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CHELLE GUNDERSON

I am a sentimental person. I like stories. Everyone and everything has a story. Mine began as a young girl crafting, sewing, painting, creating. I have an art minor but there was no social media. The internet was new, so I taught English to pay the bills, got married, and started having children. Art and creating had to be set aside as I was raising four girls and working to put my husband through medical school, I still longed to create. I held art workshops for children and painted murals. I volunteered and taught art in the elementary schools. I began making art and collecting sentimentalities from the life we were creating.

After my husband was finished with his training, we bought a house. I had large blank walls to fill, and I wanted real art. So I decided I would paint my own and took a class. That was ten years ago. I studied, painted and grew as an artist with our little group in the basement of the gallery. I have filled my walls with my paintings and theirs. Each piece that hangs on my wall has a story and I know it. There is a warmth that comes to a home from real art. My dad taught me that. He painted too. I grew up in a home where if you wanted something you made it.

So I made art, and I have made my life about art and remembering. To me, art is about capturing and connecting the stories. I take old china or jars and fill them with flowers from Kroger or a flower arrangement from supper club. I paint things I want to remember, the blue vase my husband gave me or lilacs from a friend. I’m not a floral designer. The bouquets are often droopy or imperfect but that is how life is, and that is part of the story.