Merna grew up in Jordan. Her grounding in the Orthodox Church and a later career in maths and science can be glimpsed through her paintings.
Her work attempts to open up a window into a belief in a harmonious universe in a world that is otherwise full of strife and conflict. She describes her work as "a spiritual journey to discover the hidden beauty at the very heart of the universe"
Using fifteenth century methods, the paintings are worked in layer upon layer of mineral and earth pigments mixed with egg tempera medium to create depth and transparency. In her studio Merna goes through the lengthy process of preparing her own gesso which she applies in layers to panels onto which the tempera is laid down.
The process is a contemplative one adding to the richness and depth of the image. genuine gold leaf is applied using fifteenth century techniques of water gilding with the use of specialist tools.
Process and materiality are central to Merna's art:
the authenticity of the base elements, the careful preparation of the materials and the layered depths glimpsed in those base elements are revealed through time and alchemy.