It’s that time in my blogging month – guest blogger week! In this week's blog post I am excited to introduce you to another of the 'creatives' that I have had the pleasure of getting to know. I would say meet, but Mary Derrick and I haven’t actually met face-to-face yet (that will change this summer ;) We were introduced virtually by a mutual friend who thought I would like Mary’s work. And DID I?! I checked her website and immediately bought a piece. I include here again but you will recognize it from my Instagram and Facebook posts.
As with so many of us, pursuing her creative passion is an encore career for Mary. Read on to learn more and be sure to check out her website. And, if you are in the Peterborough, Ontario area this summer, drop by her studio (days/times noted below).
Enjoy the post and I hope you are as inspired as I was by the peace and beauty of Mary's work.
Have you always been a painter?
No, I haven't. I always loved the arts, but was really just a dabbler. Then in 1997 I was at the cottage with my husband and in-laws, at a time when my mother-in-law, a wonderful woman and water colorist, was nearing the end of her time and she was confined to her bed. I thought, “What shall I do to help her through this time?”and I thought well, painting is her passion, I'll see if she'd like to teach me how to paint....she was thrilled and excited so, that's really kind of how it all began.
She would tell me what to do from her bed and I'd be in the kitchen following her instructions and I'd bring it in and she'd critique it... so in a wonderful way she truly inspired the love of painting in me. I found later that really water colour wasn't my medium, so I switched to oils in 2008 and still dabbled while I was working full-time in a very high stress job. Then in 2011 we moved to the Peterborough, Ontario area and I was able to focus my time on painting ever since.
If not, what did you work at previously?
I spent most of my working life in the fashion and jewellery industry. I worked in pretty much every single area of the industry, from sales, to advertising, district management, buying and designing lines of private label clothing and jewellery, visual merchandising, to my last position as VP of a national chain of jewellery stores. Thankfully every position always had so much room for creativity that I was always challenged and enjoyed every stage of my career!
What attracted you to painting?
I've always been drawn to colour, texture, and movement; when I was younger I just loved to look at paintings that I could get lost in. I was always drawn to art that was representational or abstracts because with both of these there is room for your own imagination to take you where it would like to go, every time you look you might see something different in the piece or experience a different emotion. I also was fortunate enough to travel quite extensively and to have gone to some incredible art galleries, museums, etc. All of that impacts you.
How did you make the transition to painting?
Once I gave up corporate life, there was no going back for me. It was truly a sense of release to pursue my dream of putting my emotions on canvas.
Are there skills in from your previous work life that you made use of in your painting biz?
Oh definitely, primarily as it relates to colour & texture, but also in my last position where one of my responsibilities was picking the finishes for new stores/kiosks as they arose. That made me very aware of décor and in some ways all of these experiences have influenced me to some degree.
What are the biggest challenges of your painting biz?
That's a great question! I think like most artists the biggest challenge is to get your art seen by as many people as possible. I personally love meeting people who love art, so that one-on-one interaction for me is important. So, while I do use social media, I love opportunities to meet people face-to-face.
What gives you the greatest joy and pleasure of your painting biz?
Well first it's creating it because for me it's very much a meditative process that I love. I start with the blank canvas, with no preconceived idea of what the end result will be, though I do use primarily skies and water, sometimes fields, to project what I'm feeling onto the canvas. My art is not about places, so much as it is about feelings.
The other truly great pleasure comes when I open my home gallery to the public, or do outdoor shows as the reaction of people seeing my work is so positive and affirmative! I love to watch them: first they just stop, then the shoulders go down, then they breathe, they smile, and I can literally seeing them relaxing, and that makes the hard work all worth while! One of the most common comments I hear is, “Wow I feel like I've entered the Zen Zone” or words to that effect. When I hear/see that relaxation taking place I know I've accomplished my goal to create art that will allow people to pause and relax.
How/What do your paintings contribute to interior décor?
I'd say my paintings add a calming, relaxed feeling to a room. I purposefully try to keep my work very minimal, as by removing the detail and clutter one can look and get lost in the feelings of relaxation. With life being so very busy all the time these days, its so important to take the time and to surround ourselves with pieces that bring us that moment of 'aaaah', that moment to allow ourselves to simply relax.
This summer May/June/July/Aug I will be opening my home gallery one weekend each month (Sat-Sun, 10:00-4:00 p.m.), possibly the 2nd or 3rd weekend - I am still trying to determine that (check the website for updates). I will also be at the Lakefield Jazz and Art festival (July 7th in Lakefield, Ontario). This is my favourite event as the music is always exceptional and everyone bebops around in a great mood.
Mary’s website is https://www.maryderrickart.com. You can also find her on social media: Facebook (always the MOST current site), as well as on Instagram and Twitter as MaryDerrickArt. If you would like to contact Mary and inquire about purchasing one of her paintings, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org