Mabel May Woodward, painter, craftswoman, impressionist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island on September 28th, 1877. Woodward first studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and later she studied at The Art Students’ League in New York under Frank Vincent Du Mond, Kenyon Cox, and William Merritt Chase. She also studied under Arthur Wesley Dow and Charles H. Woodbury at the Ogunquit School of Art.
During her career she often cited Frank Du Mond, with whom she painted in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and William Merritt Chase as the major influences on her artistic career.
Chase’s influence is particularly noticeable in her work. Woodward like Chase often painted out doors in a Plein-Air Impressionistic manner. Her colorful canvases display her master’s brush-work, bold, crisp, unlabored strokes and a mastery of the effects of light and shadow often with a heavy impasto. Her subject matter was often her beloved native coastal New England, with the airy landscapes, towns and beaches. She was also known for genre, European scenes, villages, farms, still lifes and flowers.
Providence, Rhode Island, her hometown, was a mecca for artists at the time she was growing up, and the many noted artists painting there at the time no doubt influenced her work as much as the pleasant scenery she was accustomed to.
Although she traveled and painted in Europe, she remained a daughter of Maine her entire life spending most of her summers in Ogunquit, a major center of art.
Woodward was a long-time faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she pioneered the “The Action Class” a study of the human figure as a machine rather than a stationery object. She was also a member of the Providence Art Club, where she had a highly-praised “one-woman” show; a member of the Providence Watercolor Club; South County Art Association; Ogunquit Art Association and others. She died August 14th, 1945.
Blake Benton Fine Art