Debut solo exhibition from local artist takes viewers on a nature walk

A new, solo exhibition by Mary McLeod titled A Walk Through the Forest runs at the Hicks Gallery until April 23, 2021. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

A local artist is hoping to take people on a walk in the woods, just in time for spring.

Mary McLeod’s first solo exhibition, A Walk Through the Forest, opened at the John V. Hicks Gallery at the Prince Albert Arts Centre Thursday. The show features a collection of paintings by McLeod that she’s done since 2012.

“I’m pretty excited because it’s a first for me to have a solo exhibition,” she said.

“They’re pictures that I’ve done over the years as far west as Vancouver Island and as far east as New Brunswick.”

While this is the first time McLeod has had a solo show, she’s no stranger to the local arts scene. McLeod is a member of the Kyla, Aurora and Studio 1010 artist groups, and has painted for the last number of years based out of her Prince Albert home.

McLeod was born on Vancouver Island and says that’s where she developed her love for trees.

“I just love walking and watching how the light plays through the trees, and how the colours change,” McLeod said.

“There’s just something magical about it.”

McLeod said that as she walks, she keeps an eye out for paths that take someone in or a tree that sprawls across the canvas. Some of her paintings come from pictures she’s taken herself, while others come from photos taken by others, and some come from her own imagination.

While many of the paintings depict trees, others show mushrooms or other plants that might grow on the forest floor.

The exhibition has been programmed by the Mann Art Gallery.

Mann Art Gallery director/curator Marcus Miller said it was clear from McLeod’s exhibition proposal that she put a lot of time and thought into her paintings.

“I could tell… that she is passionate about these places. For her, they’re very contemplative places. There was a kind of a spiritual significance to these places,” he said.

“She has really dedicated to painting these places that are meaningful to her.”

When she got the go-ahead, McLeod said she was thrilled.

“I love painting green,” she said. “I tried to pick the (pieces) that I felt would give the impression of the experience for someone that they would feel like they’re in nature. I’m hoping it would give the impression that somebody is on a nature walk and soaking up the green, the organicness of it.”

She hopes others can also escape into the woods with her through her work.

“After we’ve had all this white and winter, it’s perfect because it’s spring,” she said. “Everybody’s waiting for the green to come.”

A Walk Through the Forest runs until April 23.

A live-streamed virtual artist talk will be held on the Mann Art Gallery’s Facebook page on April 1 at 7 p.m. Visit for more.