Mature artists put new spin on gallery show

The three artists in an exhibit at the Depot Fine Arts Gallery in downtown Mooresville this month have another thing in common besides art: They've lived longer than most of the rest of us.

The oils, pastels and watercolors are by women ages 84, 90 and 93, two of whom live in the Summit Place assisted living center on Brawley School Road, and the other with her daughter.

The exhibit in Gallery 3 is the first time the Mooresville Artist Guild has exclusively featured the works of older artists in an exhibit all their own, guild president Ellen Patterson said.

The guild held a reception for the artists during last Friday night's Art Walk downtown. The exhibit will remain open through Sept. 30.

Guild secretary Peggy Edwards Jones interviewed the artists. They are:

Irene Kellum Williams, 84, who lives in Mooresville with her daughter, Hope Brotherton.

Williams, whose oil paintings are on display, was born in Arkansas and attended a one-room schoolhouse from first until eighth grade. She loved to draw pictures from an early age.

Williams completed her education and later owned and operated a beauty shop for many years.

She moved to Oak Ridge, Tenn., where she met her husband. The couple had two sons and a daughter. Her husband died in 1998.

Her first painting in oil was of a rooster. Williams does portraits, landscapes and still life.

Edith Johnson Lawrence, 90, was born in Wilkes County and started painting after she and Graham Lawrence, were married. They had one son, Ricky, who is 54 and lives nearby.

Lawrence loved to draw with pencil, and her husband surprised her one day with red, white and blue paints and two brushes. That started it all for Lawrence, who painted in oils for a while but changed to acrylics because the oils took too long to dry.

Her husband died seven years ago; her joy today is in the art, she said.

Frances Richards, 93, who is a new resident at Summit Place.

She was born in Clarksburg, W. Va., and started painting in her mid-50s. She made pottery at first, and then decided on watercolor painting.

She and her husband, Ted, now deceased, raised three girls and a boy and lived in Charlotte.