Enough is Enough
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Mimi Cernyar Fox
Growing up on a small farm with my father and six siblings had its challenges. Our mother left when I was about thirteen. I had an infant to take care of as well as the rest of the children. My father was very difficult to live with.
After leaving home I was on my own; struggling, working dead end jobs, cleaning homes, tending bar and working as a waitress. Our family had dispersed after my father’s death, leaving me alone. I had the Benedictine Sisters and Benedictine Priests of Mt Angel, Oregon, who continued to be supportive of me. At times I stayed in the monastery with the Sisters on Church Feast days and holidays. They encouraged me to attend Art School. They were my “adopted aunties” as I would affectionately refer to them. They gave me space on their campus to hold shows of my paintings and continue to inspire my life today.
In 1983 I began my studies at the Museum Art School (now named Pacific Northwest College of Art) in Portland, OR. I had to work as I had no money. In the summers I tended bar in the historic bay-front district of Newport, Oregon. I became good friends with the commercial fishermen and women who frequented the bar during storms and after long days at sea. I convinced them to let me go to sea with them as their cook and artist. I made sketches of them for painting later on. The small confines of the boat and the boundless sea were most humbling and made for a spiritual experience. Inspired by my trips to sea with them I would later make several paintings of Jesus with the fishermen. I also made a large screen 60” x 80” screen painting illustrating The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the poem the Ancient Mariner is compelled to tell his story of his journey, and the fate of his crew.
After I received my Bachelors Degree and to get a better job, I went back to college and studied at Washington State University Pullman WA. I received my Masters Degree in Art so I could teach.
I taught studio classes and Understanding Art for 20 years.
I have exhibited across the country, including Black Fish Gallery and in France at Gallerie Etienne de Causans in historic Paris.