Painter finds relaxation and creative outlet through art

Mary Koogle with her Best in Show piece, “Mother’s Chair.”

Mary Koogle with her Best in Show piece, “Mother’s Chair.”

When it comes to creating art, Mary Koogle knows exactly why it’s so valuable to her.

“It’s so relaxing. It’s how I relieve stress.  When I’m uptight, I concentrates on a piece and get more interested in that than what’s bothering me. I love being creative.”

Mary’s artistic passion certainly became evident at our recent Art is Ageless® showing and competition, where she took home the Best in Show award for her painting titled, “Mother’s Chair.”

“I loved to sit in my Mother’s lawn chair. It was just the right size and it had such a lovely bounce.  It sat near her front door.  She had other lawn chairs and a porch swing hanging from a swing set frame, but this was my favorite.  Whenever I went down to Mother’s and the weather was nice we sat outside, and if mother wasn’t in it, that is where I sat.  I took a photo of the chair years ago and decided to paint it. It’s the only real thing in this painting, all the rest is make-believe.  She would have liked this garden.”

Her other winning entry was a baby bird titled, “NO!”

“Early last year we were looking at pictures from magazines etc. for ideas of what to paint, and I saw a photo of a baby bird that I just couldn’t resist.  I had a lot of fun painting this as well as some times when I thought, ‘Why did I every think I could paint this?’  No it doesn’t look like the picture but there is some resemblance.  Mine looks more angry.  Many names have been suggested but NO! is the winner.”

Mary was recently asked if she would ever consider selling “NO!,” and she did. While she hated to see it go, she got such a thrill from the idea that someone would want to purchase her work. Much like the thrill she gets from displaying her work at showings.

“I’ve always been a doodler, and my sister was an oil painter. She’s passed on, but she taught me some, and I continued my education at Labette Community College, and then in private lessons. Displaying, competing and winning ribbons, gives you a high. It’s an upper, an affirmation that you’re improving.”

In addition to peer support, Mary also gets encouragement from her husband Warren, who is very proud of her work. She and Warren have four daughters, 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. They used to operate a dry cleaning business, and her role as bookkeeper gave her little creative outlet.

“I would encourage others to give art a try. It’s good therapy. And it’s kept me young. I’m 86, but sure don’t feel like it!”

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