By Barb McKay
Mary Ann Kissner is a familiar name in the Kincardine art community. She helped to form Visual Arts Kincardine, which later became the Victoria Park Gallery, and was a member for 25 years.
This month, Kissner is exhibiting her exquisite watercolour paintings as a guest artist for VPG for the first time. Largely self-taught, she gained an interest in art while attending Delhi High School.
“They had a painting class and I thought, ‘I’d like to paint,’” she said after hanging her works of art in the featured artists’ room at the VPG.
The class was using oil paints and Kissner did not like the fumes, so she went out to the local five and 10 cent store and purchased poster paint. She still owns the first painting she completed nearly 50 years ago of a child holding a puppy. Kissner moved to Teeswater and took an outdoor art class. It wasn’t long before she was teaching, offering classes in Wingham and Clinton. Her first class included 20 novice artists.
“After about a year of teaching I said, ‘now we’ll see the fruits of your labour,’” she said. “So, I arranged an exhibit at the new Wingham library. They were so nervous and so excited. About 400 people attended.”
It was around that time that Kissner entered the art scene in Kincardine and joined with fellow artists to create Visual Arts Kincardine. She remained involved for 25 years before moving to Thorold. “It’s been a journey and I’ve enjoyed it all along,” she said. Kissner has maintained her passion for watercolours and while she creates some of her works on canvas (a few of which are included in the VPG exhibit) she prefers to work on paper. Her subject matter is primarily nature scenes, several inspired by visits to Algonquin and Haliburton. Kissner’s beautiful paintings will be on display throughout the month of June.