• Lauren Pigford

Women in Art- A Series

Mary Ann Pigford practicing #ArtTherapy after her stroke

Many people who know me know I come from a big family. I am the youngest of five children. I have three sisters and one brother.

All of the females in my family have creative and artistic gifts. It always came naturally for us. I have always believed that those gifts came from my mother. She has an innovative mind and always knew how to turn something tiny into something robust. She has a keen eye for design and an extremely creative mind for fundraising. She ran our household and she encouraged our artistic gifts as we grew.

My oldest sister, Ashlee, loved to paint and draw horses. Of course, horses (and barns) are still her obsession today. Her paintings had a very impressionistic touch to them. They had a soft haze and rustic touch. I still have one of her barn paintings in my home. She painted throughout high school and even though she did not pursue art after graduating she had a natural gift of blending and composition. I can guarantee she can pick up a paint brush and paint a horse right now, if she wasn't actually feeding, riding and petting one at the moment!

Hillary, my second oldest sister, excelled in art and took advanced art classes all through high school. She went on to major in art with an emphasis in graphic design. She has been an artist her entire life. She is a painter, graphic designer and photographer. She always loved to paint wild life: gorillas, sea life, all kinds of animals, nature, and more. She loved working in the dark room all throughout college and is still a nature photographer in south Florida. She is surrounded by exotic birds, plant life and wild life that motivates her to continue her art and love for nature.

Erin, my third oldest sister, was gifted in performing arts. Although she did not draw and paint, she was a musician and played the violin. She was also a dancer. When she first came to my mom and said she wanted to play in the school orchestra it definitely created an excitement in the house. This was a very different kind of artistic trait. Currently there was not a musician in our family. My mom was excited and soon rented a violin form Amro Music in Memphis. She started playing the violin in the 6th grade and she played all throughout high school. My mother desperately wanted her to continue her music in college but Erin wanted to continue her love of dance instead. She tried out and made the Ole Miss dance team. She competed on the national team which ranked 5th in the nation the first year returning to national competition.

Thinking back on my childhood, art was everywhere in my home. People who know my family probably immediately associate us as a horse family. However, we are also an art family. I think I had such an intense desire to draw, paint and dance, because I had three, artistically gifted, older sisters who were my role models. Let's face it, every younger sister wants to be like their older sister at some point in their life.

This is where my idea for "Women in Art" came from. It is a celebration of visual and performing arts and design. I have amazing women in my life, specifically in my family. They made me tough, they made me independent, they made me want to be unique and my own person. Several times when women say they are artist there is a perception that they are hobbyists, or crafters, but not serious professional artists.

The percentage of male artists represented by galleries and museums far outweigh women artists. Here in Memphis we have immense talent and my desire is to highlight women artists who I admire. It is a way to honor of my mother, my sisters, and women in the art industry who, many times, do have to work harder than men.

To see recent "Women in Art" posts scroll down. If you know a female artist and think she would like to be a part of my blog series then please let me know. I have several women who I will be highlighting in the next few months. If you would like to subscribe to my newsletters and stay up to date on surrounding artists then please comment below with your email.

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©2019 by Lauren Pigford | | Memphis, TN