Loving the arts

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 11, 2014

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Norton is shown with a wardrobe she painted. | Kendra Majors/Star-News

Norton’s art on display at LAAC all of October

Art has always been a passion for Andalusia’s Mary Ann Norton.

Norton, who grew up in Montgomery and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School, said she majored in illustration at Auburn because it was the closest thing to fine arts that would allow her to make a living.

In college, she said she would paint portraits for extra money.

After college, she worked small jobs at an ad agency and for a print company before taking a civil service position at Brookley Air Force Base.

“The job was art-related,” she said. “There, I got involved in the (art) guild there. I won awards in the juried art show.”

Norton was eventually offered a position at Fort Benning, Ga. There she helped illustrate covers for magazines, supported a museum, painted portraits, collaborated on a diorama and mural and more.

“I was involved with the guild there,” she said. “We went to art shows and sidewalk shows.”

Additionally, she made pieces that could be ordered from a catalog.

“A bunny gourd was the first thing I ever did,” she said. “I found out I could make five a week.”

She painted a chest with bunnies, as well.

“That took three to four days each to do,” she said.

Norton said she enjoys oil painting and acrylics.

“It’s important for the paint to dry fast,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed working with wood.”

For carvings, Norton rigged up a router on a sled, she said.

“It made it so I could slide around and carve,” she said.

Norton said she wound up in Andalusia after caring for her parents, who have passed away.

Her mother was from the area, she said.

“I realized I couldn’t take care of all of it by myself,” she said. “My brother had moved here, and I decided I needed to be near family, so I found myself a little house.”

Norton’s work is featured this month at the LAAC, which she said is her first show of its kind.

She has a plethora of portraits, furniture, gourds and boxes on display and for sale.

For more info, call (334) 222-3205.