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Mono artist expresses love of mountains with creative paintings

July 28, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Mina Zare loves her fairly recently established life in Mono, she loves the nature and the space, and on some level, she would love to climb Mt. Everest. In lieu of doing so though, she paints the tallest mountain and remembers with joy her own days of climbing other mountains with her family.

Coming from Persia to live here in Canada in 2003, with her husband and their two children, they were “looking for happiness and freedom.”

“While we were living in Persia,” Ms. Zare told the Citizen. “Every week we went for mountain climbing with my husband and two kids. It was a wonderful time. My children are adults now and they climb every time they get a chance. Last year, my daughter and son were both living in South Korea.” 

She explained that climbing mountains was always her sport. When she was 18, she got her second climbing certificate.

“Climbing,” she said, “makes you strong and organized; you have to work with other people and it’s wonderful to be in a team. That’s the life lesson for me. I always had a sense of wonder and always ready to try something different and looking for challenges.” 

Regardless of location, both her “kids” keep in good condition and her son still climbs and runs 10 kilometres every day. He is working for a Canadian company in Los Angeles and her daughter is a teacher in the County of Simcoe. The Bruce Trail runs near her house.

Everest: although she paints it, Mina Zare has not climbed the world’s tallest mountain but that is the dream for every mountaineer. She does want to go to Banff.

As an artist, Ms. Zare is self-trained.

“I never had academic training and now I only use a pallet knife, using oil on canvas. There was a time early in her learning curve, she used to use a brush but the pallet knife is powerful and makes strong strokes, giving me the ability to show the movement and lighting. It’s very impressive to me.”

Her work is well admired and she commented that after any of her work is placed in a gallery or exhibition, she hears from others that they got the idea of what she wanted to express.

Ms. Zare works full time at the Region of Peel, now and since Covid is working from home and like so many people, Covid’s enforced restrictions gave her space.

“I had more time for painting by being isolated during Covid,” she commented.

She philosophized about the depth of painting, saying, “At the same time that you’re painting, you listen to your inner voice because our busy life is distraction. Moving to Mono gives me time to think what I really want to do; this nature – exactly in my property is mix a of rocks, fields, trees. This is beautiful. I never fell in love with a property [more] than now with my own place here. It’s hard to find such nature in cities.”

She understands so well the UNESCO designation for Niagara Escarpment and has thought that is why there is such a label on it. They bought this home in Mono one and a half year, having sold their house in the city to come here.

“That inner voice,” she expounded, “you always want to express yourself that tells you something in this nature. Anywhere I go, I feel that sense of wonder, the tremendous birds.”

It has been a long time since her last climb. Retired, her husband is doing carpentry.

Like many artists Ms. Zare used to paint from her childhood. She was always passionate about painting but eventually life was so busy with “a full-time job and the kids. Since Covid I spent more time on painting. The Mt. Everest painting was well received, was sold and she put out a second one. It is only recently that Ms. Zare started, two months ago, sending her paintings to galleries: to the Museum of Dufferin and at Peel Arts and Museum. At the latter, she entered her painting in the competition the show was hosting and got an award.

Mt. Everest, for aspiring climbers, is 8,800 metres or five and a half miles above sea level and stands exactly on border between Nepal and Tibet. What is known as the “death zone” stands at the peak at above 8,000 metres. Famously in 1924, the definitive and very brave George Mallory & Sandy Irvine, two Brits passionate about climbing Everest did climb the north peak and reached the 250-metre mark short of the peak. Witnesses below recorded that the two men disappeared at that point, covered by fog and were never seen again. A body was found years later which was concluded to be that of George Mallory.

In those days only the north side of the mountain was open to visitors as Everest is exactly on the border between Nepal and Tibet. In due course, Tibet opened up to tourism and in more recent years climbers have succeeded in reaching the formidable peak from the south side. 

“I always work with oils. During the time I’m painting, I forget everything,” said Mina Zare. “Just me and the painting and the subject matter. I love painting mountains but it could be anything; nature is the most interesting.” 

Emotionally, she is involved for the war situation and she painted on the first day of the Ukraine war, a painting of a soldier.

For the future, “I love my life the way it is. I have a great job, healthy children and everything is fantastic. I wish I can show more in my paintings, to show more hope. The hope gives you emotion. If you can get the chance to dance. When I’m painting, I’m kind of dancing.”

She remarked, “The movement I make with my pallet knife is a dance and others have told me, ‘We felt that we are there – that we’re walking, we’re climbing.’ We have to keep ourselves strong. We have to embrace the joy of living and beauty in the world – still keep that alive inside us.”

“That’s very important for me,” said Mina Zare.


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