Martha Deam Severt, 84
Martha Deam Severt, 84, of DeLand, Fla., died on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. A service to honor Martha was held in DeLand, Fla. on Aug. 24. Martha was born on Oct. 17, 1929 in Evanston, Ill. She earned her B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and continued her education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, American University of Washington D.C., Ox Bow Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Taiwan Normal University of Taipei Taiwan, the studio of Lin Yu-shan, Taipei, Taiwan, the studio of Seah Kim-Joo, Singapore and the Atlantic Center for Arts in New Symrna Beach.
Martha worked as an artist throughout her life, working in a variety of different media. Martha taught art to both children and adults all over the world. Martha founded the Art Department at the Taipei American School, where she taught for eight years and taught children's' courses in Burma, Malaysia and in Maryland. She also taught adult courses at the Ox Bow Summer School of Painting, Montgomery County, Md., and DeLand, Fla. Martha's success as an artist can be seen through her many exhibitions, commissions, sales, affiliations with art organizations and awards, including Best of Show in the Florida Watercolor Society.
On Nov. 17, 1988, a stroke left Martha with partial paralysis on her right side and aphasia, which severely impaired her ability to speak. Before the stroke, Martha executed a supreme body of work comprised of detailed, crisp, realistic watercolor images. After the stroke, she explored new techniques to accommodate her physical limitations, learning to paint left-handed. Her exhibit "Triumph of the Spirit" in 1995 demonstrated her newly developed style.
Martha's determination to continue her painting career in spite of the physical limitations imposed on her by the stroke is a demonstration of her strength of spirit and love of life and work, and serves as an inspiration and example for us all.
In addition to her painting and teaching careers, Martha, after recovering from open-heart surgery in 1975, established the Washington D.C. chapter of "Mended Hearts," an organization dedicated to providing support for patients who are going through the process of heart surgery and recovery. When she left the D.C. area in 1978, the chapter had grown to more than 200 members under her leadership.
In DeLand, her artwork was displayed in several one-woman shows, including two at the DeLand Museum of Art, one before and one after her stroke.
Martha was a member of the DeLand branch, National League of American Pen Women, with headquarters in Washington D.C. Martha was president of the DeLand branch at the time of her stroke.
Martha is survived by her husband Bill; her brothers, Edward and Norman Deam; her children, Laura King of Bremerton, Wash., John of Saugatuck, Linda of Seattle Wash., David (Hunter) Severt of Port Orchard, Wash.; and David's children, Daniel, Laurel and Sean.