Late Bloomer: Artist finds success at her first Allentown Art Festival

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — At 61 years old and a grandmother, Laura McMahon of West Seneca took a leap and showed her watercolors at her very first Allentown Art Festival this weekend in Buffalo, and she is thrilled that she did.

“Warms my heart,” she said after hearing so many buyers and passersby tell her that her artwork makes them “feel happy.”

“That’s my aim,” said McMahon. “To bring joy to other people.”

Even though McMahon doesn’t have a website yet to display her work, you may be familiar with her floral designs. She won the competition in both 2022 and 2023 to create the much-viewed and widely marketed Garden Walk Buffalo poster.

And that suits McMahon’s style, which she describes as “realism.” Flowers are her favorite subjects to paint, even though her painting of a family of tigers, inspired by a photo, was her best-seller this weekend at the Allentown Art Festival.

And why is this McMahon’s first festival showing, even though she majored in graphic design (and elementary education) during her years at Buffalo State? It has a lot to do with raising four daughters and devoting time to her two grandchildren. Life happens. She had hours here and there for some painting lessons over those years but couldn’t devote the large swaths of time needed to perfect a style and build a body of work.

But it wasn’t just the demands of raising children that kept her from developing her artistic style. McMahon says she didn’t have the confidence in her painting when she was younger that she does now. She credits, in part, the solitary pastime of painting during the pandemic with helping her look inward and build that confidence, along with support from her husband, Richard, and her family.

Looking around at the dozens of bright and colorful paintings in her tent-covered festival booth, Laura McMahon declares her first outing in the world of festival art sales as “very successful.” And, she says she knows it sounds like a cliche, but she is living proof that “it’s never too late to make a change.”

If you would like to see more of Laura McMahon’s work, she will be among the artists at The East Aurora Art Society Outdoor Fine Art Exhibit and Sale on June 29 and 30. You may reach her at

Latest Local News

Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus finds something to sing about

61 y.o. finds success at her first Allentown Art Festival

Diocese recommends rightsizing, reshaping of Campus Family

Vehicle strikes house in Lockport, crashes into pole

Fire at MLK Jr. Park bathroom causes $180k in damage

Jacquie Walker is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1983. See more of her work here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *