The Women’s Art Association of Canada (WAAC) is pleased to present:

During her extraordinary life, Mary Hiester Reid (1854-1921) produced over 300 mesmerizing still life and landscape paintings. A member of WAAC, and the first woman artist to have a solo show at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hiester Reid’s remarkable example opened a door to a hundred years of Canadian painting by women. Her Century At Last, a 21st-century celebration of her legacy, brings together the art of eight members of WAAC in a salute to the shapes, colours, subjects, tones and styles of Mary Hiester Reid.

VIEW IN-PERSON* OCTOBER 8 – 30, 2021 in the DIGNAM Gallery at 23 Prince Arthur, our heritage building located a 5-minute walk from the ROM in Toronto, Canada.
Gallery hours: Tues.-Sat. 9:00-4:00

*COVID-19: Public access to the gallery is guided by government regulations and protocols. All visitors must be fully vaccinated.

VIEW ONLINE SCROLL DOWN to view artwork and artist information presented alphabetically. To learn more about the artists, please follow the links to contact information, WAAC portfolio pages, artist websites and social media. Search by artist name in the list of PARTICIPATING ARTISTS. The online gallery will be available for viewing in the Past Exhibitions section of the website after September 25th.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 5:00- 8:00 pm IN-PERSON Exhibition opening, book launch, and signing by Flower Diary author Molly Peacock.


Alison GalleyHeather Gentleman, Mary Lennox Hourd, Carolyn JongewardMargaret Rodgers, Jocelyn Shaw, Catharine Somerville, and Anita Stein.

For artwork inquiries, please contact the executive office manager Cal Lorimer (, or visit the WAAC office.


Mixing Bowls
Oil on canvas
15” x 30”

Layla’s Roses
Oil on panel
12” x 12”

Yellow Tulips
Oil on canvas
14” x 14”

Still Life with Pears
Oil on canvas
12” x 18”

As a realist painter of florals and still life, I feel a natural affinity to Mary Hiester Reid.  Like her, I am inspired by the beauty found in nature and in everyday domestic objects.  The genre of still life has provided us both with opportunities to explore colour and light, and the play of both on different surfaces.  Capturing the subtleties of light, and how it describes form is a consistent theme in our images.  Like Hiester Reid, I work with oils in a realist manner and derive great pleasure from intently observing details and pushing the limits of my painting skills.  For me, Hiester Reid’s work conveys a timeless tranquility which is what I strive for in my own images.  I hope the viewer can experience a momentary, contemplative escape from the business of modern life and appreciate the beauty that is found in everyday objects and natural forms.




Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
Beeswax and oil on linen,
9′ x 3′

Immortal We Descend
Beeswax and oil on linen
45″ x 45″

Immortal We Ascend
Beeswax and oil on linen
45″ x 45″

You walked a way beside me to make me sad to go
Encaustic on canvas
24” x 18”

My work is narrative in nature, finding inspiration in literature, anthropology, mythology, and symbolism. Imbued with psychological undertones and observation of contemporary culture in a historical context, I explore how ideas, themes and social mores recur and are paralleled from one time period to another and how our understanding of the past is shaped by our own contemporary viewpoint.

These works were inspired by Mary Hiester Reid materials and artistic style of the Aesthetic Movement. Painted with a ground of deep black, I chose to create texture to give an aged look by using beeswax as a base on linen. I then applied layers of oil paint, starting with a traditional approach of underpainting in umbers and white and then glazed layers. I also used walnut oil, which was common during the Aesthetic Period and made my own Damar Varnish.




Portrait of Mary Hiester Reid
Oil on masonite
30¼” x 25”
Collection of the Artist

“Paint should be like breath on glass.”- James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Impressionism, Tonalism and Bodegon, are elements notably used by Mary Hiester Reid, and I have had the pleasure of summoning them in creating this portrait of Mary Hiester Reid. I am grateful to those who captured Mary Hiester Reid on film over 100 years ago. In creating this portrait in oil, I have chosen to turn her eyes to engage the viewer, thus recognizing her as “today’s woman.” A portrait lives forever, as does the impact of this one fabulous female artist. This IS her century at last.

Peonies: Afternoon Delight
Oil on paper on masonite
9”x 12” (Inner paper image)
16 ¾”x 19 ½” (Outer image of masonite)

Capturing this image before the light changed, I wanted to save the peonies against the contrasting deep background. Mary Hiester Reid frequently set her subjects in high contrast against a dark background, employing the elements of Whistler’s Tonalism and the Spanish Bodegon traditions, also known as Chiaroscuro.

Three’s Company
Oil on masonite
5” x 7”
Mounted on mirror
8” x 10”

Receiving a gift of pears from a friend, I wanted to capture the different shapes and colours with my camera. Like snowflakes, each has a unique personality. The permanence of oil led me to produce this painting. I used my darkest dark background combination of Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber to achieve the desired effect of Tonalism taught by Mary Hiester Reid.



Ancient Echo
Handwoven tapestry: wool weft, cotton warp
45″ x 28″

The View From Here
Acrylic on cotton adhered to board
24″ x 22″

Autumn Walk 
Acrylic on canvas
30″ x 24″

A Special Place (diptych) 
Acrylic on cotton adhered to board
Each panel: 18 in. x 12 in.
Individually $400; together $740

As tapestry weaver and painter, I’ve been inspired by Mary Hiester Reid’s use of tonalism and impressionism to express atmosphere and emotional content while portraying the intimacy of personal spaces and valued objects. I’m particularly drawn to her paintings that convey the passage of light within her home and also outdoors in special places, such as her garden and Wychwood Park. For my works in this exhibition, I’ve explored these aspects of her art. Mary Hiester Reid appreciated handmade objects from the East, including woven carpets, which appear in her paintings of interiors.

My handwoven tapestry, “Ancient Echo”, explores the rich tonalities of blues and greens, and incorporates an archaic Mother Goddess symbol found in many Turkish kilims and carpets. “The View From Here” portrays a moment at sundown with light cast on large hemlocks and passing indoors onto a family heirloom wicker chair, and a small Turkish carpet. “Autumn Walk”, painted in resonance with Mary Hiester Reid’s “Autumn”, Wychwood Park, seeks to convey the quality of morning light in the forest towering above two walkers. The diptych “A Special Place” portrays two memorable views at the old family cottage in Ontario.



Mature Mary Hiester Reid
Solar print on vintage embroidered cotton
25″ x 16″

3 Versions
Solar print on damask linen
36″ x 12”

The Artist’s Eye
Fabric assemblage on vintage embroidered cotton
20″ x 16”

Deconstructing Mary
Acrylic on canvas
26″ x 24”


Night Lillies
22″ x 18″

Molly in Apple Blossom
22″ x 17″

Inspired from the start by Molly Peacock’s suggestion that our Women’s Art Association reverence Mary Hiester Reid’s extraordinary contribution to Canadian art, by creating our own work to reflect themes from MHR’s paintings, I chose two very different images to this end. Accepting that I could never replicate Mary Hiester Reid’s wondrous combination of light and shadow in much of her work –how she could make a shadowed bowl of flowers glow in the semi-dark, nor come close to combining the human element in her outdoor works – nevertheless I’m submitting two entries which perhaps have at least a faint essence of both: “Night Lilies” and “Molly in Apple-Blossom Time”.



Mary Hiester Reid Wishes
Oil on canvas
16″ x 16″

A Wave, 2021 #109
Oil on canvas
18″ x 20″

Autumn Blossom
Oil on canvas
20″ x 20″

Yellow Rose Buds
Oil on canvas
36″ x 30″

I paint en plein air and alla prima to capture a metaphysical moment suggesting ephemeral and emotional experiences similar to a feeling music might evoke in my imaginings.  My own impulses as a painter connect deeply to Mary Hiester Reid. When I was introduced to her work, my first impression was the poetic quality of her exploration of loose brushstrokes and her use of colour. I identify with these aspects. In 1919 the Toronto Star positioned Mary’s work as “poetical” and “delightful” dissociating it from her male peers. This prompted me to remember that art historian Griselda Pollock described this categorization of Mary Hiester Reid’s work as an “inscription of the feminine,” suggesting a primacy of male genius. I also found another connection with Heister Reid, and that is the Arts and Crafts Movement and the socialist philosophies of John Ruskin. These ideas attempted to break down the ideological divisions separating the fine arts and crafts and differentiating the feminine and masculine in art, something I also hope to accomplish with my work.



Evening Aspens
Mixed media on 140 lb Watercolour Paper
18″ x 24″
$350 Matted and Framed

Mixed media on stretched canvas
24″ x 30″

No Strings Attached
Mixed media
30″ x 40″

What would an intuitive artist have in common with Mary Hiester Reid?  One thing that I have learned in my studies is the importance of tone and value.  Mary Hiester Reid was the epitome of these elements.   She uses value to create a focal point within her paintings.  She draws you into her painting with tonal hues, that create a dramatic atmosphere.  As an intuitive artist I use the same elements to bring the observer into my work, creating a focal point.  I hope to be able to connect our styles using the elements of tone and value.