• Last modified 968 days ago (Oct. 20, 2021)


Artist finds much to paint in Marion

Staff writer

When Mary Jean Rogers came to Marion with a friend in 2008, she was impressed with some of the stately houses on the hill.

“I want to paint them,” she thought.

She was ready to leave Wichita and find a smaller community to live in.

After spending a year looking for a house in Marion, she found one and moved in April 2010.

Since then, she has painted at least a dozen buildings in the city. They are framed and on display in a garage she renovated into a meeting room. They include the Marion Presbyterian Church, Marion County Courthouse, and the Marion grain elevator.

Mary’s talent as an artist was already evident in elementary school. She received several scholarships to art schools during her school years in Wichita and studied under William Dickerson.

She has tried her hand at pencil, watercolors, pastels, and acrylics. She has a few encaustic paintings, which are done with hot beeswax with added pigment. The hot wax is used to create complex paintings full of dimension and color.

Besides buildings, she makes portraits and paints landscapes.

“Everything I do is special,” Mary said. “I put each one in a frame.”

Her paintings decorate every room in her house. Her art has been displayed at Marion Senior Center and at Gallery 101 in Marion.

Mary is happy to be living in a smaller community.

After raising four sons in the Dallas area, she moved to Wichita in 1988 to be near her parents.

She went back to school and acquired an associate’s degree in applied science and horticulture in 2001.

For eight years, she worked at The Wichita Eagle, where she prepared material for the printing press. The staff she worked with was reduced from 60 to five and now no longer exist, she said, because all printing is done in Kansas City.

Mary likes to be active in the community.

She participates in the Bluestem Art Guild and Patriots for Liberty and is on the board of Senior Citizens of Marion County. She delivered meals-on-wheels for two years.

The 84-year-old is on a mission to improve her health. She is on a plan that restricts her eating to a six-hour period between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. She eats two full meals, with a few snacks in between. She also restricts her sugar intake.

“It’s working,” she said. “It gives my body 18 hours to heal.”

She swims at the Marion Aquatic Center twice a week and takes iron pills to correct her anemia.

Mary likes the changes she made in her life by moving to Marion.

“I’m much happier here,” she said. “I have everything I need. I’m content.”

Last modified Oct. 20, 2021