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In May at the Prairie Arts CenterTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Courtesy Photo­Image
Mary Linnea Vaughn

Artworks of Mary Vaughn, originally from Hastings and now living in Sonoma County, Calif., are on display this month in the west gallery of the Prairie Arts Center.

Vaughn is a full-time artist specializing in eco-abstracts and nature forms.

Mary grew up reading the works of Willa Cather, especially drawn to her stories about artists, such as A Sculptor’s Funeral (1905), Paul’s Case (1906), Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920).

Her Swedish grandfather drew constantly in a notebook he kept in his back pocket as a carpenter. His small cartoons and etchings of simple animals or faces mesmerized Mary as a child.

He encouraged Mary to build anything she wanted on rainy days in his workshop. After hours of letting her hammer, saw and construct, he would open the large garage door like an unveiling and celebrate her wooden contraptions.

She was once found hammering hundreds of large nails into the earth before she was old enough to go to school. Her grandmother Leona told this story years later with fits of laughter.

Raised by a mother who was a librarian and a father who was a printer, there was always literature and large drawing paper at hand. “One’s environment may not cast what a person will become in stone,” she said, “but it certainly influences direction and how one learns to see. How does a young child not want to draw on large rolls of press paper readily made available? I drew when other kids were watching the Munsters.”

“Even though I was a slow reader, there were good books everywhere in our house,” she said. “To pick one up and read it was like discovering a new world. It added a quality of excellence to my ideas. I read Cather, Wharton, Twain, Hawthorne, Thurber, Jewett, O’Connor, Salinger at home at a fairly early age. I ran around outdoors like some freedom-loving tomboy, yet felt a hidden intellect in me, too, bucking up against the harsh weather and a part of the country that was somewhat isolated from the rest of the world.”

“Nebraska gave me an infinite horizontal line within my creative process that I am grateful for,” she said. “I see the ocean and see that similar divine prairie line that inspires, if not talks to the core of us somehow.”


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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/5/2017
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