Art practitioners are ageless

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2002

In the art world there is no age.

Everyone in it, regardless of their chronology, is the same age.

So spoke Wilodean Brown Brown when describing her life in the wonderful world of art.

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By the way, the double-Brown, above, is correct.

Wilo, as she is affectionately known, was born into the Brown family at Chapman on May 24, 1924, and she married Ernest Melvin Brown (no kin) in 1944.

Her husband, Melvin, was born in Chapman, also, and their homes were a scant mile apart.

This has to do with Wilo and her art though, so let's get on with it as we pin the traditional bouquet of camellias on her lapel.

To begin at the beginning, it should be stated that Wilo, after graduating from Georgiana High School, entered the business world as a bookkeeper in the accounting department at W.T. Smith Lumber Co. (now International Paper).

She also did stints with the Butler County Board of Education and in the probate judge's office in Greenville.

Her first involvement with art came at W.T. Smith at Chapman where she did pen and ink drawings for Olive Spann's column, "Friends of the Forest," in

Lumbering Along, a newspaper publication edited by the same Olive Spann. She fell in love with her artwork somewhere along the line and devoted much of her spare time

between work and raising two children

to her self-taught, unique talent of creating top quality artistry.

She allows that her artwork was a sideline until several years ago, but then it became a "tiger"

an all-consuming love of her illusory creations.

Melvin, upon retirement after some 40 years in forestry work, joined his wife full-time on her art show circuit that takes her to 10 to 15 showings a year.

She used to cover the entire Southeastern United States, but now limits her travels to within the state.

Wilo is a member of the Montgomery Art Guild, the Pleasure Island Art Association at Gulf Shores and other assorted art-connected associations. She has exhibited her work in practically every qualified show in the area.

She does her work now for the sheer joy she derives from it, and is always thrilled when her work is recognized for its superior craftsmanship by the judges who award those blue ribbons she has earned.

It is not a money-making profession so far as Wilo is concerned. It is rather a work of love, and any stipend received from it is what she calls her mad-money, which in turn is mostly consumed in expenses incurred by her participation in the art world.

Wilo's sytle is her own and is practiced as she does it only by herself and those she has taught the craft of pen and ink portrayals.

Two examples of her work adorn the walls of the chamber offices and two others are included in the 50,000 Greenville chamber's promotional brochures that have been distributed statewide.

Wilo doesn't look her age, and as she says, she's never acted it.

Just a brief visit with this vivacious lady gives substance to the assertion that art and those who practice it are ageless.