Barton, John Rector, 1897- / Rural artists of Wisconsin
Lois Ireland: Waunakee. The uncommon touch, pp. 57-
The result was an immediate arrangement for six les- sons in water color and drawing at Miss Dudley's home in Nakoma. This happened in 1940 when Lois was twelve. A second determining happening was a visit to Curry at his campus studio. A neighboring boy attend- ing the University gave Lois the courage to arrange an interview. Under Curry's criticism and guidance, she turned to oil, which has since become her favorite me- dium. A third factor in her development was the "Let's Draw" program of WHA, which was used by the Wau- nakee schools and which Lois found helpful. But Curry urged her to come to Madison and get personal instruc- tion. With some difficulty, she succeeded in transfer- ring to Wisconsin High School in Madison. where she studied art under Miss Ruth Allcott. Today she is an art student at the University of Wisconsin, plodding steadily towards professional work. Perhaps the best training of all is that which she gives herself. Hour after hour she not only paints for practice, as some practice on the piano, but she studies the work and writing of the recognized painters who interest her most. For a number of years she has clipped articles and reproductions from such recognized artists as Thomas Benton, Grant Wood, Peter Hurd, George Bellows, as well as John Curry. Certain paintings, such as Curry's "Line Storm" and his "The Tornado," have made a great impression on her, and her own painting has become more alive and colorful as a result. Today the subject matter of her work reflects largely the people, the land, and the products of the rich farm- ing country around the small and peaceful town of Waunakee. With rolling hills and fields, diversified farming of corn and oats, dairy herds and gardens, the land provides a profuse variety of greens and yellows and browns as well as contrasting line in slope and tree. Since Lois paints from nature, often making her sketches in water color and later doing them in oil, her pictures are full of kindred subjects, each demanding expression. This fullness, coupled with a careful sense of detail, may mean an exacting task for a young and as yet inexperienced artist. Sometimes, of course, it will not come right for her, and when this happens she does not hesitate to lay the picture aside and to start on something fresh. More often, however, she brings the canvas to life, and her success in both sale and exhibit has been a con- stant encouragement. Since her first showing in the Rural Art Exhibit in 1943, she has made steady prog- ress. In 1944 the Wisconsin Salon accepted an oil por- trait of her mother for its annual exhibit. In 1945 a study in tempera called "Sundown" was accepted by the annual Milwaukee Art Institute. In 1946 two more were accepted by the same Institute, "The Old Table," a brush and ink drawing, and "Sunny Boy" in oil. In 1946 she received a scholarship award and a certificate of merit for a picture submitted for the national high- school art contest. This won for her a place in the na- tion-wide exhibit which was hung in the Carnegie In- 58
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