By JOANNE FOX
HUMBOLDT – Considering there were a few glasses of wine on a few of the tables, a canvas painting party might have easily turned into a pickled palate for palettes.
However playful, the wanna-be artists stayed focused on creating an O Holy Night nativity scene, the first fundraiser that will ultimately lead up to next year’s St. Mary’s Gala to benefit the parish and school.
Held Nov. 27 at Rustix in downtown Humboldt, more than 30 women gathered to learn, step-by-step, how to create their own masterpieces.
Painting instruction was led by artist Kristi Carlson, who had previously designed and taught painting parties in Indiana.
“We moved here three years ago, and I always thought it would be a great fundraiser for our parish,” she said. “I think it’s important to help out at church in any way you can, and this would be a fun event to coordinate.”
Carlson ran the fundraiser idea past St. Mary Parish and School Development Director Stephanie Larscheid.
“Kristi had already created a scarecrow for the parish for a community art project in Fort Dodge and we won,” she said. “Then, we started to talk about a fundraiser associated with the gala. Last year’s raised more than $100,000, so we’d like to repeat that success.”
“I thought a nativity scene would be a good choice, as it was a nice fit for our faith,” Carlson noted. “Also, people could give the painting as a Christmas gift.”
Rather than choose a complicated nativity created by a famous artist, Carlson sought out a simpler, straightforward approach.
“You have to have an easy design and one that could be taught to anyone in about two hours,” she noted.
Carlson’s inspiration came via Pinterest, a web-based company that offers information on a variety of topics, mainly using pictures.
“I pulled together images of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus in the manger and enhanced them with a glow around them,” she said. “Then, I decided on O Holy Night as the theme.”
Armed with 11 x 14 canvases on easels, acrylic paints, brushes, cups of water, pencils, towels and aprons, the artists chatted at their tables about what the evening held for them.
“We were so blessed that St. Mary’s Women of the Spirit is generously donating the cost of supplies for this event,” Larscheid shared. “Rustix also donated the space, Kristi donated her time and talent, and we only used Facebook to promote the event, so we have almost no expenses with this event.”
Sue Eldridge, principal at Sacred Heart School in Boone, and Deb Franzenburg, development and marketing director for Sacred Heart Parish and School, made the one-hour drive to participate.
“I think it’s important to support our fellow schools,” Eldridge said. “When I saw the notice on Facebook, I really liked the image.”
“I liked the image as well, because it was so straightforward,” Franzenburg added. “That’s what really drew me in.”
When asked how many had done this type of painting before, almost every hand in the room shot up. However, Carlson worked the room like a pro, offering assurances that no one need to strive to be Van Gogh, Dali or Renoir.
“Also, don’t worry if your painting doesn’t match the one on display or your neighbor’s,” she said. “I painted the image several times and none of mine look exactly the same.”
Everyone had their own idea of what to do with their completed painting but giving it as a gift was not an option.
“It will be hanging in my office,” Eldridge said.
“Mine will be on the wall in my home,” Franzenburg noted.
“I plan to display mine in my office so when people comment about it, I can say it was part of our fundraiser and maybe when we do another in the future, you would like to be part of it,” Larscheid quipped.