Growing up in a small rural community north of Madison, Lois Ireland demonstrated an early interest in drawing and painting. Her parents encouraged her talent and provided private lessons in watercolor for her with a young university student, Barbara Dudley.
At the age of 14, Lois’s work attracted the attention of John Steuart Curry, the first artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His advice to, “paint what you know” informed her entire career as an artist.
While still a high school student, Ireland became the youngest member of Wisconsin’s Rural Art Program and her prize winning landscape paintings were included in their exhibitions in Madison. Many of her works sold to the public and were submitted to museum exhibitions in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.
After high school graduation in 1947, Ireland enrolled in the art program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Then in 1949, she left to study at the Art Students’ League in New York with Frank DuMond and Yasuo Kuniyosi. In 1950, she returned to her home studio in Wisconsin to resume painting the American scene in her unique regionalist style.
Marriage to John Zwettler in 1958 and subsequent motherhood temporarily took precedence over her art career when the couple moved to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin to raise their two sons. Not until the boys were almost grown in the 1970’s did the artist return to painting her stylized rural landscapes and participating in exhibitions.
Presently, Lois resides in Minnesota near to her sons and their families.
SOURCES AND BIOGRAPHICAL EXCERPTS:
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.- www.wikipedia.org
AskART - www.askart.com
MOWA -The Museum of Wisconsin Art - www.wisconsinart.org
Photo credit: John Rector Barton, Rural Artists of Wisconsin (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1948), 57.