Painting From the Hart

09.20.2012 | Fine Arts, Campus and Community, Catholic
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Marilyn Hart has always had an interest in art, but she didn’t begin painting until she was 65 years old. She started painting to provide artwork for her seven children, but after visiting an exhibit at the Marian Library three years ago, she was inspired to begin painting images of Mary, the mother of Christ. 
 
Now, at age 79, the Oakwood, Ohio, resident will showcase 70 of these Mary paintings at her own one-woman exhibit in the Marian Library. Most of the works are framed and available for purchase with prices ranging from $150 to $350. Hart will donate any proceeds back to the Marian Library. 
 
"Faces and Flowers of Mary" will be on display Oct. 1 through Nov. 9 in the Marian Library Gallery on the first and seventh floors of the University of Dayton's Roesch Library. It's free and open to the public. Hours for the Marian Library are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; and Saturday and Sunday by appointment by calling 937-229-4214. An artist’s reception will be held 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7. 
 
The energetic paintings in the exhibit, in watercolors and acrylics, feature bright, vibrant colors and smooth, organic lines. Some are abstract, and others are more realistic. But they all have one element in common — Mary.
  
Hart has always had a strong devotion to Mary and looks to her as a role model. "The Blessed Mother was so courageous and strong," Hart said. "God could have chosen anyone to be the mother of Jesus, but he chose her. I strive to be more like her every day, but I always fall short." 
 
A number of paintings were inspired by another connection to the Marian Library, a book co-written by Sister M. Jean Frisk, I.S.S.M., the library's assistant for art and special projects, and local author and Marian Library volunteer Vincenzina Krymow.
 
Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations contains descriptions of 40 flowers named after Mary, with legends and meditations for each flower. Instead of focusing on the flowers, Hart said she wanted to do something different. 
"Everyone paints flowers. So I thought I would focus on the leaves of the flowers instead," Hart said. 
 
The leaf paintings are small and intimate and incorporate bright colors to depict beautiful representations of the leaves. 
 
Giving back is very important to Hart. Since she started painting, she has donated all proceeds to charity. The Marian Library and Catholic Social Services are her two favorite charities.
 
"Marilyn Hart lives in the University's extended neighborhood and daily absorbs what she calls its 'natural and heavenly beauty inside and out.' She's convinced the Blessed Mother has a special love for this place," Frisk said.
 
Hart attends Mass regularly at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, and she loves watching University of Dayton basketball. “I am a very proud member of the Flyer Faithful,” she said with a smile. 
 
For more on the exhibit, visit http://bit.ly/VctXcI
 
University of Dayton's Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute is a globally recognized center for the study of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and holds the world's largest collection of printed materials and artifacts devoted to her. The collection includes more than 100,000 books and pamphlets in more than 50 languages, and a vast collection of nearly 3,000 Nativity sets and Marian art from around the world. 
 
For directions and more information on the Marian Library, visit http://campus.udayton.edu/mary or call 937-229-4214.
For information contact Sister M. Jean Frisk at 937-229-4214.