Gary Stahl was stumped about what to paint next after last year’s Art is Ageless reception. Life enrichment director Amy Watson had a suggestion: why not paint the new entrance to Wichita Presbyterian Manor?
Gary did. At this year’s exhibit, he took the Best in Show ribbon for his oil painting, “Our New Home.”
“It was a surprise to me,” said Gary, a west Wichita resident. “The competition was so stiff, I thought I’d be lucky to get anything.”
Gary has been entering up to three works in the Art is Ageless competition for at least seven years now, with several winners under his belt. One of his favorite memories is traveling to Topeka with a group of other winners to see their artwork exhibited in the Governor’s Display. And his photograph of two birds, “Waiting for Lunch,” is featured in this year’s Art is Ageless calendar.
But painting is Gary’s number one pastime. As a former design engineer in the aviation industry, he invests his paintings with precision. Gary takes photos of his subject – often buildings, sometimes landscapes – and paints them to scale, with accurate perspective.
Growing up, Gary learned to paint from his mother. They didn’t have canvases to paint on, he said, so she would divide up large pieces of cardboard and spray paint them white. He put his
He put his paints aside for several years, however, when his interest in sports cars took over. Gary joined a racing club and owned a series of cars, including three different MGs, a Porsche 924, an Alfa Romeo Julieta, and an Austin Healey. “I did that for 12 or 15 years, and then I got married and decided it was time to quit,” he said.
After Gary’s painting won top honors at the Art is Ageless show in March, he decided to donate it to Presbyterian Manor. “I painted six buildings this year, and I gave them all away,” he said.