The Marvelous Muriel Mason

The Images in this post may be re-used only with the artist’s permission.


Some people inspire me no end.

Muriel Mason is one of them.

Muriel has been painting since childhood.

Blog Photo - Muriel Blue Vase

“Actually, for as long as I can remember,” she says.

She’s self-taught.

Born and raised in England, Muriel taught physical education and anatomy at a high school. She and her husband Michael, a professor of English, moved to Zimbabwe, then Canada, with their two sons in 1966. They live in a village east of Toronto.

Blog Photo - Muriel Paintings - Barn

Artistic talent runs in the family. Michael has written poetry and prose, son Paul is an accomplished author, and Robin is a lawyer who also writes.

Muriel and Michael Mason

Muriel and Michael Mason

Over several decades, Muriel’s art has been recognized repeatedly.

Blog Photo - Muriel Flowers1

Since 1985, her work has been accepted into juried shows of watercolour miniatures in Washington, DC and Florida and in a special show in Sweden. In 1986, she was elected a fellow of the Ottawa Watercolour Society and received an award of excellence from them.

Muriel also designed tiles for H &R Johnson and Christmas cards for the Cystic Fibrosis Society. She creates larger paintings too, and has worked in pen and ink.

Her favorites? Miniatures in transparent watercolour. She’s created well over a hundred of them.

Blog Photo - Muriel Red Poppies

“I often look at my paintings and I’m amazed. I think ‘I did that?’ It really amazes me. It’s a sense of achievement.”

Blog Photo - Muriel Paintings Rocks

But a few years ago, a tumour was found growing around Muriel’s spinal cord. Four operations followed, each with a period of painful recovery.

Blog Photo - Muriel Paintings Woods

To the delight of family and friends, she started to sit up and even walk again, with the use of a light metal walker. But she could no longer paint miniatures – the neck pain is too great.

Blog Photo - Muriel Leaves

Would Muriel return to other kinds of painting? She recently has.

“Just a few little things,” she claims. (I say “claims” because I know her standards. What she calls “a few little things” are undoubtedly beautiful paintings.)

Like the great Michelangelo who declared late in life, “ancora imparo” – I am still learning – Muriel is now learning how to paint despite struggling with physical challenges. You could say she’s back to teaching herself to paint. At age 85.

Blog Photo - Muriel Bouquet

And she’s still exhibiting. A recognized international expert in miniatures, she will have a show in Whitby, Ontario in January of next year (at the Brooklin Public Library).

Brava, dear Muriel!

Blog Photo - Muriel amaryllis

All paintings copyright of Muriel Mason. Photos of paintings by Camera Kingston.



Filed under A Good Home, Art, Artists, Miniature Paintings, Water colour Paintings

76 responses to “The Marvelous Muriel Mason

  1. Doreen Johnson

    Hello Cynthia,

    What a lovely article and tribute to our “Marvellous Muriel Mason”. She is indeed special.


    Sent from my iPad


  2. An inspirational story. Beautiful paintings and an indomitable spirit.

  3. Here paintings are beautiful. I used to do full size watercolors and they were hard enough. I cant imagine how difficult miniatures must be.

    • Aha! So now I know you’re an artist too. Didn’t I mention your “painterly eye”? (don’t ask me which one…)
      Muriel’s paintings are indeed beautiful.
      Thank you.

  4. She is an example to us all. Such a skillful artist, so modest and such a lot of tenacity too

  5. A very interesting and inspiring woman. Thanks for sharing her with us. Hugs, Barbara

  6. Absolutely stunning!! LOVE the trail in the trees piece. What a talent and inspiration!!

  7. How very beautiful!!! I am teaching myself to paint at 55, I wish I’d had learned in childhood, I get so frustrated! 🙂

    • I can relate. Learning almost anything is tougher in this stage of our lives, I find. But you’re trying. Congrats!

      Thanks very much for visiting my blog, and for liking Muriel’s story.

  8. Wow! What talent!! This is really an inspirational woman. 😄

  9. An inspirational story about a very talented lady. But I guess if you are a painter, whatever the difficulties, you have to paint just as if you are a writer you have to write and if you are a gardener you have to garden.
    I love her paintings, they are very special.

  10. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    Reblogged this on The Artistic Spider's Web and commented:
    The Marvelous Muriel Mason

  11. Such beautiful, realistic paintings. And to have a “comeback” after all that adversity. Good for her! And the picture of she and her husband holding hands is beyond adorable.

    • Hi Rose:
      Her work is lovely and she and Michael are a very caring couple.

      Thank you for liking Muriel’s story.

      The thing I didn’t say is that she does not paint from photos – she sits there and observes the subject, and paints.

  12. Joanne Schuetzl

    Dear Cynthia
    I loved what you said about the amazing Muriel.She is such a inspiration to everyone she meets. Muriel paints from her heart it touches our souls. She is a very strong and talented lady. Cynthia you are a strong and talented lady. We are so Happy you both came into Tony and my life.Love to you both Joanne

  13. Wow. Those are fantastic pictures.



    • Thanks, MT. Just got a call from Muriel, who is enormously thankful – and shocked – at all the compliments coming in.
      She has never been on the Internet, as far as I know, so the idea of people from across the world seeing her art in one place and responding to it and her is thrilling.

  14. What an inspiration, her story and her art!

  15. Kev

    What marvelously beautiful pictures. 🙂

  16. They really are, Kev. Thanks for dropping by.

  17. How nice to see this tribute to Muriel! She was a major part of the arts scene in Kingston during the years that she and Michael lived here. We miss them!

  18. L.R. Larsen

    Nice to see that Muriel is still gaining recognition. Yes, I am still President of VAGA Muriel!

  19. Mollie Cliffe

    Marvelous Muriel is right. I so enjoyed her and her work when she was a part of the VAGA art group. I am glad to see your tribute to her. They are such nice people we miss them. I am glad to see she is still painting and read her story.

  20. Claudfia Rosebery

    I have known Muriel since the 1980’s here in Kingston. When I was an Art History student at Queen’s we had many interesting discussions about art and painting. Many of these occurred at the local swimming pool, Artillery Park Aquatic Centre where we went every morning for a swim. Muriel was a deep source of knowledge of the art of the miniature going back to Nicholas Hilliard during the English Tudor times and to the earlier illuminated manuscripts. Over the years we purchased 11 of Muriel’s miniatures (one, of peas in a pod, we gave to our son & his wife upon their marriage) and two larger watercolours. Muriel painted with precision and exquisite attention to detail but always with a poet’s heart. Her paintings give us pleasure every time we look at them – which is often! We marvel at their quality. Every time I see a miniature painting in an art gallery or museum, I think of Muriel. Muriel & I talked by telephone today & she told me about this blog. Thanks Cynthia.

    Claudia Rosebery
    Barriefield Village
    Kingston Ontario

  21. rosie

    I have had the great opportunity to have been taught how to paint by Muriel a couple of years ago before her operation. It was a pleasure and her love for art and water colours was inspirational. When we first sat down to paint, Muriel — who by the way only paints in real life no pictures — asked me “what colours do you see? Can you see the angles where the light is coming?”
    I remember telling her I never gave it much thought I just jump right in and start drawing! She responded “Oh no! we can’t have that!” Thanks to Muriel I study my subject before I start to paint… I am very blessed to know such a wonderful and talented lady who also happens to a have a wonderful and talented husband. Your article on Muriel is very special Cynthia. Thanks for sharing. I hope to be like Muriel when I grow up, lol


    • Hi Rosie:
      Thanks so much for this note.
      What a privilege to have had an opportunity to learn from Muriel. She is, indeed a role model to many aspiring painters. And you’re right, she and Michael are certainly a talented and lovely couple.

  22. Thanks so much for sharing Muriel’s work. Muriel and I have been friends for many years even though we have moved apart and can no longer visit her on a regular basis. Yes, she is an amazing lady and an inspiration to all who know her. When I was publishing my watercolour magazine, Muriel contributed artwork, questions and answers on a regular basis. It is wonderful that you are getting Muriel the recognition that she deserves.

  23. Maria Aloise

    Wonderful to see Muriel’s work online with such ‘marvelous’ tributes. She is much to be admired as a person both for her wonderful talent and her kind and gentle nature. I’ve known Muriel for several years here in Brooklin and have been part of a local art group with her. Despite her advancing age, she always participated fully, contributing her knowledge, expertise and wisdom for the betterment of the club. I highly admire and respect Muriel and still enjoy meeting her and Michael here and there around Brooklin. Here’s hoping she is able to continue to paint to whatever degree it is possible and comfortable for her. Much love to you, Muriel and thanks to you, Cynthia for running this article.

  24. It’s great to meet Muriel. Love the art! 🙂

  25. Encouraging blog. I will follow it and invite you to follow mine blog as well. beebeesworld

  26. WOW! How inspiring. And the art is absolutely exquisite. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  27. Anne and Bob Rice

    Muriel is an artist on so many levels. Without her, we would not have found our beautiful home in Kingston. Because of the splendid lilacs in Kingston and on our property, we named our home Lilac Cottage. Muriel painted a gorgeous painting of lilacs that we treasure. We also have several of her miniatures.

  28. Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes and commented:

    The marvelous Muriel Mason – the acclaimed artist featured here – is exhibiting a collection of miniature paintings at the Brooklin Public Library, east of Toronto until January 31. I know most of you will not be able to attend, of course. But what a triumph, especially at age 85! Wow.

  29. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    Breath taking art ! Thank you for sharing her with us…I will look more of her, I can see why you are inspired by her, she is very gifted
    Take Care…You Matter…

  30. Muriel’s art is exquisite. And she is inspiring too. How wonderful that she is still so creative and engaged with the art community at age 85. A lovely story of hope.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  31. Thanks for reblogging this post. I love her paintings very much. The colours glow!

    • The colours do really glow, Clare. We have heard her talk about her painting style, and it’s impressive. She never paints from photos, and never uses white paint (she paints around it instead).

  32. Her work is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this inspiring post.

  33. I love comeback stories. But I love even more the pic of Muriel and Michael. Looks like true love . . .

  34. Nice profile of Muriel! I love those poppies. Having a nephew who has cystic fibrosis, I am wondering if she highlighted that organization due to someone in her life having the same thing?

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