(Alden Mason/Molly M. Addington photo)
Word spread quickly early Wednesday about the death of painter Alden Mason, 93. “We shall miss his mischievous twinkle, sly wit and flirtatious self. Alden was a bright light,” said Phen Huang, director of Foster/White gallery. “I wouldn’t be who I am today – or as successful – if it weren’t for Alden,” Mason’s former student, painter/photographer Chuck Close, said in a statement.
Born in Everett, Mason received degrees from the UW and taught there for 32 years, in addition to making art for many decades. Mason’s bold and busy works defied easy categorization. His generous, friendly spirit could be spotted right off, though. A Seattle Times reviewer caught up with Mason at an exhibition in 2009:
“Talking with Alden Mason is a lot like looking at his paintings. In a charming and somewhat scattered manner, he tells stories of his childhood — trapping muskrats to earn money for his first paint kit — and of his travels — trips to Papua New Guinea, Africa and Australia where he developed a kinship with native art. His stories, like his paintings, are full of vivid imagery and nuances of wonder, hardship and transformation.”