Nanaimo-based artist Mary Ann Fleming

Nanaimo-based artist Mary Ann Fleming

Artist reflects on her time in the Harbour City

Mary Ann Fleming celebrates 30 years on Vancouver Island with month-long art show.

For roughly three decades Mary Ann Fleming has been expressing herself artistically through watercolours, oil and acrylic paintings.

“My art is my life,” Fleming said. “Whatever intrigues me, whatever I am involved in, usually comes out in my artwork.”

During that time the self-taught Nanaimo-based artist has held dozens of shows and created plenty of art.

This month Fleming will be showcasing her work at the Art 10 Gallery, as part of their monthly-featured artist exhibitions. Fleming’s exhibit, which is called My Retro Show, is a reflection of her time here in Nanaimo and includes a piece from each of the 12 shows that she has had since moving to Vancouver Island in 1984.

“I know people always like to follow a progression of how an artist progresses over the years and how they change and move and what their interests are,” Fleming said. “So that’s what I did. There is once piece from each show and you can follow the order that I have done them in.”

Fleming was raised in Timmins, Ont., and  had been interested in art ever since she was a young girl. At the age four, Fleming, who was an avid drawer, was given a set of oil paints from her grandmother.

“It was a Christmas gift,” Fleming said. “She gave me this tiny little kit and I was just away. That was it. All my drawings became paintings.”

Following high school, Fleming spent time working in the newspaper industry in Ontario.

“I was involved in newspapers,” she said. “For five years I did an editorial cartoon for the Cochrane Times.”

In the mid-1980s Fleming and her husband retired and moved to Nanaimo, where she began to paint more frequently.

“I am self-taught because I do it from books,” she said.

Shortly after her arrival to the Harbour City, Fleming discovered that there were plenty of other like-minded artists in the area.

Fleming predominately works with watercolours, oil and acrylic and has also dipped into creating handmade jewelry.

When Fleming looks back at her time as an artist on Vancouver Island, she is grateful for all the creative people she has met.

“I would say meeting a few other very successful artists over the years,” Fleming said about her time on the Island. “The creative energy on the Island is just so strong.”

My Retro Show runs until the end of the month at the Art 10 Gallery inside the Nanaimo North Town Centre. Please visit or call 250-756-6136.

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