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Mary Forbes

from Thetis Island BC

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Mary Forbes

Mary Forbes [email protected]

I have always had a consuming interest in drawing, anything and everything that I could see. I started to get serious five years old when I entered a contest for making a crayon colored drawing. I won first prize; and I just knew I would be an artist.

I realized that my art was as necessary to my life as my physical and emotional health and consequently I have always had art in my life. I went maintain a long career as Registered Clinical Counsellor in private practice for over 30 years to support my family and my art habit.

I had two shows in Fort St John in 1969. I was particularly taken by the soft luminous landscape of the north…. and I drew with pen and ink, and a rubbing of chalk pastille to express the unique quality of light of the northern winter there. After returning to Victoria I had two more shows. I sold some paintings from Fort St John, and some in the same style that was infused with the joy I felt at returning to Victoria.

But I needed to find a new medium, pen and ink and chalk pastille did not seem to suite the west coast. I started to learn about watercolor, took some classes and simultaneously began my life on Thetis Island… everywhere I looked, was a scene begging for another watercolor painting to emerge. I found that watercolor painting captured the light and the passion of the lush West Coast. I had a show with the sculptress Simone Luckham at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on the Coast of Thetis Island and we called the show ‘Water & Stone’. Since then I put my watercolor paintings on large giclee’s, room divider screens, mugs, coasters and aprons and bags.

As time went on, it was almost as if I had painted in watercolor everything I wanted to and I experienced a lull in my art studio. Then, I stumbled on a new medium, and now I am bringing my passion for painting to a wool canvas, using a felting needle with locally hand died wool to create what feels like the spirit of the landscape, bringing together all the elements, all my experiences and all the various mediums to express the spirit of art. Recently I showed this new medium at a show at the Chemainus Theatre Art Gallery.

Art Portfolio


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The Cowichan Valley Regional District is a broad geographic region stretching from the Malahat to North Oyster and from the Cowichan Lake to Thetis Island.

The region's artists are represented by 5 sub-regional arts councils with support from the CVRD Arts and Culture Division