Local artist uses mixed media in artwork

Mary Grace’s love of colour splashes over from her paintings into her studio and her life.

Mary Grace’s paintings “Kaoekema” and “Aukaneechi” hang in a corner of her colourful garage studio. The artist’s work was on display for the public Sept. 22 and 23.

Mary Grace’s love of colour splashes over from her paintings into her studio and her life.

The Sylvan Lake artist’s garage floor, which serves as her studio, is splattered with paint. Her paintings, some hung, some painted directly on, decorate the walls. The walls themselves are painted a bright lemon yellow, contrasted with the turquoise of the ceiling and the garage door.

Outside, bright daisies, petunias, and chrysanthemums grow abundantly in her garden and sit in vases on tables.

“I love colour,” said Mary Grace. “It helps us balance.”

She believes all colours carry energy, with increased energy coming from more vibrant colours.

Her colourful space was open to the public Sept. 22 and 23. Those who came were invited to don an apron, pick up a paintbrush, and add some of their own colour inspiration to a wide stretch of fabric covering a table. Paint and glitter were supplied.

Mary Grace uses mixed media in her artwork, including everything from broken arrows and bear fur to seashells and jewellery. She likes to use different textures, and doesn’t always have a concept in mind when she begins a new piece, opting to “throw stuff down” and let it evolve by itself.

“What’s going on in my life shows up,” said Mary Grace. “Art reflects life, definitely.”

Mary Grace has lived in Sylvan Lake for over 20 years, enjoying life by the water. She draws inspiration from her surroundings, nature, people, and music. She also believes in the concept of past lives, and uses her artwork as a way of exploring herself.

“Everything all connects,” said Mary Grace.

Two of her most prominent paintings, “Kaoekema” and “Aukaneechi,” were the result of “throwing stuff down” and exploring a past life. The first appeared as Mary Grace applied layers of paint to her canvas, when she realized he was a First Nations warrior. It took her 20 years to complete.

The second, completed in 2009, was created as a companion to the first painting after an inspirational vision. Mary Grace believes the woman in her vision, the subject of her painting, was herself in a past life.

Mary Grace cites Jackson Pollock, Emily Carr, and Vincent van Gogh as artists who inspire her. She said her style has become looser and freer over the years, with more texture, concepts, and subject matter.

She is thinking about organizing a series of art classes for those interested, in addition to a possible artists’ co-op.

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