Newell painter adds a splash of color to Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2004

You wouldn't want to stand idle for too long in Donna Hunter's presence - she might take a paint brush to you! She enjoys working with all mediums and all textures.

This Newell woman discovered the world of painting some 30 years ago. Her paint table, which is just another fixture in the family's living room now, remains up in case the creativity hits.

Christmas is a special time of year to this artist.

Donna paints up a storm to prepare hand painted ornaments for family members each Christmas; the numbers are up to 30 now which include children and their spouses, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

She also paints several ornaments which she donates for the Newell Library to sell. The proceeds are used along with other funds to purchase items for the library. As a member of the Friends of the Library, this is one way she helps out. Her contributions raise about $100 each year.

Donna took her first painting classes from Audrey Bettin of Odebolt, who featured toll painting. She immediately enjoyed it. "I felt like I'd found what I'd really wanted to do. After the second week I told her I was ready to paint portraits." Her teacher of course laughed but told her someday. Portrait painting is now one of the things she enjoys most in her pastime.

As a member of the state and the national Toll Painters Association, Donna has had the opportunity to attend several gatherings where she has met a host of people sharing her same interest. One of the highlights of attending these meetings is sharing ideas with one another.

Donna said she loves using oil paints but works more with acrylic paints because of the drying time required.

The ornaments she creates are each different. She uses glass ornaments as well as transforming old light bulbs into creations of color.

Trimming the painted ornaments is part of the fun. "I'm a crafter and collector," she admitted, saying she has many colors and types of ribbons she uses on the creations. She has also started making colorful beaded hooks for the ornaments.

"I try to be original and as I keep going along I get more creative." She gets some ideas for her ornaments from magazines and the internet, but only ideas; she always adds her own little touches. "I love the colors and often use some of the special ornaments all year." She added that the ornaments can also be used to trim a package.

Donna uses her ornaments as wedding gifts to young couples as well. A set of four ornaments is created for them, using their wedding colors, for them to begin their own holiday tradition.

Donna loves art and has taken an important message along with her art into the N-F classrooms. "I was a high school drop out. I use my art as a vehicle to get the kids' attention and tell them to stay in school and continue learning and that they can do or be anything they want to with an education."

Donna also has a passion for the library. "I enjoy helping the library out. I want to help keep the library viable."

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