Rick Prosser tops every category he enters

Rick Prosser’s needlepoint entry, “Universe in Motion,” won Best in Show at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor’s Art is Ageless competition.

Rick Prosser’s needlepoint entry, “Universe in Motion,” won Best in Show at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor’s Art is Ageless competition.

After his stellar showing in this year’s Art is Ageless competition, Lawrence artist Rick Prosser said he’s re-energized to do more painting and drawing.

This was the first year Prosser had ever entered Art is Ageless. He took first place in three categories: fiber arts, painting (professional), and drawing (professional). His large needlepoint piece, “Universe in Motion,” also took Best in Show.

“I was quite astonished,” Prosser said. “I think they’re good. I’m very proud, but I was shocked.”

Although he’s been creating art most of his adult life, Prosser said he had focused primarily on needlepoint in recent years. He picked up the craft a few years ago when he was ill and spending a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms.

“I got tired of reading books and magazines, so I started doing my own needlepoint designs,” he said. “I got really carried away with it. I have about 52 hanging in the closet.”

He has also stitched Christmas stockings and pillows for his seven grandchildren. His 5-year-old granddaughter watched with interest recently as he worked on a picture of Bambi, not realizing she would receive it for Christmas. Prosser had it framed.

“When she opened it, she looked at it and started hugging it up against her face,” he said. “But then she said, ‘Oh, I can’t feel it.’ I took it that week and had it made into pillow.”

The walls of Prosser’s home are covered with artwork, he said – many are his works, and the rest are either originals or numbered prints. He’s drawn to graphic patterns, especially spider webs, and modernistic scenes and cityscapes. But his other winning pieces in Art is Ageless were a pen-and-ink drawing called “Moon Over Life” and an acrylic painting of boats titled “Serenity.”

“My favorite was the moon drawing,” he said. “I want to do more like it. It gives me that feeling of movement.”

Prosser majored in both fine arts and biology at Missouri State University, then got a master’s in communications at KU. But he became an engineer for AT&T. That’s where he met his wife, Charlotte. They both took an early buyout from AT&T, and she went on to teach for 20 years in Lawrence schools. She’ll retire this spring.

Lucky for Prosser – he says he always paints better when she’s in the room.

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