Mary Knowland originally trained as a potter and worked for many years producing stoneware, then black and white porcelain ware. After taking a course in textiles with the Open College of the Arts, Mary went back to her drawing and painting roots. Her father Dennis Knowland had been a painter and taught her a great deal from an early age.
Mary comments, “My work currently encompasses three main themes, the land, the figure and water in its various forms. Works range in scale and price and use a variety of media. The desert landscapes are oil on canvas, the figure is represented as both drawings in charcoal or ink and oil on canvas. Seascapes tend to incorporate several media, acrylic, ink, pastel, collage, and charcoal.”
Both ink and charcoal encourage Mary to work quickly and vigorously, using her whole body to draw the whole body. This allows each drawing to express the individual with freedom of line and flow of energy, communicating something of the humanity of the model. Each drawing records the trust and honour in the experience of both model and artist being fully present with one another.
Mary has lived and worked in and around Oxford for most of her life, as an artist and teacher. She currently takes a more Zen approach to making art, i.e. not looking at the work in progress, only at the subject matter or sometimes simply with her eyes closed, letting the hand brain coordination take over. This allows her to feel where she is on the paper, and become more aware of the position and the presence of the forms she is painting. This results in a pure essence rather than a slavish representation of the subject. The more complex works do require looking for the layered background areas, thus providing a contrast to the freedom of line and brushwork in the subject.