S P R I N G 1 9 9 9
A is for artist, G is for grandma
B Y L A U R E L W I L L O U G H B Y , A S S I S T A N T E D I T O R
Mary Adix '86 had been drawing people all her life, but the former art teacher had to wait for grandmotherhood to provide her greatest inspiration.
Still, Dawson, Kali and Alexa don't appear in a "simple" epic painting or clever photo montage. Instead, Adix, who is retired from teaching in various PLU positions and in the Bethel School District, has featured the children in more than 26 pencil and color-enhanced drawings, which were shown in a month-long exhibit during October 1998 at the Lakewood Wash., Library.
One or more of the children appear in each drawing, along with individual alphabet letters and snippets of an alphabet poem Adix wrote.
"A is for automobiles, large ones and small" begins the first drawing; "B is for bat and also for ball," continues the next. Adix leads the viewer step by step through each letter, depicting a rapt Alexa in "E is for egg that hatches a chick," to a dentally challenged Kali in "M is for missing, so where's the tooth fairy?" to NBA-hopeful Dawson in "R is for rebounds, someday I'll be king!"
Adix's drawings sometimes spill onto the matting, often including little "surprises": a bear that pops up in several of the drawings, peeking over the edge of a table or from around a corner; or a butterfly that also appears several times.
Taking the mammoth project even one step further, Adix created the dozens of feet of backdrop for the exhibit by wrapping a shoelace around a paint roller and tracking it back and forth across lengths of butcher paper.
Reading a book called "Gretchen's ABCs" gave Adix the initial spark to begin her project in the summer of 1997, finishing a year or so later. Although this was Adix' first exhibit, it has already brought her more work: six commissions (four confirmed, two pending), the possibility of reproducing her drawings in a set of notecards, and perhaps taking her exhibit on the road.
Adix's son Chris, and his wife, Debbie (who works in PLU's Conferences and Events office) are the parents of Dawson, Kali, and newly born Benjamin. Alexa's parents are Adix's son Tom, and his wife, Becky. Mary is married to John Adix, who worked at PLU from 1980-93.
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