“Words often fail me. I paint the things that I can’t put into words – my sense of the energy in everything around me, and my awareness of the mystery behind it all. The beauty I find there is often exultant but sometimes a dark and difficult beauty. To me poetry is a kindred art and music a language I yearn toward. This moves my work toward abstraction, but with inspiration from nature. My paintings reveal themselves slowly.”

~ Mary Jane Holmes Baillie

Biographical Notes

Born June 25th, 1918 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lived in New England until 1957.

Received early education in Wellesley, Massachusetts; studied painting and drawing at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in Saturday classes until the age of 16.

In 1940, graduated from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Special Honours in English.

In 1940 became member of a community of artists practicing in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Received exceptional encouragement from Morris Blackburn and Yovan Radenkovtich, established artists working in Philadelphia and New York, respectively. She showed her work in several group exhibitions in Gloucester.

From 1941-1950 lived and maintained studio in New York, N.Y.

1950 moved her studio to a New Hampshire farmhouse her parents had restored and which she shared with her brother and sister in law.

When, in 1953, they moved to a farm of their own, she was joined for several months by her college friend and English scholar, Aileen Ward, who came to work on her ultimately prize- winning biography of John Keats. Aileen urged her to apply for a Fulbright scholarship.

In 1954, was awarded a Fulbright scholarship, which provided for a year of painting in Paris. Stayed in Paris a second year.

Published an article, “Findings in France,” for the News Bulletin of the Institute of International Education, February 1956.

Member of the Panel on Exchange in Painting and Sculpture at the Arts and Exchange of Persons Conference, New York, N.Y., September, 1956.

In 1957, married Donald Baillie, professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Toronto, and moved to Canada. Her first daughter, Christina was born in 1958 and her second, Martha, in 1960. While raising her children she continued to maintain a studio and has done so ever since.

Paintings are in private collections in Canada and the United States.

Selected Exhibitions in the U.S.A. and Europe:

Albatross Gallery, New York, N.Y. Solo Exhibition. 1950.

de Cordova Museum, Lincoln Massachusetts. Two Painters and a Sculptor. 1952

Carpenter Gallery, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. Solo Exhibition. 1953

Grover Cronin Gallery, Waltham, Massachusetts. Gyorgy Kepes, M.J. Holmes, Maude Morgan. 1953.

American Embassy, Paris, France. Ten American Painters. 1955.

Currier Gallery of Art , Manchester, New Hampshire. Five New Hampshire Painters. 1957.

Selected Exhibitions in Canada:

Scheider and Associates Gallery, Toronto, Ontario. Solo Exhibition. 1993.

The Annex Art Centre Gallery, Toronto, Ontario. Solo Exhibition. 2003.

The Art Company, Toronto, Ontario. Solo Exhibition. 2004.

The Parliament Library, Toronto, Ontario. Solo Exhibition of Early Works. 2007.

The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. Solo Exhibition. 2008

Books and Film:

Painting titled, “Poem,” chosen for cover art of Gusto, Thy Name was Mrs. Hopkins: a prose rhapsody by Robert Francis (Chartres Books, Canada, 1987).

A half hour video exploring aspects of the artist’s career was created by Chartres Productions in 1990.

Note about site images:

Photos of artwork in this website are low resolution, and therefore less than perfect representations of the work.

*  Artwork tagged with an asterisk in the description is in private hands.