Award Winning Artist Samantha McNally Joins HQ Gallery


HQ Gallery on First St. in Benicia is proud to announce that award-winning artist Samantha McNally has become one of their member artists. Her work will be on display year round and is currently on exhibit during the “Say Yes to Art” show. McNally says that HQ is a beautiful gallery and a great space to present artwork.


When asked why she decided to be a painter she said, “It’s like a meditation. Even though it can be several hours of intense concentration, it’s also calming. I think you’re born with the love of doing it, but it takes learning and practice to be good at it. It’s fun and exciting when someone loves your work enough to have it in their home.”


By teaching classes on Zoom she helps emerging artists learn about painting with water colors. She uses two cameras, one facing her and one facing the painting she is creating. “Zoom classes will probably continue after the pandemic,” she says, “because the students can be in their own studio space and not have to transport all of their equipment each time. Everyone is more comfortable and I can still give them feedback about their progress.”


One of McNally’s greatest pleasures in the art world is when she is asked to be a judge for a competition, which she has done several times recently. “It’s a real compliment to your work,” she says.


While attending art school for several years, Samantha started with oil and acrylic painting. After taking a class in water color, she was hooked. She loves what she can do with the colors. She says that learning is the key to successful water color painting, knowing how to control the paint and what it will do when your put the brush to the paper. Planning is also key, sketching first and knowing exactly where the image is headed.


She enjoys working “en plein aire,” meaning painting on location outdoors. “It’s a challenge because of the wind and the sun. You have to be quick.”


McNally has won many awards and shown her work in an extensive list of competitions over her career. Many Benicians saw her painting of The Depot, which was the face of the 2017 Art Walks on banners, ads and brochures. She has held many positions in the California Water Color Association, including Director. She also creates and maintains websites for many artists and organizations.


You can see more of Samantha’s work at


HQ Gallery is open Thursdays through Sundays 12-6 pm and is located at 333 First St. Suite D, in the historic Washington House building. More information is available at

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