"I thought being an artist sounded so fascinating and I always wanted to be an artist" shared Mary. As a young child, every time the art teacher came to her school she put more of Mary's pictures on the wall than anyone else. So Mary thought that she must be pretty good to have so many things hanging.
Mary married Charles Bell in 1944 after the war was over and they lived in Southern California. She was a home maker and after ten years of marriage she still couldn't get pregnant. One day she and Chuck were driving in his truck and they had an accident. Mary could see that his feet were on the steering wheel and he was hanging out of the vehicle and she was thrown out the other side, barely hanging on. She thought he was dead, but he wasn't, and he was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles. She was ok.
That night for dinner Mary went to her parents house as did her sister and husband (the girls married brothers) and they were all teary-eyed about Chuck. Mary's dad said "Well, something good could come from this." and Mary said, "What?!" and he said "You could become pregnant." She didn't think that was very funny but two months later she did indeed become pregnant with daughter Mary.
Several years went by and Mary decided she wanted a job. Chuck suggested she go to beauty school to become a beautician. She had previously voiced that she'd like to do that some day. So she did and owned her own beauty salon. He worked at Jet Propulsion Labratories and she told him "I can now pay for everything, you don't have to worry, because I'm making more money than you."
Mary's parents moved to Brookings around 1990 or shortly before and Mary and Chuck would come to visit and always thought it to be a nice place to live. Her sister followed them and Mary arrived after that.
Charles had died and a friend of Mary's told her she found a place where Mary could learn to paint and that she'd found an art association as well. Her sister told her the same thing and Mary moved to Brookings in 1969. She joined Pelican Bay Arts Association right after she moved here. "I've never been sorry I moved here, it's so beautiful."
Mary started the Tuesday Painters at the art center and says "It's the best thing I ever did." I asked her why Tuesdays and she said because it was available.
She began painting with oils and switched to acrylics once she found out it was easier to use than oils. Mary has taught lessons and is always willing to help if someone asks how to do something with a painting.
She served as President of PBAA in 1998 and 1999. "I've always had a good time with painting and being at Tuesday Painter sessions.” She says, "It's a thrill, just to do what I've always wanted to do... to be an artist.