Not everyone is lucky enough to find their calling.
When Sister Mary Horn felt hers, she followed it — first to God, then to painting.
Born in 1937, Sr Horn became a Dominican nun in 1958.
‘‘It was just a need within me to do that,’’ she said.
Her second calling came when she was 57, on a Saturday morning, when a friend took her to a portrait class.
‘‘I didn’t even think I could paint.’’
Since then she has exhibited in numerous galleries, and has had 11 exhibitions at Oamaru’s Forrester Gallery — including a retrospective of her work in 2017, when she turned 80 years old.
Without the Forrester Gallery’s support, she did not think she would have made it as far as she had in her artistic career.
For Sr Horn, art had to be a passion, not just a hobby.
She loved seeing the end result of a painting.
A surprise was guaranteed, as she did not start with an image in mind.
‘‘I just paint and hope something will happen.
‘‘It’s about having a go — if you make a mess that’s OK.’’
Though her artistic endeavours came later in life, Sr Horn’s love of art was always with her.
Born to Alexander and Ruth Horn, she grew up in Waimate with six siblings, in a household of musicians.
‘‘I didn’t make music, but my painting is part of that family tradition.’’ Inspired by music, her religious faith and the North Otago landscape, Sr Horn created portraits, landscapes, and abstract work — with a preference for the latter, having depicted the 14 Stations of the Cross.
Thirty years ago, Sr Horn moved to Teschemakers, which was run by Dominican nuns.
She had just started painting and was lucky enough to have a whole classroom to create in.
Now she had a whole house, neighbouring the Teschemakers Resort.
Sr Horn stopped painting at the start of this year, finding the process too physically challenging.
‘‘That’s going to be an interesting new journey — figuring out how to live without painting.
‘‘Painting has been such a big part of my life.’’
She was also facing another life adjustment very soon.
At the end of next year, Sr Horn would move her life to Dunedin to live with other Dominican sisters.
She said she was sad to leave Waitaki and the lovely people of the district.