Tributes are being paid to painter and poet Marianne Hellwig John who passed away on December 19, aged 88.

Marianne Hellwig John was born in Breslau, Germany , now Wroclaw, Poland, on November 27, 1930.

In 1936 her widowed mother, a sculptor, fled to Holland with her three daughters.

Three months before the outbreak of World War II, the girls were sent to the UK on a Jewish/Catholic refugee scheme.

At the age of 15 Marianne began her art studies, first at Liverpool Art School, then in London at St Martin’s and the Institute of Education. Marianne was a practising artist since she graduated from St Martin’s Art School, London in 1951.

She fell in love with acrylic paint as a medium, in 1962 and developed a body of work: portraits, still life paintings and, most importantly, abstracts.

Rob Small said of her work: “It is possible to react to Marianne’s work in a traditional manner.

“Her paintings are balanced the way formal paintings are; you are drawn to areas of the painting by surface textures or strong contrasting colours rather than by perspective or object placement.

“Try not to focus to sharply to begin with but glaze over the whole picture noting what catches your attention.

“Keep switching on and off, letting the painting direct you. Then try to work out why.”

She exhibited widely throughout the UK, Switzerland and Germany and, having painted all her life, Marianne’s work is now included in collections all over the world.

Marianne was an active member of Stroud Valleys Artspace and took part in many Open Studio exhibitions.

When she and her husband, the sculptor David John, moved to Gloucestershire in 1988, she began writing poetry with the U3A.

Her work was published in various magazines and won many prizes and her book of poems and paintings, Songs of Every Colour, was published in 2014.

Marianne is survived by her husband, David, and her children, Clare, Helen, Simon, Rachel and Sarah. Their youngest son, Mathew died in 2000.

She had 12 grandchildren, Kyli, James, Christopher, Jonathan, Carmen, Ellen, Dominic, Joshua, Ollie, Timothy, Ciara and Jessica, and three great-grandchildren, Mia Rose, Jude and Emelia.

All donations should be made to The Mango Tree