Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Painting Experience

WhenI was asked me to write an article for the church newsletter about my painting hobby, I wondered what the best approach would be. Then the thought hit me that this hobby has led to many adventures. When I bought that first little box of oil paints so many years ago, I had no idea where the Lord was leading with that and how much enjoyment would come from it. It was always a thrill seeing what putting the paint on the canvas looked like, how adding a touch of another color would change the whole effect.
As time went by, I found I liked acrylics, too. Then I went to watercolors and pastels. Along the way I took advantage of a few different classes. One I enjoyed was given by a local artist who gave lessons in oil painting and pastels. The class excursion one of the days included painting buildings on a nearby abandoned farm.
Enjoyable was a watercolor class a friend and I went to in northern Minnesota given by a well-known watercolor artist, Ed Whitney. There we met another watercolorist and arranged for her to give a two-day watercolor workshop in our town to anyone interested.
Another interesting project. A friend read poetry while I did a painting with pastels. We gave the program several times for groups. Seeing the interest in the students when I demonstrated oil painting at the local Christian school one year, was rewarding. On the scene painting with friends through the years has also been enjoyed.
Some of the paintings were displayed in several area places and were hung for a time when our local vacant school had a Gallery. A few times some paintings were entered in various fairs. Quite a few were sold.

Then there were the murals. That all began when two of us mothers of students at that time began painting scenery for Proms and Homecomings. We did a total of five Proms and two Homecomings between 1980 and 1984, usually on pieces of cardboard eight feet tall and of various widths.
Stemming from that there was the request to paint murals in the Steamboat Rock school. Two others helped with that project. We painted smaller ones in the hallways, but two covered the two walls of the study hall. On one wall was the large rock formation along the Iowa River for which the town was named. The other wall was Tower Rock, the tall rock formation near the River, too. That was in 1983, and in 1984 we painted another postcard scene of the town’s old flour mill on the City Hall wall. All these murals are still there today.
Finally, all this culminated in being asked to paint a large mural on big cardboard pieces for Kiwanis of Eldora and that was 40 feet long.
Personal murals were one for my sister in St. Paul and two in my house
Sometime during these years I decided to do an oil painting of our two churches. I wasn’t satisfied with the painting of the new church so that was never finished. I decided now is the time to get the painting of our former church out of the closet and give it to the church.
It has been a long traveled road that brought much reward and enjoyment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lingering Aftereffects

Never to be forgotten is the devastating tornado that leveled a large section of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa on May 25 this year. A recent popular event was a fundraiser held by three graduates of the high school which was destroyed. Athletes Casey Wiegmann, Brad Meester and Jared DeVries (Aaron Kampman, planned to attend but was detained on a flight) who are all players in the NFL came back to help their former school and community. Attending the event was one Parkersburg resident in a wheelchair who cut in the long line of people waiting to get autographs. "I think I have bragging rights," he joked. "If people complain I just say, ‘Hey, did you have a house fall on you?’"

John initially wanted to skip his last Butler County Fair, even though he knew that the Fair officials had decided it should go on as planned. After all, his aunt was killed and his parents injured, as well as feeling the loss of their home and business. Also the twister had killed several head of cattle John planned to show at the fair. However, through the encouragement of friends and family he did show two of them. Four were suffering from severe injuries, and John turned his back when they were shot by the police.

An avid gardener Marian prefers working in her garden, but instead she has spent the better part of June tending her lawn, pulling a rake through the grass, periodically stooping to sift through glass, and other material. Nearby, her 12-year-old grandson, Logan, uses a magnetic bar on wheels to collect wayward nails.

After the tornado destroyed the home of Gina and Bruce, they moved into a trailer. After one night, rising flood waters forced the pair to evacuate that. Heavy rain flooded their town. Since then, it's been laugh or cry, Bruce said. He chooses the former. He is comforted by religious teachings that everything in life serves a purpose. Ironically, they weren’t home the night the tornado struck because they had gone shopping for a broken toilet handle.

Residents returning to the area that should include houses, businesses and trees, not open space, piles of debris and heavy equipment, were stunned with mixed feelings. Many look to faith for answers and strength. "This is not something you are going to wake up from."

Finding comfort in his faith, a 75-year-old who lost his wife, says, "Every day is a blessing. It's only through God's will that I'm here, because everything was out of that basement except the freezer and a few other things," he said. "Why else should I be alive?" Indeed, following last month's storm, many friends and neighbors mistakenly believed he had perished with Shirley. The couple had huddled together in the lower level, holding on to each other as the noise grew, overwhelming their senses. "Then all of a sudden there was a huge 'BOOM.' I looked up and the whole house was twirling, and then it was gone. Shirley never said a word, so I think she went to be with Jesus right there."

The business of recovery demands more than a hammer, nails and a blueprint. Some survivors find a positive outlook and thankful heart are also essential.
Quotes--courtesy of Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Christmas in July

Many people like to do their Christmas shopping early, so the Christmas in July theme is being promoted by several Etsy shops. Anyone looking for something handmade would benefit by checking some of these shops this month. And there are a lot of shops to choose from. Since Etsy’s launch in June 2005, over 100,000 sellers from around the world have opened up Etsy shops.
My shop will be joining other Etsy shops in this Christmas in July event, a venture which will be a service to all those early shoppers looking for ideas of the unusual for teachers' gifts, friends and neighbors’ gifts, stocking stuffers, etc. These shops will have a variety of items, from jewelry and soaps to large quilts and wall hangings, from tissue holders and pincushions to knitted scarves and gloves, from original paintings to chocolate chip cookies, from purses and totes to baby apparel. No limit to the variety and selection.
This is my Christmas in July list for you to look at.

If you type "Christmas in July" in SEARCH, a long list of items will come up from many different shops. Enjoy!