Apainter, etcher, designer, and art writer, Mary N. Balcomb lived in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. She was a 1948 graduate from the American Academy of Art, Chicago, and earned a BFA cum laude from The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and an MFA from The University of Washington, Seattle. During the 1950's and 60's she worked as a technical illustrator at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque NM, taught Art at Sandia School, and was principle illustrator at Bob Klein & Associates Interior Design. She was a contributor to American Artist and Southwest Art and is author of Les Perhacs, Sculptor (monograph) and the books Nicolai Fechin, Russian-American Artist; William F. Reese, American Artist; Robin-Robin, A Journal; Sergei Bongart, Russian-American Artist, and Froggy Makes a Pie (illustrated children's book). She was a member of The Authors Guild, Inc. (USA); and, as an advocate of the arts for all children, she was a founding member of the Children’s Arts Center Foundation, Inc., Seattle.

A professional designer, she had domestic and foreign design projects to her credit. Her exhibits include solo shows at the Kansas Wesleyan University; the Frye Art Museum and the Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle; and Olympic College, Sidney, and Blue Heron Art Galleries, Kitsap County, Wa. Her works have shown at the Fine Impressions Gallery, Seattle; Amy Burnett Gallery, Bremerton, Wa.; and The Gallery, Bainbridge Island, Wa. Four of her etchings traveled to Prague, Czechoslovakia, for a 1992 cultural exchange exhibit; and her work was featured in American Artist, February 1991 and June 1996; and in Southwest Art, April 1996. Her oil painting “Sam in Large Overcoat” received an award at the Frye Art Museum’s 36th annual Puget Sound Area Exhibition.

Because of her love of drawing and her drawing abilities, the intaglio, particularly line etching, carried a particular fascination for her and was her metier. She etched and printed her own plates in her home studio.

Mary died at home on April 5, 2013.

All images ©Mary N. Balcomb
Read Balcomb's essay "What is an Etching?"

Literary Credits

Splash page art: "Last Cone (Pine Limb)"