Local artist to display works


Think it. Draw it. Paint it. Write it, Click it. Play it. Who does that?  

Artists, authors, photographers, composers, musicians… All with prolific imaginations and the propensity to call out their visions. Some prefer to keep their subject matter to themselves yet others step out to share their works for the enjoyment of other aspiring artists or curious onlookers.

The Next Picture Show Community Fine Arts Center (TNPS) in Dixon is a perfect half-way home for exhibiting artists who want to display their creative endeavors.

For 16 years, TNPS has attracted diversified and talented artists from not just local but far-reaching communities in many directions. The center occupies an 1854 building that has undergone complete restoration. Patrons are easily drawn to the harmonious surroundings and the showcasing of a wide range of artist’s presentations.

So, what meets the eye upon entering The Next Picture Show? Beautiful works are portrayed in all mediums including acrylics, oils, watercolors, charcoal, glass, wood, pen, pastels, photography, mixed media, even two-and three-dimensional art and zentangle art. Themed exhibits are scheduled throughout the year such as “Farms and Barns,” “Absolutely Abstract,” “Shades of Gray” and “About Face,” focusing on portraits and exhibiting from June 5 through July 17.

Then there is the “Great Wall of TNPS” which showcases an individual’s talents one at a time.

Artist and children’s book author, Sheila Welch will display 10 of her works “for people to enjoy,” from June 16 through June 30.

She has exhibited at TNPS for five years as well as other places including the Freeport Art Museum and Public library, the Rockford Public library and Highland College.

Her choice of mediums are acrylic paints and graphite or colored pencils. All three are incorporated into one of her unusual paintings called “Fly Away Home.” In addition, she’s submitted three portraits for the now ongoing “About Face” exhibit. Though many of her pieces are ready or have been sold, she maintains she has some favorites she could never let go. “White Cat Waiting” (watching a storm brewing) and “Camouflage Cat” a favorite in acrylics.

She recalls liking to draw at an early school age and was “always jealous of the kids with the big box of crayons.” She was attracted to picking out black crayons to draw Appaloosa horses or black horses. She loved horses and when she drew pictures, she created stories or fantasies to go with them.

In her eight-grade diary she wrote a promise to herself, “Someday I hope to make books for children,” little aware it was in preparation of what was ahead of her. What did transpire was Welch becoming a teacher in the public school system, an artist and illustrator of children’s books, some her own, some for others. A health scare in her 30’s pushed her to follow through with the diary wish and publish her first book, “Don’t Call Me Marda,” one of many others she would later write.

She and her husband Eric raised seven children and an array of cats, dogs and horses on a farm in Ogle County. Now, though empty nesters and both retired, they are grandparents and settled in an area of homes in Freeport and surrounded by other like-minded creative neighbors they both enjoy. Welch continues to write and draw with support from Eric and has received many awards and recognition over the years for all her efforts.