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 Louise (Lou) Wilson  (1927 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: Washington      Known for: painter, batik, serigraph

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Louise (Lou) Wilson
An example of work by Louise (Lou) Wilson
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted July 2004, is from Mark Jones.

Louise Wilson or "Lou" as everyone who knew her would address her was a very prolific Northwest artist. There is almost not a day or a week that goes by that one of her scenic hand dyed Batiks isn't offered up for sale at local auction house, garage sale, or thrift store. Unfortunately there has not been too much written about her life as an artist/craftsperson here in the Northwest, California or Hawaii. Here is what I found out about Lou Wilson from reading old newspaper clippings and gallery mailers in the archives of the University of Washington's Special Collections department. I've edited it all together along with some verbal biographical data garnered from the old owners of the University Art Supply Store where she often bought her supplies.

Lou Wilson attended the University of Washington Schools Fine Arts program and studied under James Edward Peck. She also studied privately under Rex Brandt & Warren Brandon of California. She also studied with May Marshall (& was a good friend), Fred Griffen, Irwin Caplan and Olive Malstrom Carl. Through her career she has worked in most mediums, watercolor, oils, pastels, serigraph, torn collages, and in depth with Batik fabrics.

From the late 1940s through 1950s she was primarily a watercolor artist, from 1962-1973 almost exclusively she worked with Batik Fabrics. From 1973-1982 she reverted back to primarily watercolors. Lou would also have an annual party where she would burn up to 200+/- pieces of work that she felt were subpar. Her style was anywhere from very modernist to very representational. She had abruptly switched styles in the late 1960 to better match the hippie movement and did a lot with dyed batik fabrics using methods that were 100s of years old in Java, Indonesia etc.

She showed her works at many places, but some of the highlights were when she was shown at the Seattle Art Museum, the Frye Museum, The Henry Gallery on the University of Washington's Campus, The Museum of History & Industry, Seattle and The governors Invitational show in Olympia.

Lou also won many awards in her lifetime, including the Women Painters of Washington Annual; The Annual Award for Seattle CoArts among others.

Her husband was a successful Seattle architect and that made it easier for her to pursue her career in the arts. She was also afforded the opportunity to travel extensively and live and exhibit part time in Maui, Hawaii. Some of the local Galleries in the Northwest that showed her works were the Panaca Gallery, Bellevue, WA (early 1970's); The Kiku Gallery, Seattle (1973); The White Whale Gallery Gig Harbour (1970). Bellevue Arts & Crafts fair.

Louise Wilson is also the mother of Hollywood actor Richard Karn of "Tool Time and Family Feud" fame. (Richard Karn Wilson changed his last name while registering with the screen actors' guild. There was already a Richard Wilson. So he dropped the Wilson). Richard also sponsors an annual Celebrity Golf Classic, each June to help raise funds for cancer research in Seattle. The tournament is broadcast on ESPN, helping to bring attention to the disease that claimed the life of his mother Lou Wilson at the age of 56.

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