by a publisher so I will have it published this year too.

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I am a third generation Schenectady, NY native

What did you like to do growing up?
Draw and paint. And read.

What is your current business?
Creative entrepreneur. I am an artist instructor, designer, illustrator, watercolorist, and silk painter.

How did you get into art?
My parents placed me in art classes at an early age. They were extremely supportive of my creativity.

What is your background/training?
I spent 2 years at an art school in Maryland and many years in private classes with several watercolorists. I also hold a degree in occupational therapy from Maria College and a degree in Sociology from Albany.

What is your favorite part about your business?
Designing images

What is one thing about your business that most people would not know?
That I hate making cold calls to sell myself. I'm learning to be more comfortable with it as I know how important it is. But I hate it.

What other projects do you have going on right now?
OMG, too many. I'm kind of ADHD when it comes to ideas. They come to me day and night. T-shirt designs, coloring books, paintings, scenes for my silk scarves, classes where I teach at Arlene's Artist Materials, Saratoga Art Center, Saratoga Library, HVCC, and my friend and art therapist Heather Hutchison's newest space at CREATE Studio in Schenectady. I get a lot of ideas from taking photographs everywhere too.

How can people find out more about your classes?
CREATE's classes will be on her website. The Saratoga Art Center's class is being developed. Saratoga Library demo on silk painting is May 5. I'm also formulating workshops at Art Fusion in Black Mountain, South Carolina. Information will be available online.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My art! Watching movies on Netflix, spending time with my friends and family and my 4 year old grandson.

What don't we know about you?
I was in the service for 3 years.
I'd like to be a motivational speaker and a stand-up comic. LOL

Any advice for aspiring artists or people that just want to let their inner artist out to play?
Don't give fear space in your head. Just create. Learn how to market yourself. There's a lot of talent out there. You have to promote yourself constantly. But don't forget to rest too.


To learn more about Mary, visit her website at maryfrances.faso.com.


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Photo Credit: Mary Frances Millet
Photos Copyright (c) Mary Frances Millet. All rights reserved.

Photos are not to be used without prior permission and license. 

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