Pictures Mary Smith has produced as part of the challenge

Artist Mary Smith raises £2000 for good causes

Fri, 16/02/2018 - 09:20

Mary Smith has recently featured in the Derby Civic Society newsletter, highlighting her painting a day challenge, read the article below written by editor Maxwell Craven

Derby artist Mary Smith has been using her creative energy throughout 2017 by painting a picture each day since January to raise funds for and and to date has raised over £2000.

The challenge is in remembrance of her mother Joan Scarratt who suffered both a stroke and dementia. The funds will go to research for victims of these affiictions. Mary has put her teaching of art on hold in order to devote the time each day to create her paintings working from her studio at Banks Mill.

Mary began this marathon in January and continued until December 31st when she had completed 365 pictures. She is now preparing to exhibit the paintings at an exhibition later this year.

Mary was taught to draw and paint by her great uncle Frank Scarratt, the important Derby topographical photographer and watercolourist. This was in the 1960s when Mary was 10 years old and Frank was then aged 82. She recalls the art lessons at his house in Mickleover as being an inspiration, visiting him each week after school, taking along her sketch book, pencils and her mother's watercolour box, a childhood present. Uncle Frank would instruct her on the importance of light and shade. He had a good eye for colour and Mary watched closely as he mixed the watercolours, carefully applying them to the paper. It was magical and, having inspired her in childhood, she later took a degree in fine art at university.

Mary also emphasises the influence that her mother Joan and father Roy had on her creativity. Joan was an extremely accomplished musician, played the piano, Hawaiian guitar and composed ballads which she had published in the 1950s as sheet music. She also wrote poetry, again having her poems published in the Mickleover parish magazine. Roy was, like his uncle, also a very talented artist as a boy and won a scholarship on the strength of it, but it was only after his death that Mary found all his work. She recalls presuming that artistic pursuits in those days were not considered as career openings and speculates that he may have decided to not to show his work for some reason or other.

For a number of years Mary belonged to the Derby Sketching Club following again in Frank's footsteps, for he too had been a member in the 1950s and '60s.

Mary’s daily challenge involved 2-3 hrs of creativity a day. Mary uses a variety of media to work in: acrylics, watercolour, pastel, coloured pencils, inks, textured acrylic pastes and gels in order to create lots of variety in her work. During her years of teaching, she has experimented and shown a range of styles and use of different materials to her students, so the collection of these pictures is very diverse. Some of the paintings are landscape scenes others reflect abstract representations.

Mary will assemble all the works for an exhibition later in the year. Some of the paintings will be framed and some will be presented in small books of six pictures per book. All proceeds will be used to benefit the two charities which are supporting this challenge.

To view some of Mary's charity paintings you can visit her web-site or visit her facebook page.

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