Gordon, Marian Tregunno
Birth Date/Place: 1923, Toronto from parents immigrated from Devon, England
Death Date/Place: 2011 Halifax NS
Oil and watercolour.
Marian was a graduate of Kings-Edgehill, Windsor, NS and attended 3 years of a 4 yr. licentiate in music degree at Dalhousie. An independent, vivacious 16 -17 yr old woman in university was a novelty in those days. It suited Marian
Marian became housebound when her husband suffered a serious heart attack at a young age. At that time she took painting lessons and launched a lifelong passion for water colours and oil painting.
She was creative in all she did. She dressed with great flare and colour and sewed beautifully. A pink wool suit remains in her daughter’s memory because of the bright red lining. Marian was always learning in all areas of life. She took advantage of the university across the street and became particularly interested in existentialism. She lived well with self discipline and honesty.
A long time summer resident of Chester area, her cottage was named “My Blue Heaven” because she loved the colour blue. She was a full time member of the Chester Tuesday Painters. Each Tuesday this group of full time artists and hobbyists met and painted in watercolours while discussing each others work. She particularly shared her passion for her art with childhood, life-long friend Frances Turner and group member Hazel Shah . Marian was inspired by her environment Nova Sclotia's South Shore, UK, Europe and Bermuda.
She had shows at the Chester Municipal Heritage Society’s “Train Station”, several of which she shared with her sister, two daughters and fellow artists. Her paintings decorated a local restaurant where they sold reasonably well.
She enjoyed taking art classes. Her teachers over the years were Jeannie Edmonds Hancock, Zehava Power, occasional classes at NSCAD and towards the end, Janet Draper. Marian’s daughter Elaine who inherited her mother`s talent, believes the best painting she ever did was in a class where she had to finish her piece in one hour. The painting gave the impression of a bag pipe band.
She was not a community activist but water really concerned her. As a devout Canadian, she feared Canada`s water would be stolen. Apparently she even organized a petition to present to the federal government. She worked as a volunteer for the Halifax Children`s Hospital (IWK Hospital) fund raiser Kermesse. For 10 or more years, she chaired the Superfluity (home odds and ends) table. The garage of their home looked like a perennial yard sale much to the inconvenience of her husband. She convened the huge fair the year it was opened by Mrs. Georges Vanier, the wife of the Governor General ( 1959-67). Marian was extremely proud of the her photo with Mrs. Vanier.
Marian’s style was like the woman : strong, bright and joyful. During her last 5 years, as she battled old age and debilitating illness, but she continued taking lessons. Her style became more peaceful and serene. Elaine who shared the last lessons with her mother, feels she may have needed lessons as discipline to keep up her skills. Mother and daughter were separated at the lessons, because Mother was always ‘picking’ on her daughter.
At the age of 88, during her last week of life she painted her life’s path. The loose styling of random flowers, fading into soft colours became the cover of the manual for medical residents in geriatrics. PHOTO 3 Elaine interprets the blue Iris as her mother’s fight to live because of its sharply defined shape and colour. The remaining orange and yellow flowers, colours she rarely used, are everything else in her life she would soon be leaving