Meet the Artist Article - March 2013, Mary Vogel Lozinak

Thursday, March 7, 2013 Meet the Artist: Mary Vogel Lozinak By: Judi Kauffman, Photos courtesy of Mary Vogel Lozinak Mary Vogel Lozinak lived near Philadelphia till 6th grade, moved to Wisconsin, and returned for her last year of high school. She's lived in Pennsylvania ever since. Mary has always been an artist. She began drawing on her bedroom walls when she was three. Her mother - a portrait artist and briefly, a professional opera singer - let her continue for as long as she wanted. Mary turned to paper when she was in fifth grade, her surface of choice from then on. Mary was offered a scholarship to study art in college, but turned it down. After marrying and having a daughter, she put painting and drawing aside for ten years, spending time on crafts but not art work. She realized that something was missing, and when she finally returned to art she never let it go again - she draws or paints every day. She drew her way through the long hours of waiting when her husband was gravely ill, and drew and painted her way through his miraculous recovery. It has always been art that has saved her during rough times. And it is a joy she now shares with her grandson, the older of two grandchildren she is helping to raise. Mary mentioned that she always worked in black and white, even as a child. Her mother often asked why she didn't "draw something pretty." When Mary finally realized that life should be different and was treated for depression, things took a dramatic turn. "All of a sudden I began to see bright colors," she said. She learned that studies show clinical depression keeps people from perceiving bright colors; that everything looked dull to her because of the way her brain was wired. She was fascinated by the change, remarking that the sky was suddenly vibrant blue for the first time, that grass was bright green. Mary has had a store on Etsy from the time it started and sold her work on eBay before that. These days, she is involved in the arts full-time, and then some! She teaches the children's classes at an art center, as well as the Ladies' Night Out events (the women bring beverages and art supplies); she teaches whatever they want to learn - everything from jewelry making and polymer clay to portrait painting. She's known as "the fun teacher"! She gets her commissions and work as an illustrator through Facebook and her five Etsy stores. In fact, Wayne Gartley, owner of Viva LasVegastamps, found her through Facebook. After posting some drawings she'd made while waiting in a long line at the bank, he commented that they would make great rubber stamps. Other Facebook friends said that if they were stamps, they'd buy them. The rest is history. Her unique and quirky stamps are now available to all, and they're marvelous. Mary said, "I work all the time. I do it because I have to - these things are in my head and they have to come out. At any given time I have at LEAST ten years worth of ideas; I just need more hours in the day. I'm like a child myself. I just have fun." She turned introspective for a moment and added, "I want to tell everyone: Don't be afraid to be making art. You need to do it every day. If something doesn't turn out, tear it into pieces and use it in your mixed media or throw it away. Don't be afraid of wasting a piece of paper." Mary's mixed media work started with the things she couldn't throw away. "I hoard art supplies and pretty things." Her house is neat and clean and organized, everything sorted and separated by color. "I'm not a shopper, and I have to know where everything is," she said. "I do art every day and most of the day, which means I have to be the fastest housekeeper there ever was." Mary bought herself a sewing machine and started to make art quilts without any instruction. That's where a lot of her fabric scraps wind up! In addition to her husband, an electrical contractor, and the two grandchildren, Mary shares her days with a big golden doodle named Oatie Toolbox. She calls him a "nanny dog" because he lets her know when one of the grandchildren needs her! A rescue dog who was going to become an assistance dog, he "washed out of the program because he was a barker." Perhaps his training paid off even if he didn't get his official credentials. The younger grandson was premature and the dog helps with his physical therapy, using his nose to roll the baby over when he was smaller and helping with balance and stability now that he's starting to walk. Mary's typical day starts at 6. She makes breakfast, the children nap while she draws. The older grandson works on art projects for at least an hour a day, his willing grandmother drawing whatever he requests. Some of those doodles end up becoming stamps! You can tell from the stamps that animals are a shared interest. But Mary's fondness for "little weird things" began long ago when she was making ceramic animals. All of them wore clothes. Those sculptures led to the drawings, which led to the stamps... Though her husband can be skeptical about the strange art work his wife produces, he's supportive and extremely proud of her, excited to see her turn her talents into a lucrative career. You can find and contact Mary through her Etsy store: or at Facebook where her open page is PinkFlamingo61. Note: If you're wondering about the "Pink Flamingo" moniker, it came from a childhood prank. Mary's mom was a master gardener with formal gardens. Mary sneaked in and put a flamingo into the garden on a day that it was going to be open for visitors. After that, people gave Mary pink flamingos as gifts and at one point she had hundreds in her yard! To find the products featured in this article, check with your local scrapbook retailer. Browse our Premier Retail Stores for coupons to a store near you. Judi Kauffman, Photos courtesy of Mary Vogel Lozinak You can buy stamps by following this link to my shop: Or you can find them in my daughter's shop here:
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