Artha Ann (Artie) Brown, formerly of Ludlow, Kentucky and more recently of Memphis, Tennessee, painted for nearly 70 years, in oil and watercolors, and so it was ironic and tragic when Alzheimer’s disease seemed to take away her creative spirit and even the knowledge of how to hold a brush. She lived her final years surrounded by some of her paintings, however, and delighted whenever one was shown to her and she was told that she was the artist.
Still, the artistic spirit never dies. At the end of 2020, and just before contracting Covid-19 in a memory care unit she had entered in September, she was coaxed into one last painting in green, blue and tan dabs of paint on canvas — an impressionistic scene of trees with a wide lawn in the foreground.
A second irony came when she entered the hospital with the virus three weeks before her death. Tests revealed she had congestive heart failure which had gone undetected. Her heart came to rest on New Year’s Day, 2021. She was 93.
Artie was trained in art at the Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center in Covington, Kentucky. Then, between obtaining a nursing degree and raising a family, she painted, sketched, quilted and worked in wood carving nearly every day of her life. She explored various painting styles but had a preference for still-life and pastoral scenes, trees particularly. She continued attending painting workshops and collected art books most of her life.
Her paintings, sold and gifted, hang in homes and offices around the country.
When she was in her early 90s, having given up her day-to-day painting ritual, a great-granddaughter living in Alabama began a long-distance correspondence. Young August Intoccia sent pen pal letters with some of her own art and urged Artie to do the same. The correspondence led to her second-to-last work in colored pencils: an oak tree.
She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1927 to the late Arthur and Irene Shadwick of Ludlow and married E. Wayne Brown in 1947 in Bromley, Kentucky. He preceded her in death in 2015.
She is survived by four sisters, Patricia Stewart, Ft. Wright, Kentucky, Janet (Jim) Stewart, Miamisburg, Ohio, Jackie Shadoan, Atlanta, Georgia, and Barbara (Michael) Dunn, Union, Kentucky; three children, David Wayne Brown (Deborah Clubb) Memphis, Tennessee, Stephen G. Brown (Linda), Piqua, Ohio, and Julianne Burke, Divide, Colorado.; 14 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
A viewing is on Thursday, January 14 from 1:00 to 2:00 PM at Ronald B. Jones Funeral Home, Ludlow, with interment at 2:30 PM in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Erlanger. A memorial gathering for Artie will be planned at a future date when it is safer to bring people together. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to Bromley Christian Church, 216 Kenton Street, Bromley, Ky. (Self-portrait in oil.).