The power of a painting: Art Trends Gallery celebrates talent of Wildwood artist
By: Sue Hornof
A poignant letter penned this past summer by a woman in Wisconsin has prompted an art exhibit in Chesterfield, a fundraiser for Stray Rescue of St. Louis and a drawing for a lifelike pet portrait valued at $1,000.
In July, Wisconsin resident Chelsea Lager sent a heartfelt note to Curt Parker, an accomplished artist who lives in Wildwood, thanking him for capturing on canvas her pet cocker spaniel, Winslow. Lager’s mother is a client of Art Trends Gallery in Chesterfield, which carries some of Parker’s art, and gave her daughter the painting after Winslow had been put down.
“(When) my mom showed me that painting, I lost it!” Lager wrote. “It was him! It was Winslow!
“… I will never be able to express in words or thank you enough for what you have given me. … You gave me back my Winslow, and for that I owe you everything.”
Parker has been painting animal portraits since the late 1970s, and in those days, he focused mostly on wildlife subjects but kept getting requests to paint people’s pets – a commission he takes very seriously.
“I suddenly felt the pressure to perform, almost like an athlete in an important game,” Parker said. “That is, when someone commissions me to paint their dog or cat, they are asking me to paint a member of the family. There’s no other way to look at our relationship with our pets; they are members of the family.”
Art Trends Gallery owner Kent Kehr was so moved by the emotion exhibited in Lager’s letter and by her appreciation of Parker’s art that he decided to hold a month-long Curt Parker Animal Art Exhibit at the gallery and in conjunction with the exhibit, conduct a drawing for a Curt Parker pet portrait. In addition, a portion of proceeds from the sale of Parker’s art during the exhibit will be donated to Stray Rescue of St. Louis.
The Curt Parker exhibit will open with a “Meet the Artist” reception from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Art Trends Gallery, 703 Long Road Crossing Drive in Chesterfield Valley. Food and beverages will be served, and guests will have the opportunity to register to win a 16-by-20 inch framed Curt Parker pet portrait valued at $1,000. Registration for the drawing will continue throughout the exhibit, which runs through Friday, Nov. 30, at which time the winner’s name will be drawn. The winner need not be present for the drawing.
Nancy Dorwart, gallery manager at Art Trends, said the winner of the portrait will not be disappointed.
“The thing about Curt is that every fur, every hair – every whatever – it’s perfect,” Dorwart said. “He is so meticulous.”
Parker works from photographs, either those he takes himself or those taken by his clients.
“I guarantee my work and have yet to have had one rejected in over 35 years. In addition to dogs and cats, I’ve painted horses and even a pair of matched Missouri mules,” he said.
For more on Parker and his art, visit CurtParkerAnimalArt.com.