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Mary Valentine was born in Ottawa, Ontario on May 6, 1931. Her interest and aptitude for art began in her early years and she attended a variety of art classes, including studying with Ernest Fosberry. She attended the (short lived) Fine Arts Program at McGill University, graduating in 1952. While at McGill she had noted Canadian artists John Fox, Arthur Lismer and John Lyman as teachers.
After her graduation Mary married Barry Valentine (1927-2009), a theology student who would become a clergy member of the Anglican Church. They first lived mainly in the Montreal area, with Mary working first as an art teacher and later at the Bell Telephone Company creating advertising images for the Yellow Pages. With the arrival of her first child in 1954 Mary took a step back from her art, concentrating on raising her four children (John, Leslie, Guy and Michael) and supporting her husband's career. With her husband's election as Bishop of Rupert's Land the family moved to Winnipeg in 1969, where Mary would continue to live. Mary would go on to work in the library and teach Art appreciation at St. Johns Ravenscourt School after receiving her Manitoba teacher certification.
With Mary's 1978 separation from her husband she made the foray back into the art world, with her first show in 1979 at the University of Manitoba. As she neared 50 years old she made the decision to stop teaching and concentrate full time on painting, making a living solely from her art from that point onwards. Mary painted both landscapes and people, creating some notable portraits, such as that of the late Senator Gildas Molgot which is held at the Speaker's Portrait Gallery in Ottawa, as well as a portrait of Captain George Blagdon Westcott which is held in Allhallows Museum in Devon, England. She gained inspiration for her paintings from her travels, particularly her travels to Canada's north. Beginning in 1980 she travelled throughout the Artic, including a trip to Alert on Ellesmere Island at the invitation of Governor General Ed Schreyer. She travelled extensively throughout Nunavut (then Northwest Territories), but also spent time in Alaska, BC, Greenland and Newfoundland. In 1987-1988 Mary took an extended trip around the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Europe, while later years took her to Greece and Turkey. The people and the places of her travels are reflected in her paintings.
Mary's work was showcased in exhibitions throughout Canada and the United States at galleries such as the Buhler Gallery (Winnipeg), the Monkland Gallery (Montreal), the Mira
Godard Gallery (Calgary and Toronto) and the Plains Art Museum (Moorehead, Minnesota). Mary also held an annual show at her personal studio in Winnipeg. Her work continues to
be held in corporate, private and public collections, such as that of St. Paul's College at the University of Manitoba. Mary passed away February 21, 2016.