Churchill artists display their work
Barbara Glenn has devoted a good part of her life to painting. Daniel Sperl was simply looking for new horizons in his retirement, and in the process, discovered a new and unique passion for color.
Now, they are among the latest Fallon artists being showcased as part of “Celebrating Us” at Churchill County’s administration building. Photos from Churchill County’s present and past, as well as paintings by local artists are on display around the buildings (others can also be seen at the Churchill County Museum).
County Manager Eleanor Lockwood, along with Churchill County Museum Administrator Donna Cossette and Photo Curator Barbara Hodges, collaborated to introduce the community art project earlier this year. The purpose is to not only decorate the administration building but to help the county promote its history, talent, resources and assets, Lockwood said.
Glenn, a Connecticut native who has lived in Nevada for the past 30 years, is delighted to be part of the project.
“What a pleasure; I love hanging my stuff,” she said. “There are a lot of good artists in this town … a lot of great artists.”
Added Sperl: “It feels real good. I never thought my work would be displayed anywhere.”
Sperl, who bills himself as the “Gunpowder Artist,” took up painting in the last five years after retiring from the U.S. Coast Guard. He began with Gil Martin’s art class at Western Nevada College — and with a group fondly known as the Red Dot Consortium. And while he was at it, Sperl developed a “Gunpowder Art” technique that creates unusual abstract patterns.
“If you look it up on the Internet, nobody else really does this type of art with gunpowder,” Sperl said, adding that he combines colors with gun powder, which is burned on to the canvas. “When the subject came up, ‘Let’s do something crazy, different, I thought of gunpowder and followed it through.”
“I had to do it outside after the first time … I kind of had a smoke plume once, so we figured I’d better move my stuff outside,” he said with a hearty laugh. “Don’t try this at home.”
You could say art has evolved into a very important lifestyle for Sperl, a veteran of Coast Guard special operations who has been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“It’s (painting) helping my PTSD big time,” Sperl said. “I went through a really dark time. I just put my feelings out there and it feels so good. I’m getting lighter.”
Sperl noted one thing he would like to do is help introduce fellow veterans to art.
“I think more of our boys who come back from overseas should get into the arts,” Glenn said. “When he first started, like he said, he had his dark side. And then we could see him lighten up as time went on in the class. It has really been fun to watch Dan move on down his road.”
Glenn works in various mediums, including oil, watercolor and acrylics (she is a member of the Nevada Water Color Society). Currently, Glenn is excited about her new pastel pieces.
Glenn displayed one recently completed oil painting which she titled “Wolf With an Attitude.”
“Using the vibrant colors of the pastels I hope to capture the essence of the animals’ personality and their strengths,” she said.
She started out with a community college class in Las Vegas, but after moving to Fallon, she picked up Martin’s classes at WNC.
“I took a class and just fell in love with art. That’s when I found my niche … found where I belonged,” Glenn said. “I enjoy painting. It’s just fun being around other artists.”
She especially enjoys the Tuesday classes at WNC and seeing the work displayed at such locations around town as the Daily Grind. Sperl also plans to participate Saturday when the Flower Tree Nursery hosts its second Playin’ at Plein Air, a fundraiser for the art scholarship fund set up in memory of Linny Moore.