Mary Brewer and her husband Dale reside in De Land, Illinois, population 500. Her artistic skills are well known for miles around. A visit with her revealed an astonishing variety of ways in which her skill has been applied.
Besides talent, I was enchanted by another aspect of Mary. She is a real people’s artist. She is energized by what people want her to paint. She has a personality which adds joy to her creation and joy to the viewers. Mary Poppins has met her match.
I inquired as to her history in the arts. As a kid she always loved the arts but didn’t feel skilled until 14 or 15 years old. From that time forward everyone around her knew of her gift. The arts were a family thing. She was affected by her mom who painted and her dad who liked woodworking, but she dates the family art skills to her grandfather, “Dado”.
|A painting on a skillet by her mom.|
|Mary’s Dad loved woodworking. This is a chest he created.|
|Mary’s Grandma and Grandpa “Dado”. Dado loved to write poetry. So does Mary.|
Mary Paints for People
At the beginning of my visit, Mary was painting a school mascot for a sport lover. Later I was shown a huge mural she painted for a sports enthusiast in his basement ‘man cave’. It was huge, over 20 feet long and featured faces of famous athletes belonging to teams which the homeowner loved.
|An ‘applied mural’ of a local team mascot.|
For another mural, in the kids section of Camargo Township Library, she painted a great environment for kids.
|Nice mural for a kids section.|
|Just have to show a close-up of this section.|
Did I say that Mary paints for people? She also paints people.
|Love the dinosaur teeth blending into the boy’s mouth.|
The World is Her Canvas
Mary paints everything, for anything and on anything. Other items viewed during the visit were book illustrations, Christmas tree ornaments, Christmas cards, illustrations for poetry and library windows. She once painted a headliner for her husband’s car titled “Shipwrecked Lady on a Beach”. He liked that.
|Color is applied to the inside of the ornament. Outside is painted a couple of times, then sealed. Takes a couple of hours. Mary used to paint eggs and make them into ornaments.|
|The world is her canvas. Not even windows are safe from Mary’s brush.|
A Total Joy of Art
Mary relates that half the joy is researching history before doing a mural. She often uses pictures before sketching details. Over those sketches she paints, usually with acrylics.
|Mural in the De Land Village Hall. Some of those buildings are gone but pictures from the past were used to recreate this 1917 scene.|
Besides painting, Mary likes all kinds of arts and crafts … sculpting, ceramics, crafts and writing. Her attitude toward life is positive, so it’s no wonder that she also loves teaching art. Like we said: ‘Poppins, you’ve met your match.’
|A book published with her illustrations.|
Mary, Thank you for the joy you add to this world!