Mary lives with her husband John on a small horse property in the beautiful Yarra Valley. Whether at home, traveling or on holiday on the Mornington Peninsula she has for many years enjoyed recording and interpreting her surroundings through her artwork.
Mary grew up at Mount Dandenong in beautiful mountain surroundings within a large family and creative home environment; her mother being very artistic and her father also greatly enjoying the visual arts. Mary loved drawing from infancy and studied art throughout her secondary schooling. Her initial primary teacher training involved a major study in Ceramics (Pottery) and for many years while she and her husband John were bringing up their three children she set up and assisted the family income with a small hobby pottery business. During this time Mary also undertook further courses involving painting and drawing, and also taught adults within the community arts network. Over these years annual exhibitions at home featured both pottery and paintings, generally watercolours. Freelance illustrating was also undertaken for the local school and community groups.
As the children grew up Mary did further tertiary art study and returned to teaching. In the last ten years of her teaching career Mary taught art at Upper Yarra Secondary College within the subject areas of 2D (painting, drawing, printmaking,collage), 3D (sculpture, hand built and wheel thrown pottery) and Studio Arts at VCE level. She retired in 2010 to focus on her own artwork.
Mary’s landscape art is centred on working with oil paints, where she likes to celebrate and share with others her visual awareness and great love of places of beauty and interest within both the Yarra Valley, the Mornington Peninsula and distant places where very recently she and John have traveled to. Mary works in a tonal and realistic style, citing Streeton, Meldrum and Beckett as influences. Mary is however particularly interested in the effects of weather and the subsequent light on a particular landscape, and capturing the changing atmospheric effects. Her son Peter’s study and work as a weather forecaster has certainly heightened her interest and understanding in this and there are many enjoyable and useful discussions as to the particular visual effects that occur because of the weather. Mary particularly enjoys capturing the cloud and sky mood and the interrelated and ever-changing surface of water and its surrounds. Time of day, and weathering and aging of surfaces and structures are also of great interest.
Mary likes to work on site as much as possible, usually taking a canvas to the spot and blocking in the major tonal areas and attempting to set the colour, mood, light and weather effects of that moment. Detailed sketches and some photographic reference from the site are useful back in the studio when completing large canvases. Mary treats photographic referencing with a degree of caution as while maintaining a sense of realism she like her personal interpretation to be very evident. Some works are completed wholly on site. When traveling to distant places such as Europe, Asia and other parts of Australia Mary is very active with creating a visual diary of water colour sketches which provide a host of stimulus for larger canvases later.
More recently Mary has enjoyed completing on site pastel sketches of dressage horses and riders, sometimes working on a larger scale using ink washes too. She may be seen at local dressage competitions quickly creating sketches, where she attempts to capture the power, grace and movement of individual horse and riders. Mary greatly enjoys the artistic challenge of the task; her own lifelong love, enjoyment and knowledge of horses being of assistance for this aspect of her work.
Mary is delighted to be again part of this year’s Yarra Valley Open Studio’s event to be held September 13th and 14th 2014, when her and other artists’ studios will be open to the public. see www.yvopenstudios.net.au
Mary can be contacted through email@example.com or by calling 0432 714 304 for viewing and purchasing her work or for commissions, her studio is open by appointment.