Life can be summed up in the seasonal world of nature. Sadness to joy, death to rebirth, destruction to renewal is the experience of living, in nature and in humans. The dark cold of winter gives way to the sunrise of spring, to a new day, new life and the healing power of art. Nature is our reminder that spring always comes. Nature is the focus of my art.
The secret of magic is kept within nature. I learned this very early in life as I tottered along behind my grandmother in her seemingly endless garden of flowers, or when holding the hand of my great aunt as we walked in the woods bird watching. Each flower painting is a remembrance of the healing that can be found in a garden, the hope of renewal, the joy of simple beauty. The bird paintings are the expression of a child’s wonder at these fascinating creatures that know the secret of flying. Each painting transports me to that happy time. Each painting shares that happy time with others.
Art has the power to heal. Art can inspire peace, restore hope, deflect fear. Art can turn sadness into joy. Inspired by the research of others, I sought to also show through research, that art is a tool for healing. My research was encouraging in the beauty of the effects art had on patients, nurses, doctors and other staff of a cardiac care unit in the Art to Heart Project at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Art can positively impact the healthcare environment. Artists can see their work make a difference in the lives of people who are hurting. As more visual art becomes a part of healthcare, more lives will be touched by the healing power of art.
My desire, as an artist, is to see my art make a difference in a positive way. Nature through the magical eyes of a child’s remembrance is a reminder that spring will come again with hope for a new day.
Mary Gwyn Bowen is an artist, registered nurse and art educator. In her art, she focuses on the beauty and color of nature. Whether it is the magical beauty of flowers and birds or the dramatic play of light on water, nature provides a wealth of inspiration for her art. Botanical painting is a favorite subject Mary Gwyn loves to teach. As a registered nurse, she researches and teaches about art’s role in healthcare.
Mary Gwyn obtained a degree in nursing from Excelsior College, Albany, NY and a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Corcoran College of Art and Design (now George Washington University), in Washington, D.C. She earned a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL and has attended the University of Florida’s Arts in Medicine (AIM) Intensive. She is a member of the American Society ofBotanical Artists (ASBA).
She received the Cecil Wallace Fordham Award for the Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas. Mary Gwyn is a former fellow in the Evidence Based Nursing Practice Fellowshipat Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she completed a research project using art in the cardiac rehabilitation process. The Art to Heart Research Projectwas published in MEDSURG Nursing, a journal of the Society of Medical Surgical Nurses in the September/October 2015 issue. She has presented a poster of the Art to Heart Research Project at Nursing Research Day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, at the Tennessee Hospital Association’s annual conference, and to the University Hospital Consortium Annual Conference, 2014 in Atlanta, GA.
Mary Gwyn teaches workshops in Botanical Painting and Drawing Her art has shown in festivals, galleries, and is in private collections.
Originally from Dyersburg, Tennessee, Mary Gwyn now lives in Jackson, Tennessee.