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You are about to peek into my childhood and some wonderful memories.
Please take the time to read the descriptions so that you understand how the paintings came to be. I feel so fortunate to be able to create everyday. I am especially grateful to live in the most beautiful part of Ontario and to look out of my studio over the lovely rolling farmland of Caledon.
I hope as you stroll through the Memory Paintings you will experience the peace and joy I find in my work. Maybe you will recall a wonderful memory of your own.
Thanks for visiting, Mary.
After The Rain
What a wonderful feeling when the sun comes out After the Rain. Everything smells so good and looks amazing. The world seems brand new – just waiting to be re-discovered and enjoyed.
“April Showers bring May flowers.” The lovely thing about a warm spring rain is that as long as you have an umbrella you can venture out and enjoy the season. It is a bustling feeling because everyone gets their shopping done just a bit quicker but is happy all the same. It is a sign of things to come.
Weddings and christenings are wonderful family gatherings, made special by the loved ones who attend. I always enjoy these celebrations because they signify a beginning.
There are many signs of Spring. I fondly remember our neighbours all out on the first beautiful day, busily sweeping away Old Man Winter. The first day of skipping, bike riding and going to the park. Glorious!
This is the best day of the week. Everyone is converging on the little village church. Some early, some late, but all welcomed by the vicar on Sunday Morning.
“The twenty fourth of May is the Queen’s birthday. If they don’t give us a holiday we’ll all run away.” My grandmother used to sing this little ditty as she packed the picnic lunch. Our children always enjoyed the day long festivities in Binder Twine Park. This is a blending of my childhood memories and theirs. Thanks Queen Vicky for the first holiday of summer.
The school bus bumped along the country road in the afternoon sunshine. The apple trees were beginning to flower and that beautiful spring green was creeping into the countryside. On the bus they were daydreaming
about the end of the school year.
The magic of neighbours helping neighbours. In the old days the entire community came together to raise a barn. The men worked from dawn til dusk and the women cooked and helped and visited. The children played and there was a great sense of accomplishment in the end. I think of these wonderful times when I pass the lovely old barns.
Binder Twine Delivery Night
Kleinburg’s Binder Twine Festival is a re-creation of Charlie Shaw’s Binder Twine Delivery Night. Each year when the twine came in by train Charlie wanted to make sure the local farmers picked up their twine before his mice could eat it. Early in the fall he would invite them all to pick it up on the same day. He threw in some food and entertainment and it became an annual event.
Essence of Orillia
This painting was created for our dear friends in Orillia. Over the years they have introduced us to all the charms of this delightful city and its waters. It is beautiful in all seasons but summer is my favourite.
Fishing in the Humber
The first summer of my father’s retirement my parents would pack a lunch and a rod and tackle box and set out to find a tranquil spot by the river. My mother would read and my father would sit in quiet contemplation; not really caring whether he caught a fish or not. How blissfully bucolic.
Affectionaly known in the studio as “Ah Hahba” because it reminds us of the lovely little harbours in New England. I love to paint maritime scenes. The hustle and bustle of a seaport is always exciting.
Last Day Of School
Last Day of School
It was the best day of the year.
It was the Last Day of School!
There was great excitement in the air
as the children tumbled out into the
sunshine, clutching their report cards
and their CNE tickets.
Calling out “See ya next year.”
I always wished I had grown up on a farm. There is something so peaceful about rural life. The cows coming back to the barn to be milked is like the tide coming in – it happens without fail. It is sad that our family farms are disappearing. There are still a few of these beautiful homesteads to the north and west of us and we love driving around the countryside to see them.
I love the sight of a line of laundry blowing in the breeze. The heavenly scent of fresh air and sunlight. I remember Monday mornings on the street where I grew up. Every house proudly displayed crisp white sheets and towels. We used to run through the sheets. Do kids ever get to do that now?
Although rural properties are sometimes separated by concessions, country folk still manage to be good neighbours.
This is the best day of the week.
Everyone is converging on the little village church.
Some early, some late, but all welcomed by the vicar
on Sunday Morning.
Saturday in the Park
As a small child I went a few times to watch my grandfather play cricket. The St. Clair Cricket Club was near a park and I was always fascinated by the number of people enjoying their Saturday. While listening to a pianist playing ‘Saturday in the Park’ at an art show the memory returned and this painting danced into my head.
Saturday Morning Sailing School
This is the view on Saturday morning from our friends’ deck on Lake Muskoka. So enjoyable sipping a coffee and watching the trials and tribulations afloat. Can’t wait for the Regatta.
Everyone who summered at the lake remembers the regatta. Scattergood summers since the 40’s were spent at Wood Lake in Muskoka. The annual Wood Lake Regatta was held at Caribou Lodge on the south shore and was always great fun. A favourite memory is Grandad’s canoe, ‘Silver Bullet’ sinking at the dock at the beginning of the race! I hope this painting reminds you of your regatta.
Little boys have always been interested in speed and competition. Soapbox Derbies were a neighbourhood thing in the early 50’s. The rickety vehicles were constructed out of old wooden soapboxes and bits of junk…..and NO HELMETS. I realize that little girls like speed too but in my neighbourhood we sold the Freshie.
The Birthday Party
What happy memories are conjured up by the return each year of our birthday. Frilly dresses, pin the tail on the donkey and friends bearing gifts are just a few. Such joy to be the focus of the day.
Our daughter loved French in grade one and sang this simple little song constantly.
Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, ‘Vee o lette, Vee o lette,’
Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, Un voyage en ‘bee cee clette’.
I still love it.
The Carnival Comes to Town
We all remember the excitement of seeing the trucks arrive at the fairgrounds. Magically the carnival appeared the very next day. It was the local highlight of the summer, a glimpse into another world and everyone wanted to go. I loved going with my family when I was small but it was even more fun later to be able to go with my friends. Even today when I see them setting up in a parking lot I am immediately transported back to my childhood.
Early in the morning on market day the industrious farmers and vendors head To Market with their wares. I am happy that local farmer’s markets are so popular. It is the most wonderful way to shop and to meet your neighbours. I love getting to know the people who grow my food.
In the past the railway station was the busiest spot in any little town. People coming and going – waiting for the train or rushing to catch it! Train travel was definitely exciting.
Wedding in Kleinburg
Sharing in the magic of Kleinburg is a wonderful beginning. In days gone by Kleinburg weddings took place in the Methodist Church on Nashville Road, where the monument now stands. It was a large white wooden structure with frosted windows and was the heart of the community. Weddings in Kleinburg have always been special.
Apple Tree Farm
A sure sign of fall. The sights and sounds of the season intrigue me. I welcome the beautiful colours, the cooler weather and the abundance of fruits and vegetables. My favourite thing is biting into a MacIntosh apple in the great outdoors, closely followed by baking a fall apple pie.
Canadian Thanksgiving is at the perfect time of year. The crops are in, the days are still warm and nature is changing into its most beautifully coloured outfit. It is a busy time at the farm; gathering honey, picking apples pumpkins and corn, the apple pie bee and stalking the turkey, all in preparation for Thanksgiving. A perfect time to be thankful.
First Day of School
Everyone remembers the first day of school. I was always a little nervous about what this day had in store. Once we were all together again there was usually a feeling of excitement. Lots of chatter, new pencils and books and hopefully some new friends. The end of summer but the beginning of a brand new school year.
This painting was created as a project for my fall studio trip to Vermont a few years ago. Travelling through the Ontario and New England countryside we saw so many beautiful farms dressed in their fall foliage and looking very much like our painting. What a privilege to enjoy such beautiful surroundings with friends.
Fall in Caledon
The windows of my studio look out over a wonderful panorama of rural Caledon. I feel so fortunate to live in this perfect part of Ontario surrounded by lovely old farms and beautiful, rolling countryside.
Fall in the County
The hills and farmland of Dufferin County are breathtaking. Although I love the lush green look of the county in summer, it is the beautiful colours, delicious air and the bountiful harvest of fall that thrill me most. This is my favourite subject matter.
Fall in the Village
As the county changes clothes and dons the beautiful fall colours, the residents begin to prepare for the season to come. I love the activity and decorations of fall in the little villages around us.
This is a scene I have witnessed both
In Caledon and in Somerset. I must admit that the foliage in Caledon
was quite a bit more impressive.
I think Fall is my favourite season. The colour palette is exceptional. God’s gift of warmth before the long, cold winter. There is something about a big beautiful Harvest Moon that inspires me to count my blessings and realize the love around me.
River Ridge Farm
This painting was a commission by the sons, for their parents who own River Ridge Farm. It shows all the delights of this lovely farm. The cows are pets but the vegetables and eggs are delicious.
The magic of the four seasons is something we cherish in Canada. We never know when to expect the First Snow and it sometimes feels a bit early, but it is always exciting. It brings to life the anticipation of the season to come and the realization that we need to prepare for it.
Canadians Heading South
A Canadian Ritual. As soon as the signs of winter begin to appear Canadians begin to think south. I love the stirring song of our beautiful geese honking as they jockey for position in the chevron. This painting began in my mind as we jockeyed for position on the highways going south last year. I think we are all inspired by our beautiful Canada geese.
Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade
Anyone who grew up in or around Toronto has fond childhood memories of the Santa Claus Parade. It is the oldest and largest in North America. I remember getting up early and driving ‘downtown’ so we could get a good spot. My father often took a step ladder when we were small so that we could see everything and take up very little space. After Santa went in through Eaton’s Toyland window we would all stream in to visit him and see all the wonderful things for Christmas. A most magical day.
A tribute to the wonderful telling of “A Child is Born” at Kingsway Lambton United Church in Toronto. This magnificent production has been performed for more than 80 years. It is the perfect beginning to the Christmas season.
The age old tradition that signals the beginning of the festivities. Let Christmas begin. Entering the still silence of an evergreen forest
gives one a sense of peace.
Choosing the perfect tree and bringing it home is a privilege of living in Ontario.
What a wonderful holiday. Everything about Christmas makes us happy. The town, the tree, the carollers, window shopping and just being together. Our family feels so fortunate to have grown together in Kleinburg. It really is a Christmas town. We wish you a Merry Christmas all year.
Home for Christmas
Home – It is the place to be at Christmas. The most important part is being with family and sharing this time together.
Welcome back Merry Olde Christmas; the most magical holiday of all. This painting was inspired by memories of good times spent with family and friends. For a few days the world stood still, ready for comfort and joy.
My husband is a car junkie. We searched for many years for a 1936 Ford, the car in which his parents brought him home from the hospital. We finally found one in 2004. We are the third owners and we named her June after the old family Ford.
Skating on the Village Pond
On our way to visit family I love to pass the Palgrave Pond in winter. The town comes together and with the help of the volunteer firefighters creates the most wonderful rink, then they share winter afternoons and evenings enjoying it. The friendly small town atmosphere reminds me of the winter skating of my childhood.
Cutting Ice on Wood Lake
Before the refrigerator there was the ice box. Ice was harvested on the lakes during the winter months and stored in sawdust for use during the summer. My husband’s grandmother told us about the time they lost a team of horses through the ice while cutting. It always stayed with me and this painting is a tribute to that loss.
Five and Five
We usually travel the side roads to visit friends. As we travel along the 5th Concession we pass through Five and Five several different times. This painting is a compilation of those lovely intersections. I think it would be grand to live at Five and Five.
Good Ol’ Hockey Game
When the CBC lost the rights to “Hockey Night in Canada” Stompin’ Tom’s song, The Good Ol’Hockey Game was suggested as a replacement. It made me remember playing on the backyard rink and watching my brother and his friends play pick up hockey. Sometimes they even let me play, white skates, pompoms and all.
When our grandchildren were small we lived in a Sugar Bush. They loved the sugaring off. A wonderful day in the woods, pouring hot syrup on the snow to make taffy. How lucky we are to live in this part of the world where something so yummy comes from maple trees.
Oh No, More Snow
Winter seems to last forever. Just when you get all the snow cleared away you wake up to yet another thick blanket of white. While hoping for inspiration to create a spring painting, this scene instead came to mind.
Remember the joy of finding you did not have to go to school? A wonderful day spent in a winter wonderland of skating, skiing and snowman building – after the shovelling was finished, of course. These are the benefits of a Canadian childhood. I still think a good snow day makes everyone feel happy to see their neighbours and thankful to live in the four seasons.
Such jolly fun follows a beautiful pristine snow fall. We all remember the thrill of tobogganing, backyard hockey, snowman building and the magic of a sleigh ride. Ah, Winter.
Winter In The Hills
I was so happy with the cover of Winter in the Hills magazine, which bore my painting‘Christmas Holidays,
I was inspired in January to begin ‘Winter in the Hills’.
I love the variety of activities available when our rolling countryside is beautifully dressed for winter.
On a calm, crisp winter evening I often recall the lovely line from an old Gordon Lightfoot song “I would be happy just to hold the hands I love, on this Winter’s Night with you.” As I worked on this painting I could hear the jingle of the bells on the horses’ harness and feel the glow of the moon on the beautiful snow.
I’m not sure why but I love to paint clerical robes, especially the black and white. I have no explanation for why this image rocked into my head but I had fun imagining the boys this way.
Busy Back Alley
Sometimes the back alley is a social spot. People popping in and out and passing through.
End of the Railroad
There is a beautifully preserved little wooden church on the Old Barrie Road near Orillia, Ontario. This little community was the end of the underground railroad in Ontario. The land was originally given as a burial ground and the building was constructed later. I am always moved when I pass this place.
One of my favourite Somerset towns. I have painted the famous Tor many times but this is the lovely town from the other direction, set in the ’70’s; a period of time I enjoyed in Britain.
Kleinburg Chicken Coop
This lovely old structure was just down the road from our home and it fascinated me.
Pierre and Janet Berton always said the Canada Dry Co. started with Kleinburg water from the pump at Hwy. 27 and Nashville Road by the chicken coop. Notice the little red pump.
This is a traditional early American style of painting. The term ‘Early American’ refers to the continent without borders. It is not a political statement but a feel for what went before. I love the peacefulness of this style and this painting is my impression of that genre.
What an exciting thing – the first automobile. People came out of their houses to watch one pass by. The horse is a bit worried. He’s not sure why but he feels this will not bode well for him.
This painting was inspired by archival photographs of Toronto which are a passion of mine. I thought it was fascinating that the Flat Iron Building on Wellington Street in the St Lawrence Market district, was initially so close to the lake. It makes us realize how much of Lake Ontario has been reclaimed. Ah, progress.
Our holiday in the Tuscan hills outside of Siena was a magical time spent with friends. It is not often that I paint outside of my studio but the absolute beauty of Toscano in spring was truly inspiring.
This painting is a result of the joy of seeing protected old buildings in the shadow of development. I know progress is inevitable but I truly hope that all of the beautiful old buildings will not be lost. We cannot appreciate our present if we do not honour our past.