Margery McBride Elliott spent much of her childhood exploring Canada’s wilderness with her family, and she has shared these experiences on canvases that reside at The Gallery on Main.
McBride Elliott is a resident painter for the Gallery, meaning her work remains on display at the facility at all times. Recently, she was the featured artist of the Gallery for her series titled Pathways.
“There isn’t any one thing that inspires that series, aside from natural Canadian landscapes,” the artist said.
“Growing up, we spent every weekend in the mountains. We hiked all over the place, and I’ve been on a million trips. My dad is still out in the mountains every weekend, and he’s 76. It’s played such a big role in my life.”
All of this time spent in the great Canadian backyard left her with many memories to draw inspiration from. She said that she takes pleasure in painting these types of landscapes because each is significant in her memory.
“I like to capture different moments in time. All of the places I paint are places I’ve been. They’re all trips I’ve done, so there is a story behind every piece.”
McBride Elliott said that she likes to keep her palette simple because she enjoys mixing and playing with her staple colours. She said that for landscapes, she uses similar tones but for abstract art, she is much more playful with colour.
“My palette is very simple – I have maybe six colours that I use for the pieces. They just get me where I want to go. With the landscapes and these colours, I’m comfortable. I’m starting to branch out a bit. I paint a lot of rocks, so I use three colours to mix for my grays. I can make them warm or colder and really change it to what I need,” she said.
“With my abstract I’m branching out a bit more. That’s when I play with colour – abstract art for me is purely playing.”
She said that currently, she is taking some time off of painting for herself to recharge and focus on her family. At the same time, she is slowly working towards finishing a few landscapes and exploring multi-media art.
“I want to focus on some embroidery, because I started using that with abstracts and I’d like to explore that a bit more. I have some landscapes that I want to get out, but I want to play a little bit more with the abstract and getting that tactile quality,” she said.
“I did a lot of abstract in university but I focused mostly on landscapes until recently. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve picked up abstract work again.”
McBride Elliott was trained at the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with majors in both painting and photography. Currently, she works at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, where she facilitates children’s programs and teaches them about the art.
“With the art programs that I deliver, we talk about how it is okay to see different things in art. We aren’t from the same families and we don’t have the same experiences,” she said.
“I think that it’s really important that people take something from art that is their own – otherwise, it lacks meaning.”
She said she hopes that people derive meaning from her art, whether it is a memory or simply an appreciation of her work.
“I want people to enjoy my work. It’s so individual and everyone sees something different in a piece – it’s purely based on experiences. People can take whatever they like from my work. If it reminds them of a certain time or a certain place that is awesome but I don’t expect people to see them the same way I do.”
Her work can be viewed at the Gallery on Main, or online at mmestudio.ca.