Florence's Story

"I've always tried to encourage others by living a life of integrity, by creating beauty around me, and by spreading love wherever I go. It's my hope that my paintings will do the same."

Florence Delaney

A Farm Girl at Heart

"I painted my first painting in my high school art class, an oil-on-canvas snow-covered field with a singular tree. That was the beginning of my love for painting." Florence Delaney

Florence grew up on her family’s dry-land wheat farm in North Dakota's Williston Basin during the Great Depression.  She was born during a snowstorm on an oak claw foot table in the farmhouse kitchen. From a very young age, Florence worked from dawn till dusk alongside her parents and eight siblings farming wheat and raising livestock.  Florence's father, Reginald Earl Delaney, finished 3rd grade and her mother, Ingaborg Henrietta Smelden, graduated 8th grade.  "In those days, a lot of kids were forced to quit school to help on the farm," Florence relates.  Reginald earned his US citizenship by serving in the US Army Cavalry during WWI. After the war, he returned to North Dakota to marry Inga and farm wheat.  Florence recalls, "We were poor but we had a shared sense of peace, freedom, liberty, and hope for a prosperous future.  We really didn’t know we were poor because everyone we knew lived like us."  Florence was raised to believe that all Americans are united in this shared goal of universal ideals.  In those challenging years growing up on the farm, she developed a strong work ethic, enduring sense of responsibility, and unfailing commitment to family and country. Florence is a Patriot.

Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

"My daughter says that I paint with such detail that 'ordinary becomes extraordinary.' " Florence Delaney

After the one oil painting in high school, Florence didn't paint again until decades later when empty-nest syndrome set in. She clearly remembers the day she went shopping for art supplies. Overwhelmed with questions about brushes, colors, paper, and techniques, the frustrated clerk finally suggested Florence join the watercolor class going on in the back of the store.  Florence hurried to take a seat!  Over time, Florence gained enough skill to teach a beginner watercolor course herself. Florence’s skill developed through decades of practice and a lot of hard work. But, she is the first to acknowledge that her talent is on loan from God. At times, she paints from memory.  But, more often than not, Florence uses her own photographs as a reference, combining several aspects from many photos. She uses color to adjust the light, create tones, and add shadows. That’s where the creative artistry comes in, that compilation of elements rendering a unique and beautiful piece of art. 

Precious Opportunity

"Some of my favorite paintings have been those of my children and grandchildren." Florence Delaney

Whenever Florence's grandchildren came to visit she dropped everything so she could spend precious time with them.  They became the willing, and sometimes not-so-willing, subjects of her paintings over the years. She kept a basket of old dress-up clothes that included garments she sewed in years past.  As her grandchildren played dress-up, Florence snapped photos.  Her grandson was into sports and loved his basketball shirt so much that one of her first watercolor paintings, Love of Basketball (11”x14”), was painted on cold press in 1999.  Her granddaughter selected a tiara to play dress-up and Florence snapped a picture. Florence painted the oil-on-canvas, Little Princess (12”x16”), years later in 2017. A younger granddaughter wanted the tiara but had to settle for a simple lace hat. The Pout (12”x16”), 2017, is an oil-on-canvas that captures that moment of disappointment beautifully.  After a nap, and with bedhead hair, her granddaughters couldn't wait to go fishing in the pond.  Between them, the girls only had one pole and two worms.  Florence's watercolor on cold press, Two Worms, One Pole (11”x14”), was painted in 2001 and tells the whole story.