Mary Ann Gerwing is an active member of the Chemainus Sketch Group and the Ladysmith Arts Council.

Mary Ann Gerwing is an active member of the Chemainus Sketch Group and the Ladysmith Arts Council.

Mary Ann Gerwing is inspired by landscapes

Sherry Bezanson of the Ladysmith Arts Council profiles painter Mary Ann Gerwing of Chemainus in her Community Art Showcase column.

Mary Ann Gerwing is a member of the Chemainus Sketch Group and an avid painter of her surroundings. She is inspired by landscapes and works primarily in acrylic and watercolour, but she loves to experiment with mixed media, graphite and charcoal.

Gerwing grew up in Humboldt, Sask., and since then, she has lived on three continents, teaching and exploring the world. She taught junior high and high school for 37 years.

Following her artistic senses, she moved from Victoria to Chemainus in 2004 and found a creative circle in which to immerse herself. She is an active member of the Chemainus Sketch Group and the Ladysmith Arts Council.

Her images come from deep within and are her own particular poetry expressed in paint. She yearns to capture things in a unique way, in a stroke, in a simple execution, rather than a complex piece of work. At times, she strains to get the depth of the message through in a simple way that is compatible with this desire.

“I like to empty myself of mundane things and go beyond the ordinary. I look for excitement in daily things; a consciousness that I’m not conscious of,” describes Gerwing.

To empty herself, Gerwing walks and goes out in nature. This helps to empty out her soul in preparation for the profundity she seeks in painting.

She is inspired by trees, landscapes and the natural world around her. Gerwing is a frequent painter — sometimes she paints daily; other times, she takes a break from her work and prepares canvases and attends galleries.

She is inspired by art that has a social commentary. Her favourite artists are minimalists: Wolf Kahn, Gerhard Richter and local artist Dennis Brown.

Gerwing’s works can be found at the Ladysmith Art Gallery showings and, at times, in local cafés and businesses.