Monday, September 18, 2017

Mary Singleton

Wisconsin is a land of folk art. While traveling through recently, I saw some of the work of Mary Singleton, an Americana painter.

While I can see that Singleton's concepts may be based in a reactionary romanticism, I like the paintings anyway. 

The resemblance to Virginia Lee Burton's work, especially in The Little House, probably explains my interest in this work, though of course Burton's composition and drawing ability shine through.

I can't find any information on Mary Singleton, though the person at the shop in Mauston where I saw these told me she lives in Camp Douglas and is a well-known artist, featured in a particular folk art calendar each year. I can find lots of places where that calendar is for sale, but no one discussing her work and no bio for her.

It's kind of weird, in fact. But, oh, well. Maybe this is a start.


Anonymous said...

She does the Lang Folk Art calendars and I myself have had several over the years. I like the clean feel and the bright colors, and she does interesting details I enjoy for the more seasonal months :)

Daughter Number Three said...

So I've never heard of the Lang Folk Art calendars until now... is that a thing? She is on it so much that it almost seems like it's her thing, but has it been around a long time with a range of artists?

Electric Machete Studios said...

"Artist Mary Singleton approaches her craft as a storyteller, painting imaginary scenes of rural America that reflect a simpler and more idyllic time. Using vivid color and rich detail, Mary creates heartwarming images that evoke an almost magical quality.

Raised on a farm in southeast Wisconsin, Mary is a self-taught artist who began drawing as a child. The patrol countryside and small towns along the Rock River provided her joy and also creative inspiration. Mary eventually married and moved to her husband John's hometown where she raised her family. In her early forties, she returned to college and earned a degree in Elementary Education and Art Education before teaching full-time.

Today, Mary paints from her "Studio in the Woods," creating "stories" that recapture the feeling and memories of the beautiful river valley of her childhood. Using acrylics, she incorporates an abundance of color, activity and children into her artwork to communicate a sense of joy and innocence.

Mary's award-winning artwork has been displayed in galleries, art shows and on the covers of magazines. Her large scenic murals of German and Wisconsin landmarks grace the interiors of businesses and corporations. In 1992, Wisconsin Public Television named her "Artist of the Year."

Mary has lived in the same picturesque Wisconsin town for over sixty years. She has four children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren." --biography from The Lang Folk Art calendars.

Mary turned 90 years old recently and still lives in Camp Douglas. Her work can be found locally at the Red Geraranium (Mauston, WI), Tomah Antique Mall (Tomah, WI), and in the collection of Susanne Soltvedt, Innkeeper at Fountain Chateau Bed & Breakfast (Hustler/Camp Douglas, WI). She is a considered a quiet local treasure, humbly known more as a teacher than a painter and was a favorite teacher to my mother's generation including several of my relatives. Her paintings, while idyllic and nostalgic, do paint historic landscapes and recognizable scenes. Many of the farm scenes with animals and quilts are recognizable in the Hochunk bluffs and rolling hill countryside where Amish, Scandinavian, and German colonial settlers live. Many of the contemporary Amish farms look familiar to Mary's paintings today. Her style is a mixture of American folk art, Naive art, and Primitive Folk Art. She paints originals on canvas and then sells reproductions via Digital paintings on canvas and Giclee prints on paper mostly in the size of 16"x20". Her work is also featured annually in The Lang Folk Art calendars, currently in its 38th Edition (2020).

Daughter Number Three said...

Thanks for the additional information!

Julie said...

Unknown said...

Very appealing art. I live in Australia, and even tho the subjects are scenes in Wisconsin, I still find them intersting. Reminds me of the British paintings by Lowry, although his are not as colourful. I like studying paintings with lots of detail. Allan, Perth, Western Australia.