Friday, August 23, 2013

Nellie's Angel in South Park

On Friday, Aug. 2, I participated in Greensburg’s Plein Air Paint-Out.  Greensburg is my hometown, so it was especially fun for me.

At 8:00, artists could go to the tent on the downtown square to sign in and get a complimentary continental breakfast.  Then off I went to an unknown, undecided spot.  At 10:00 I finally chose my location and subject (GOT to get faster at that).  I set up in South Park Cemetery in front of the gravestone that most spoke to me.  It was the marker for 9-year-old Nellie Woodfill, 1902-1911.  The angel statue is sitting and looking sadly at the flower arrangement on her lap.  She also seems to be looking at her missing foot, one example of the massive destruction caused by vandals earlier this year. ($9000 worth of damage by idiot teens looking to “wake the dead”.  Prosecutor let them off scot-free.  Not even community service.)

Okay, so anyway.

My mother came and joined me under my umbrella to keep me company out there.  She even drove over to the Art on the Square Gallery to pick up my complimentary sack lunch, and brought it to me so I could finish in time for the 3 pm art sale, which was coinciding with the farmers’ market downtown.  Thanks Mom!  The timed deadline forced me to paint much faster than I am accustomed to, but that is a good thing. 

Around 2:30, Gary, the cemetery Superintendant, stopped by to chat.  He said the cemetery office might want to purchase my painting, then he left.  I didn’t think he was serious.  I framed my painting right there in the cemetery and started packing up my car.  Then, Joyce, South Park Cemetery Office Manager, drove up to introduce herself.  I told her about the sale to be held on the square.  She was interested.  By the time Mom and I finished packing and traveling back to the tent, Joyce was already there with SPC Board Chairman David Miers.  I put a price on it and they wrote me a check.  They told me that they were very grateful that I chose to paint at South Park, bringing attention to the beauty that is all around there.  

 My painting will hang in their office.  What an honor! (I didn’t realize they had an office… if I did, I would have asked to use the restroom…)

About Nellie Woodfill (1902-1911):

Sat. Eve. Post cover from the same year
I felt the need to know more about this little girl from long ago.  Greg Meyer at Greensburg Public Library kindly looked up her obituary and emailed it to me.  As a nurse with pediatric experience, I found her story interesting.  As a mother, I could almost imagine her parents’ (Harry and Katherine) devastation when they realized their well-intentioned actions to protect her, almost instantly killed her.  Although it was a long time ago, I feel for them.  There are two obituaries for her, one from the Greensburg Standard and one from the Greensburg News.  Both are interesting reads.  
Click on the images to enlarge


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