Foothills Focus — For local artist Mary Wolke ’80, the words Cave Creek evoke images of one of the historic West’s most admired female figures: Annie Oakley. Mary has embraced Annie’s spirit of adventure, independence, and incomparable skill with a firearm in her newest series honoring the “Cowgirl.”
Armed her own fringed suede jacket, boots, and wild brimmed hat, Mary’s images, shot by her husband, became her first model for the newly inspired series. From that point on, the cowgirls leaped to life. Mary normally works in watercolor, but she wanted to depart from the traditional watercolor techniques and glass-framed images and move to surfaces the viewers would feel free to touch. In addition, she wanted to achieve a leather look on her surfaces.
Mary grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota with her mom nurturing the growing child’s sense of imagination and creativity. As Mary remembers, she was encouraged to problem solve with new materials and challenged to create new items from ordinary materials. All of this was not lost on Mary, who went on to receive a BS Degree in Art Education from St. Cloud State University and a Masters in Education from Saint Mary’s College also in Minnesota. Today, Mary teaches watercolor, acrylics, and mixed media classes and participates in a number of exhibits with her own art as well.