top of page

Mary Anne Robblee


The poem by Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”, (circa 1861) is Mary Anne’s inspiration for this art exhibition. Dickinson posits by metaphor that hope (as the bird) resides within us, never waivers, and asks little of us despite life’s challenges and tragedies.

“Hope is the Thing …” art show by visual artist Mary Anne Robblee comes at the start of the fourth year of a worldwide pandemic. Hope was chosen as the focus of this exhibition as it is closely related to psychological constructs like happiness, love, and optimism and helps overcome fear, dread, and despair. Hope is a positive abstract entity that resides within all human beings.

Art is often called the visual track of the unconscious mind. This metaphor resonates with Mary Anne as her artwork is abstract and largely intuitively derived and reflects the world around her as she experiences it. Many of her abstract creations have a landscape feel, a sense of calm and optimism and a colour palette of earth tones. This is not surprising as Mary Anne is a health advocate who lives on a river in rural Ottawa surrounded by nature. Hope is the thing that inspires her visual expressions.

Mary Anne is an abstract, mixed media artist who enjoys the challenge and joy in playing with materials to achieve unexpected and unique outcomes while balancing this with sound principles of composition and design. She is inspired by many artists of the Abstract Expressionist era.

She has worked in many media over the years, including oil, water colour, acrylic, textile, clay, encaustic, and has engaged in various art forms (and techniques) such as painting, printmaking, photo transfer, pottery, and mixed media. She freely uses all of them to communicate something abstractly about the world around her.

Mary Anne is a continuous learner and has taken art courses at many institutions and settings – most notably, Lakehead University, the Ontario College of Art, Ottawa University, Ottawa School of Art, Royal Conservatory of Music, and the City of Ottawa. She has taken art courses almost continuously since the 1970s. She is a past president of the West Carleton Arts Society, past curator of a year long, rotating art exhibition at Investors Group for the Ottawa Mixed Media Artists (OMMA), has completed the foundation program for teaching art through the Royal Conservatory of Music and has offered art instruction for Cornerstone Housing for Women.

She balanced her love of art with her career as a Registered Nurse and PhD in Psychology. Now retired, she focuses on her art full time. She has participated in many juried art shows in the region and her work hangs in homes in Canada, the US, and Europe.

Hope … you enjoy the show.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

By Emily Dickinson


“Hope” is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops – at all

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land

And on the strangest Sea

Yet - never- in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

bottom of page