Biography of Lois

Lois Ann Showalter was born in Bucks County, PA., on August 1st, 1958 to Omar and Esther Showalter. She grew up in Pipersville, PA, and was the youngest of four siblings. Her formative education was in private schools first at Plumstead Christian School, Plumsteadville, PA, where she participated in school plays, wrote poetry, and gave dramatic readings. Her poetry was published in the Plumstead Press and she won the Charles Palmer – Davis Award for excellence in writing on current events. In 1971 and 1972. Lois won first place awards for her poster designs given by the Bucks County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Lois’s secondary education was at the private school of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, Landsdale, PA, where she excelled in her artistic talents of painting and photography under the tutelage of Roland Yoder. Lois’s drawings and watercolors were exhibited continuously throughout her high school years. She was highly praised by the Christopher Dock High School teachers staff for her personal and sensitive style of short story writing and poetry. She won a number of awards to include the Esther Eby Glass Writer’s Award (prize $100.00), January 1976 (published: The News, Frenchtown, NJ). She graduated from high school in 1976.

In 1976, Lois became a member of the Doylestown Art League, Doylestown, PA, and was elected president of the Groveland Mennonite Church Youth Group. After graduation from Christopher Dock High Lois enrolled as an art major at Heston College, Heston, Kansas where she studied print making and photography.

By the fall of 1977 Lois had transferred her studies to Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA, where she continued her studies in studio art and creative writing. Her art professors at Lock Haven university included May White Dyer (painting) and Dr. William Foster (painting). Lois’s accomplishments were many at Lock Haven University and included; designing covers for art exhibit flyers and program folders, setting up show exhibits, and volunteering her artistic talent to help create and paint murals on local buildings in nearby Williamsport, PA. Reviews of art exhibits which included photographs of Lois appeared in local newspapers such as The Eagle Eye (Fri. May 2, 1980) and The Express (May 1980).

In the spring of 1980 Lois graduated with a BS Degree from Lock Haven University with a major in fine art and communications.

“And the poet goes hungry
The artist without a canvas
Only to create is their existence
Only to exist has become the overworked

by  Lois A. Showalter
(published in the Crucible Poetry Book, Lock Haven University, 1979)

In the summer of 1980 Lois moved to the art colony of Cape Ann, MA, settling in the coastal harbor town of Gloucester, MA, where she landed the job of manager of  a main street art, framing, and gift store called The House of the Raven. Her job consisted of designing and creative packaging, custom framing, and jewelry design and repair. The Gloucester Times Newspaper, published a black and white photo of Lois on December 12, 1997, with subtitle, “Lois Showalter, manager of The House of the Raven, decorates close to 2,000 gift boxes by hand every year.” She also managed to create special limited signed edition Christmas cards every year for collectors, artists, family and friends.
She gravitated to the professional Cape Ann (North Shore) artist community and attended numerous artist seminars and demonstrations and joined in art group discussions and  outdoor group painting sessions. A number of professional artists such as Ed and Sharon Carson and Bob Stephenson encouraged her to  join local art associations and to display her work. They appreciated her individual style and admired her control of water base media in her colorful floral still life and New England landscape and harbor renderings. Lois developed a personalized approach to her subjects by overlay glazing complimented by dynamic colors. She is especially attracted to contrasts of light and shadow patterns in her use of acrylic, watercolor, and gouache mediums in her subjects.

Your paintings have……”strong images and powerful color (values). It’s quite a thrill to see you succeeding – and also setting into the North Shore Art Association ! You have worked very hard and it’s nice to see you getting your pieces up on the wall so others can enjoy them.”

Myra Hall (Jan. 20, 1997)
(personal correspondence)


The Magnolia Library Annual Art Festival in Gloucester, MA, was the first major local exposure Lois gave her work of New England and still life subjects and she exhibited there summers 1994 through 1999 and 2003. She exhibited at the Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester, MA small painting exhibit (1994 to 2004), The Marblehead Festival of the Arts, Marbarblehead, MA (1995), Essex Art in the Barn Exhibit, Essex, MA (1996 – 1999).
Lois juried in as an artist member into the prestigious North Shore Arts Association, Gloucester,MA and has exhibited there annually from 1997 to present. She also juried into the Marblehead Arts Association artist membership, Marblehead, MA (exhibiting from 1997 to present), The Newburyport Art Association, Newburyport, MA (1996 to 1999), and as a contributing member into the Rockport Art Association, Rockport, MA (1995 to present).
While living in Cape Ann, MA Lois had two two person shows first at the Addison Gilbert Hospital (1997), and “Bloomings By M”, Beverly Farms, MA (1999).

In May 1996, Lois traveled to Paris, France, to tour the museums and to see first hand the works of the French impressionists who had inspired her from an early age. She even managed to visit Monet’s home in Giverny, France, and to paint in his garden. She returned to America with new verve and a personal commitment to paint professionally and to expand her exhibitions.

“Lois Showalter, by contrast, exhibits two mixed media still – life paintings that have extraordinary verve and energy. ‘Pick a Pepper’ is a study of red and green bell peppers lying at rest below an elegantly explosive floral arrangement. ‘Blooms in Red’ is a boldly colored study of red flowers against a blue, green, and yellow – orange background. Showalter applies her paint with a passion and force that gives her fragile studies an enormous sense of life”

Raymond A. Liddell, editorial columnist
(The Gloucester Times, Dec. 4, 1997)

In 1997 Lois won two awards, Honorable Mention for “:Indiana Paradise”, a water base media work at the Newburyport Art Association (juried) and the Judges Choice Award for “Tea For One”, a still life water base media at the Marblehead Art Association (juried). Also in 1997, her work titled “By The Window” was published in color in two publications; The Best of Watercolor: Painting Color , and Floral Inspirations, both published by Rockport Publishers.

“Color choices directly effect the patterns, shapes, and the strong light and dark values I enjoy in my work. Color, whether harsh and bold or timid and muted, pushes and pulls shapes forward and away. I began by staining the paper with ink and acrylic washes of complimentary colors. Lighter layers of watercolor and gouache were applied, allowing transparent colors to sparkle through. The subject became less important as the shape of color and design developed. Complimentary colors created the pattern of light and dark.”

Lois A. Showalter, artist
(The Best of Watercolor: Painting Color, Rockport Publishers, Rockport, MA, pg. 101, 1997)

In 1998, Lois’s water media painting “Tea For one” was published in color in the national magazine Watercolor Magic (pg. 7, col.1, Vol. 6, summer edition). Following is Lois’s published letter that accompanied her color illustration of her work “Tea For One” in response to the editor’s questionnaire about her views on pure transparent watercolor vs. mixed media:


When I first started in watercolor I was drawn to work done in wonderful color explosions – fresh, transparent, pure color. Then I realized by adding opaque gouache I could compliment these transparencies even more.

Today, I work on 140lb., cold-pressed paper and outline with water-soluble crayons. I then tone the paper with transparent acrylic washes. Working gouache in layers, I build up negative spaces, leaving areas of sparkling, transparent color. I use mixed media to express how I see the world, in flat color as well as in glowing color.
I also admire pure watercolor painters, the true masters of the medium. I don’t believe watercolor was meant to be harnessed into photo realism but allowed to behave in its own characteristics. Gouache has its own opaque and unique expression to which I’m drawn. Not because it allows me to fail but because I have greater success!
We each find the medium we’re successful with that helps us become wonderful artists. That’s not settling! We are expressive people in whatever our choice of materials. New products are available every day; it’s up to us to pick out what’s important to our individual work.”  

Lois Showalter (quote)

On April 1st, 2000, Lois married professional artist and Painting Restorer Roy Blankenship and moved into his Wilmington, Delaware home with his two children Troy (b. 1980) and Beth (b. 1987). Lois changed her name legally to Lois A.S. Blankenship but has maintained signing her paintings Lois Showalter which was her previously established name in professional art circles and exhibits. Lois and Roy have continued to exhibit their work together in husband and wife exhibits and group shows around the country. A few of their exhibits together include: “Inspirations”, Kendal At Longwood, PA, Apr. 1st – 30th, 2001; “Palette Perceptions”, The Wilmington Public Library, Wilmington, DE, May 1st – 31st, 2002; “New Subjects – Favorite Places”, The Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester, MA, Aug. 1st – 31st, 2002; “Spring Show at Crosslands”, Crosslands Gallery, Kennett Square, PA, May 9th -June 6th, 2003; and “Colorful Expressions”, Alison Building Gallery, Jenner’s Pond, West Grove, PA, Apr. 1st – May 30th, 2004. Together they have continued to be contributing artists to the annual exhibits of the Hemophilia Foundation, the AIDS Delaware “A Day Without Art”, and the annual Delaware Foundation for the Visual Arts “Art and Antiques” Exhibition, Hagley Museum Soda House, Wilmington, DE.\
Lois has exhibited her work at the Winterthur Museum “Winterthur’s Garden Art Show” (juried exhibit), Winterthur, DE, Feb. 15th – 28th, 2003, Yellow Springs Art Show 2002, Chester Springs, PA, and continues to have her work represented by Lee’s Gallery, (Rt. 202), Glen Mills, PA. She is an active artist member of the North Shore Art Association, Gloucester, MA, Marblehead Art Association, Marblehead, MA, Chester County Art Association, West Chester, PA, and the Delaware Foundation for the Visual Arts, Wilmington, DE. She is an associate member of the American Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia Water Color Society, Philadelphia, PA, and a contributing member of the Rockport Art Association, Rockport, MA.
Roy and Lois maintain a studio and home in north Wilmington, DE, and summer at the family cottage/studio on the Annisquam River, Gloucester, MA. They inspire and encourage each other to paint. Their art work can be viewed on their or

You can e-mail them at or  Their studio phone: (302) 529 – 1184.