Mary grew up on an acreage just outside of Edmonton. She acquired degrees in the arts and nursing at the University of Alberta interspersed with some world travel, marriage and then three daughters. The latter of which was truly life-altering.
Mary has been both a practicing artist and nurse for most of her adult life. She has found them to be mutually rewarding professions due to her lifelong interest with portraiture. Mary’s gallery exhibitions have been giving way to her preference for more direct and personal commission work.
Most recently, she has been exploring the therapeutic nature of the portraiture process specifically as it applies to the elderly population which is her current focus in her nursing career. She has participated in the “Artists on the Wards” program at the University of Alberta Hospital. She is a current member in the Alberta Society of Artists and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour.
Share the Beauty
I am an artist and a nurse who has come to appreciate and extol the physical as well as spiritual beauty of aging. As a nurse, my job is to empower people to realize their potential wellness through psychosocial and physical care. As an artist, my aesthetic goal with the elderly is to express the beauty of aging: rice paper skin, meandering lines, embedded eyes that see forever, strained postures and distorted joints burdened by the physical decline of time’s fate yet glowing with an existential beauty undefined by words. A beauty that is lost in our youth-oriented society.
I am working on a body of images comprised of character studies of some of my patients and acquaintances. Before the visual impact of this grace, there emerges a process which never ceases to amaze and engage me. During the drawing comes a story, often autobiographical; perhaps inspiring a kind of life review that may facilitate confirmation of self-worth despite the many and complex situations that often prevail at any given moment in the life of the elderly. Even if there is no verbal interaction, I detect satisfaction for the sitter.
There are writings on hope fostering (Forbes, 1994; Nekolaichuk, Jevne, Maguire, 1998), reminiscence telling (Farran, 1990), narrative therapy (Kropf and Tandy, 1998) and Hermeneutic phenominological research (Carper, 1978; Van der Zalm, 2000; Moloney, 1995) that could allow a credibility for the experience as, if not therapeutic, a positive, desirable one. Moreover, I hope to broaden the scope for human beauty throughout the life course.