My favorite way to observe nature has always been face-to-face out in the field. However, I have also been a long-time admirer of good wildlife art. We have many excellent artists in our area. A few are professionals, but many are amateurs. I am not among any of them. I have zero talent as an artist. I can’t even draw a stick figure tree.
One of the best-known wildlife artists in our area is John Ruthven. John is a professional artist who has been making a living selling his works for much of his life. Now in his 90’s, he is still producing nature scenes in his art studio in Georgetown, Ohio down in Brown County. I met him once way back around 1970. He has produced at least 350 paintings, perhaps much more than that. I am happy to have a couple of his works adorning the walls of my living room. One is of my favorite game bird, the Ruffed Grouse. In this particular painting, John captures the grouse in the springtime woods on its drumming log surrounded by Dogwood Trees blooming overhead and our state wildflower, the Large White Trillium blooming on the forest floor. The bird and surroundings are shown in vivid color and accurate detail. I recently checked on the pricing of John’s prints and discovered that many have increased in value over time. Some command a couple of thousand dollars in today’s market. I have never acquired art as an investment, however. The few pieces I have at home are simply here because I enjoy looking at them.
I have followed other good wildlife artists who seem to produce their works purely for the enjoyment of it rather than for profit. For many of them, art is a hobby or a diversion from the pressures of the daily grind. I have seen so many different styles and modes of presentation. All are wonderful. I wish I had the wall space to justify having more of them.
Long ago it came as a surprise to me that my wife, Loraine, had a talent for producing art and I didn’t realize it until after we were married. By the time we were married six years, we had three little boys. These little rascals were constantly moving in all directions requiring full-time nonstop monitoring by Loraine. While I was at work five or six days a week trying to earn enough money to put food on the table for all the hungry mouths at our house, Loraine was at home being Mother, drill sergeant, housekeeper, household “law enforcement officer,” and every other role that young mothers play. She decided she needed an outlet or escape to put balance back into her life. It was then that she told me she wanted to resurrect a long-latent talent, painting.
At her request, I built her an easel. It was collapsible, foldable, and portable. She acquired the necessary art supplies and materials including brushes, paints, etc. eventually putting them to use during those few precious hours when the kids were in school or napping, and the house was quiet for a spell. I was amazed to come home from work some days and find a painting underway on the easel. The finished products were very good in my opinion. Not only were they beautiful to behold, but in creating them, Loraine found a therapeutic and relaxing way to keep stability in her life to offset the demands of mothering our three mischief-makers. At first, she painted still scenes like a bowl of fruit or a potted plant. She eventually moved into scenes from nature painting flowers, butterflies, and the like. She entered some of them in street fairs, and a few sold for a song! I hated to see them go, but where would we have put them all? And, it always did her soul good to know that someone out there appreciated her artwork enough to take it into their own home.
Somehow, through several moves, we retained a couple of her wildlife paintings from bygone years. Her paintings of a Barn Owl and a Pileated Woodpecker accompany this article. The owl is shown looking out from the rafters of a barn with its white face watching the setting sun. The painting was done using oil on canvas and then framed. The details and colors are clear, concise, and accurate. I’ve always liked her owl painting. This species is now threatened in Ohio.
The pileated woodpecker was painted on a piece of barn siding. At the time, an old barn was being torn down to make room for residential development near where we lived. Loraine prevailed on me to snatch some of that weathered barn board for a painting she had in mind. The old barn wood was an inch thick, tinder-dry, and possibly 150 years old. It’s getting hard to come by now. If I recall correctly, Loraine painted the woodpecker using acrylic paint directly on the barn siding. A natural knothole in the wood is at the tip of the bird’s beak. This painting hung in our house for many years before Loraine donated it to my parents, perhaps as a gift for their 50th wedding anniversary. My mother was a life-long avid birdwatcher, and she loved the painting. It hung in my parent’s home in Florida for many years. After Mother had died, my dad called my brothers and me together and said, “I’m not going to be around a lot longer. If you see anything here in the house that you want, write your name on a piece of tape and attach it to the object. Then come and take it away when I’m gone.” I marked Loraine’s woodpecker painting with our names, and a few years later the woodpecker came back to us. It now hangs on the wall in my “man cave” here in Lebanon where I look at it and enjoy it every day.
Well, just thinking about nature art has caused me to reminisce and stray more than usual. But, in doing so, I relived some fond memories from the past. And, I hope that I’ve conveyed the idea that enjoying and appreciating nature can happen without climbing hills, wading streams, or traveling to far off destinations. Nature can also be experienced through literature, poetry, photography, and art. These are all different but worthwhile venues for enjoying nature close to home.
You are invited to join us for our 1st Annual Chocolate Walk in downtown Lebanon on Saturday April 1, starting at 6:00pm. The Chocolate Walk is an evening all about chocolate! Ticket holders will visit approximately 20 Chocolate Stops at a variety of shops and eateries around downtown Lebanon. Each Chocolate Stop provides a unique chocolate treat. Some treats can be enjoyed on the spot and others will be placed in your bag to enjoy later. You may visit the Chocolate Stops in any order you wish.
The evening ends with a Chocolate and Wine Reception, sponsored by Lebanon Ford. You will enjoy live music and a cash wine and beer bar and a Chocolate Fountain. Don’t miss this memorable, chocolatey evening while supporting our treasured downtown Lebanon.
Tickets are $20.00 per person. ONLY 200 ticket will be sold, so get yours today! Purchase online by clicking on the link below or at the Village Parlor (located at 22 S. Broadway Street). All the proceeds from a Chocolate Walk will benefit Main Street Lebanon.
To order tickets, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-walk-tickets-32508854860
YMCA Camp Countryside offers day camps to give kids and teens in Warren County an adventurous, active and healthy summer—one that will surely be described as “the best summer ever” for years to come. YMCA camp programs offer youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime.
Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and explore. But, for some kids summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year. Attending YMCA Camp Countryside summer camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to keep their minds and bodies active.
“YMCA summer camp supports the social-emotional growth, cognitive development and physical well-being of kids,” says Melissa Huist Kneer, Camp Director, Countryside YMCA. “In our day camp, kids are in a welcoming environment where they can belong; they’re building relationships, developing character and discovering their potential. We really encourage parents to give their kids the gift of camp to keep their kids active and engaged throughout the summer.”
Kneer says there are five reasons why children and teens should attend summer camp:
ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of new experiences and exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new
adventure for every child and teen. Visit www.countrysideymca.org for details.
HEALTHY FUN: Day camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children and teens learn
the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits.
PERSONAL GROWTH: While in the welcoming environment of camp, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence
and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional
development opportunities for achievement.
FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, canoeing and talent shows, campers meet new friends and
strengthen existing friendships. The bonds formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.
MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a
lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share!
YMCA Camp Countryside offers: Traditional Day Camp (Camp Discover), a community focused camp for ages 10-15 (Voyagers), Aquatic Camps, Gymnastics Camps, Sports of All Sorts Camp, Sport Intensive Camps, High Adventure Camp, Arts & Education Camps and impACT a volunteer training program for ages 15-17. To ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, YMCA Camp Countryside offers financial assistance to those in need. If you’re interested in helping send kids to camp this summer, you can donate to the Y at ymca.net/ForaBetterUs or www.countrysideymca.org.
A leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of youth, the Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for over 131 years. YMCA Camp Countryside continues to give youth an enriching, safe experience with caring staff and volunteers who model positive values that help build their kids’ character. For more information, visit www.countrysideymca.org or contact Melissa Huist Kneer at Melissa.Kneer@ymcastaff.org or call her at (513) 932-1424 ext. 149.
Unable to sleep, Elaine paces the living room of her Manhattan townhouse, troubled by unsettling memories and vague fears. Her husband tries to comfort her, but when he steps away for a moment, Elaine screams as she sees (or does she?) a body of a dead man in the window across the way. The police are called, but find nothing. Is Elaine on the verge of a nervous breakdown? After Elaine sees another body and police find nothing, again, her husband calls in a psychiatrist who suggests that Elaine commit herself into a sanitarium. From this point on, the plot thickens and moves quickly and grippingly as those involved contribute to the deepening suspense and mystery of the play as it draws towards its riveting and chilling climax.
Tickets are $19 each and can be purchased at LTCplays.com. Mark your Calendar and join us for this thriller. Performances at 10 S. Mechanic Street in beautiful Downtown Lebanon, Ohio.
Call (513) 228-0932 for assistance and/or more information!
Each year the Town & Country Garden Club awards a scholarship to a deserving student who plans on pursuing a college education in horticulture, agriculture, or botany. The 2016 recipient was Rebekkah Sommer, a Lebanon High School graduate who is now enrolled at The Ohio State University. After finishing her first semester, Miss Sommer was presented with the award at the Lebanon Train Station. This year, Greenfield Plant Farm paired with Town & Country Garden Club and matched the scholarship. Miss Sommer is majoring in agriculture.
Shown in picture (left to right): Mary Paulman, Rebekkah Sommer, Debbie Detwiler, Barbara Henn
On Sunday, April 2, 2017, Resurrection Lutheran Church, 1270 N. Broadway, Lebanon, OH, will present "The Living Last Supper" at 10:00 am. This moving worship service will include a full reenactment of the of "The Last Supper," in full Biblical costume with beautiful choral music and dramatic presentation. The presentation is free, communion will be offered during worship and a reception will follow the service. For more information, please call Resurrection Lutheran Church (513) 932-1551, visit our website www.rlc-lebanon.org or our Facebook page. Please join us. All are welcome!