Retired art teacher named Best in Show in Art is Ageless competition

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A bowl of fruit just won’t do for longtime painter Juanita Rapp Wyman. Her artwork represents her life experiences exclusively.

“Everything I do is personal, from my own photos. The subject matter seems to come to life more when you have a connection with it,” Juanita said.

Juanita created “Farmer and his Vintage Combine” from a picture of her husband’s cousin in southeast Missouri demonstrating a machine from his collection of old farm equipment. The painting won Best in Show, professional division, at the masterpiece level of this year’s Art is Ageless® competition after winning in the Farmington Presbyterian Manor competition and will be featured in the 2017 Art is Ageless calendar.

“I am totally excited. It’s always nice to be recognized,” Juanita said.

Works by local winners are automatically entered into a competition with winning art from 16 other Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America communities. The masterpiece level winners are featured in the Art is Ageless calendar and notecards.

Juanita was an art teacher for 30 years at the high school in De Soto, Mo. Her husband taught there as well. After he died in 2002, she returned to her hometown of Ste. Genevieve. Since then, she has been active in the local art guild and the town’s renowned historical sites.

Retirement has allowed Juanita to become a prolific painter – as a teacher she said she painted enough to maintain her credibility with her students, but her own work wasn’t the priority. She also has more time to travel to Europe, which is her favorite destination to paint along with scenes of the rural Midwest.

It was on a trip to Italy for a two-week painting workshop that Juanita discovered the technique of blending watercolor and chalk pastels. That’s how she painted the farmer. The result is a thick application of paint, pastels, and heavy brush strokes.

“I think artists evolve either by accident or on purpose,” she said. “I was doing oil painting at the same time, and somehow I started laying in my chalk pastels more heavily, mixing it to where it looks like oil painting.”

Juanita spent a month in Germany this summer, visiting friends and distant relatives she has met while researching her genealogy over the past 20 years – and, of course, taking hundreds of photos for future paintings.

Congratulations to Juanita for taking Best in Show honors in Art is Ageless!