About Me


About Me
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Welcome to my Web site!

Below is background information relating to my efforts and experiences to learn the painting techniques you will see on my web site. It is the background information I shared as part of a program in the Spring of 2008. I am a humble person but you should know that fine painting skills do not always come easy and require effort, dedication and hard work.

For those I have not met, my name is Esther Shields.

All my life I have been blessed with a love to create. I have tried most every kind of craft. Quilting, Scrap booking, ceramics, woodworking, writing, embroidery, cross stitch, crocheting, beading and more. When I was a kid I even put model airplanes together. I think that was the only craft available here in the dime store at that time.

Back in the early 1960ís I started painting in Tole which was the fad at that time. Tole painting consisted mainly of fruit, vegetables and some flowers that were painted mostly on wood. My efforts were very crude but at the time I thought it was wonderful.

I knew I needed some help to become a better painter and I searched for years for someone to teach me how to start painting a picture I would be proud of. I painted with several teachers and all gave me some help but I really did not find the confidence to go ahead on my own until I met Dorothy Dent.

I had several of her books but had no idea where Painters Corner was until I was visiting my son Bill and his wife Kelley who live north of Springfield, Missouri. When I found out Republic was only about 25 miles southwest of their home I got real excited and the rest is history.

What I learned from Dorothy Dent was how to start and complete a painting. I have been painting with Dorothy for about 4 years. I took the required 3 certification classes from Dorothy in 2006 and now I am certified to teach. To receive this certification Dorothy requires a student to recreate the paintings as close to her original as possible. She will only certify someone she will be proud to say she taught. Each week of certification requires 5 paintings in 5 days. Complete certification requires 3 separate certification classes of 5 days each.

Also a week of recertification classes must be completed each year to keep the certification in effect. This is another 5 paintings. That is one reason there are so many paintings here.

This certification is not cheap. The classes are $500.00 per week plus the canvas must be bought at her shop. I donít intend to reimburse myself for this expense from my students.

I am not going into the business to get rich by teaching. I love to paint and I want to teach others. I want to make enough to pay my expenses of heating and cooling the building, taxes, insurance and such.

I love to paint and I want to paint everything I can, whether its landscapes, still life, fruit or vegetables on canvas, saw blades, ceramicís, wood items, whatever .

I truly believe the Good Lord put each one of us here to help one another. We each have talents. We may not be aware of those talents but they are there in a flicker of a desire to create something beautiful.

Any creative craft can be learned if the desire to learn is there.

You may say to yourself. I canít draw a straight line, how can I paint a picture. It is good that you canít draw a straight line, that is why we have rulers. God never made a straight line in nature. Look around you at the hills, the clouds, the trees, the rivers.

Before I started painting, a tree was a tree whether green in the spring or colored in the fall, or bare in the winter. After I learned to paint I realized I was looking at everything differently. The trees were not just black trunks and limbs with green leaves. Have you thought how many colors there are in the trunk of a tree. They look black or very dark if the background is light. If the timber or hills behind the trees are very dark the trunks may appear very light or even white in color.

I was told by one teacher that the lake water was only the reflection of the sky color. Wrong. The color is made different by the depth of the water, any algae growing in the water, where the sun is at that time of day and many other factors.

 What I want to instill in you is the desire to create something. The whole world looks different when you start to create color on a structure whether it be a canvas, board, paper, wall or any object.

For those who have not found a teacher I want to help you learn how to paint. All you really need is the desire to paint, the rest can be learned.

You can paint a nice picture without spending a lot of money. But be forewarned it can get addictive and it can get expensive. It depends on how serious you want to get involved.

Now for some history which is another passion of mine.

My desire to paint started way back in 1946 or 1947 when the Champion Textile Finishing company built their factory in La Cygne.

The factory shipped in grey goods (cotton canvas) from the southern states to the building which is now part of the Linn County CoOp. There the canvas was finished to make it water proof for tents, aprons and other products. The tent factory was located on the corner of Julieís grocery parking lot. The finished product was then shipped out to Chicago and other areas by truck. When I was a kid in the summer I carried a case of bottles of pop from my dad's Mobil gas station across the street to the factory for their break time.

A man by the name of Don Lutton came from Kansas City to manage the factory. Don was a fantastic artist. When I was a kid about 13 my friends and I would stand at the loading dock of the factory and watch Don standing on a very tall ladder painting on long panels of canvas which would become back drops for the carnival. These were of the Fat Lady, sword swallower, tattoo people, etc. I was fascinated just to watch him create something of beauty from a few cans of paint.

Don soon invited us to come in the factory and watch him. Don was a very patient man and if we were quiet we could come any time and watch. Of course we were very quiet as watching Don paint was one of the very few activities available to us kids in the summer at that time. If you didnít play baseball you were on your own.

Don Lutton is what started my desire to create paintings of beauty. He did a lot of paintings for La Cygne. He painted the picture of Jesus in the Garden for the baptistery at the Christian Church. He painted several murals that are now in the Library, the Museum, and for the Masonic Lodge.

He also painted the scenery for Easter and Christmas which was hung on the wire frame on top of the hill 3 miles east of La Cygne. At that time the highway going north from the hill was highway 69 and when you were driving south at night and drove over the hill and saw the huge picture with the flood lights on it, it was really something you never forgot. Don did not charge for these pictures. All he asked for payment was the cost of the paint which was in pint cans. Do you know anyone who would do this today? 

I am sorry to say neither of the large paintings survive today. I have a copy of the slide pictures of the Christmas and Easter scene. They are not very good but all that is left and they will give you an idea of what they looked like.

Also I was inspired by a lady in a wheel chair at the Sugar Mound Craft show. I watched her as she was painting a picture. She started by mixing a very thin wash of Burnt Umber and spreading it across the top of her canvas. As the wash ran down the canvas she tipped the canvas and let it run in different directions.

She then decided what she was going to paint as she looked at the lights and darks that gave her a picture in her mind. The result was fantastic. I watched her and wished I had the talent to do this. I want to try her idea sometime but as yet have not.  How she saw an Indian setting on a horse, looking up at the sky at another faint Indian in the clouds was really something.

Do you have a talent you would like to share with others? If you have never shared with others your God given talents, you donít know the wonderful joy you can receive from this exchange.

I have a challenge for you. For you who have this God given talent for creating something of beauty and for you who want to learn how to create that something of beauty.

My challenge is for each one of you to write what your God given talent is and when you would be available to teach others. Even if you are not sure at this time whether you want to teach or not, think about it. I want to know what you can do. This is not set in concrete, no one is going to come to your home and get you.  It is just a joy to see the look on someone's face when they are happy with the item you helped them to create.

If you just want to learn a craft make a note of that.

Be sure to put your name, address, and phone number and whether you are free in the day time or only evenings for classes.

If you donít have a talent or never had the opportunity to learn or just want to learn something new, write down the name of the craft.

Sharing our gifts with others is a very rewarding pass time.

My goal is to make available any craft , to anyone who wants to learn and to have the information available and hopefully someone who can teach that craft, whether it be painting or any other creative process.

My shop will be available to teachers whenever I am not having a painting class. Even then we might find room. If I donít have enough room for all the classes we will find room somewhere else.

Sugar Mound Arts and Crafts started with a few people wanting to find a way to sell their paintings and crafts and look where it is today.

This is not all set in concrete folks. I am really trusting in God to guide each one of us so that we can make one another happy with our creative talents.

Please call me anytime with any questions you might have. I truly want to help. My phone is 913-757-2101 both at home and at the shop.  My e-mail address is shieldse@peoplestelecom.net.  In the subject line put (painting class) or something to catch my notice as I delete a lot of spam.

Some of my paintings are here. I hope you enjoy them. I am still learning myself. I gain more knowledge and confidence with each painting I do. I will be glad to answer any questions you might have.

Thank you Esther Shields


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This site was last updated 07/22/08