Most of my paintings this summer have been scenes at two environmental centers – Shepherd’s Corner, in Backlick, operated by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and The Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College. This post will focus on Shepherd’s Corner.
I painted at Shepherd’s Corner one Friday last fall and spoke briefly with the gardener there. This spring, the center’s director, Sister Rose Ann Van Buren followed up to see if I would help recruit other artists to paint there and donate the artwork to be sold at the center’s 25th anniversary celebration on September 16th.
Inspiration for painting is everywhere you turn. Shepherd’s Corner has a flock of sheep kept in line by A.J., the resident llama. He’s really quite vain and seemed to pose for photos. He was once a show animal, so he’s got the modeling thing down pat. This is an 8″x8″ pastel done from a photo. While A.J. is an experienced model, I’m not skilled enough to paint a moving target.
The farmer and volunteers raise vegetables sold at a farm stand, with massive amounts being donated to local food pantries. While they are not certified organic, they do use organic practices. This oil painting of the wild flowers was done plein air near the garden fence.
This painting was done from a photo taken on a day when the sky looked like rain at any minute. I took the photo from a low angle looking up under the porch roof on the barn.
Part of the area is wild with meandering meditation trails and a labyrinth. There’s a vernal pool with a bridge over the wetland. There are surprising little spaces with benches or interesting views.
I really enjoyed painting there. I have so many more photos that I want to work into paintings. I hope these paintings sell for a good price during the Shepherd’s Corner anniversary celebration in September. It really is a worthy cause.
I posted an invitation to artists on three art organizations’ Facebook pages, but I don’t think there was much response. I understand why many artists aren’t keen on donating work. Sometimes charities sell it below market value which can have an impact on the rest of the artists portfolio. Also, most people who request donations don’t know that artists can only use the cost of materials as a tax deduction, not the value of the artwork. I’m very fortunate that neither of those considerations has a big personal impact, so off these paintings go to Shepherd’s Corner. May they turn into dollars which in turn become vegetables for hungry people.
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