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Artist wins acclaim

This painting on a china dish entitled “Island Living” by island artist Mary Wallace, won the grand champion prize at the Puyallup Fair this summer. - Photo courtesy of Mary Wallace
This painting on a china dish entitled “Island Living” by island artist Mary Wallace, won the grand champion prize at the Puyallup Fair this summer.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Mary Wallace

Thirty years of brushstrokes have paid off for an island artist.

Mary Wallace won the grand champion title in china painting at the Puyallup Fair this summer.

The painting on a porcelain dish is called “Island Living,” and depicts a ferry embarking from a Whidbey Island shore.

“It is my own original design,” Wallace said, who hand-paints and fires all her own work.

“Anyone living on the island will recognize the fact that this ferry as painted will ground itself at any moment. This is called ‘artistic license,’ Wallace added.

Wallace has been painting for more than 30 years, but only started her recent passion for china painting about eight years ago under the tutelage of the late Langley painter Leslie Roberts.

Although Wallace has been recognized often at various fairs and by the china-painter organizations for her mastery, Wallace said she prefers to paint for charity.

“Every year I donate a piece to benefit Friends of Home Health and Hospice,” she said.

Wallace, who is a member of the Northwest China Painters, the World Organization of China Painters and the Porcelain Artists of the Greater Northwest, will be featured in the January, 2009 issue of China Painter’s Magazine.

She won second place at the Washington state World Organization of China Painters Convention in Ellensburg and has the honor of having one of her pieces on display until 2010. It’s one of Wallace’s favorite pieces, painted on a large pitcher depicting the old Frei Farm on Saratoga Road.

“The pieces were chosen to go to the museum by the artists at the convention,” Wallace said.

Painted porcelain pieces are judged by all states and countries using the same criteria including the quality of painting, the painting design in relationship to the object it is painted on, the various painting techniques and detail that are used and the quality of the firing process.

Wallace is self-deprecating about her “grand champion” title and said the main incentive for her work is her love of the artform and being able to show off the special beauty of Whidbey Island.

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