Art reaches the deepest parts of us, sometimes so deep that we can be almost stunned by its effect. it can cheer, enthral and sometimes even stop us in our tracks.

I was deeply saddened and shocked this week to learn of Mary Gilkerson’s gentle passing in her sleep from an aggressive breast cancer. Mary has been a shining light in the art world to her collectors and students, and her sudden loss is utterly devastating to her family and friends, not to mention her thousands of students and followers all over the world. Mary was an excellent artist, fun and full of good advice, her beautiful spirit shone from every single one of her paintings.

I have joined her free five day challenges a few times, especially when feeling a little stuck. I even used to challenge myself to paint for twenty minutes a day for five days, even if the challenge wasn’t running; such was her gift as a mentor. Her authentic voice both as an artist and a teacher has been truly inspirational. My next series of works will be more landscape based and I will be diving back into her treasure trove of resources when I need to add more light or depth.

I’ve spent the last two years working on the emotions via expressive abstracts which culminates in a large solo exhibition next month at rural arts in Thirsk called ’Can I See My Feelings’. May 6-20th. Open Tuesday to Saturdays 10-4.30 pm. Emotions are fleeting, and we are not our emotions, and yet they influence so much of our daily lives. We can experience grief, sadness and even joy all in one day, and sometimes in an hour.

I salute Mary for the joy and happiness she brought so many people, for her kindness, for her skills as an artist and me tor and for the light that shone from her through her art and in her teachings. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. I believe she’d want us to keep painting and showing our art.