Earl Luther, a native of Ebensburg, PA, first learned of his aptitude in art through a crush he had in his freshman year of high school.
“I was on the football team, and I had scheduled all my classes in the morning so that the afternoon was free for practice,” Earl said. “When football season ended, I had nothing but those study halls in the afternoon. There was a girl I liked who took art classes, so I decided to take art classes to fill my free time.”
Earl quickly found out that he enjoyed the classes, working with colored chalk pastels to make a still life that won a competition between all the art classes in Cambria County. He continued in his sophomore year, working with watercolors and eventually oil paints (now his favorite medium), but he stopped painting after the year was over – and didn’t pick up a brush for many more years.
Earl joined the Naval Reserve after high school and met his late wife, Margaret, one summer when he was a volunteer fireman.
“I met her at a carnival, and I like to say it was a three-ring circus after that,” he joked.
They were married in September 1952 and eventually had two daughters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Earl served on active duty during the Korean War and then had a career selling men’s clothing, even owning his own store for nine years. He also served on the Ebensburg Borough Council and Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs (PSAB), was a part of the Ebensburg Rotary Club (and was awarded a plaque by the PSAB and Rotary Club for 20 years of service to the Ebensburg community), was a Scout Master for the Cub Scouts and volunteered at the St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry for more than 25 years. When he retired at 62, he finally had time to rediscover his interest in art.
“In total, I really didn’t paint for about 40 years,” Earl said. “When I retired, I would sit around the house and get tired of doing nothing. One day I was rooting through my old things, and I found these old tubes of paint and brushes and thought, ‘Oh, that’s something to do.’”
Earl estimates that he’s completed about 50 oil paintings to date, and he has sold some to friends and hung many in his Concordia Haven apartment. He only took one sketching class in his retirement, and he paints his pictures both from photos and his memory.
“Painting is a bit time-consuming, but I really do enjoy it,” Earl said. “It’s just like fly fishing in some ways. I used to tie my own flies and go out – when you’re fishing you think of nothing else but catching the fish. That’s just how it is with painting – when I’m painting, all I think about is the picture in front of me.”
His featured painting in Concordia’s 2020 calendar is titled “Playmates,” and was created from his memory. It was cropped to fit the calendar format, but depicts a pond and rowboat surrounded by lush greenery and flowers with two small children at the bottom (see photo).
“Years and years ago I used to go fishing with my Daddy at that pond,” Earl said. “I just painted that memory from my head, and the two children in the picture are my late sister Rose and I picking some flowers.”
Earl has continued to paint since moving to Concordia in 2016.
“The first time we visited here, I came in the front door and into the dining room, and I said, ‘This is it. I love it,’” he said. “And I still do. This is my home. And I don’t have to worry about cutting the grass, trimming the hedges or cleaning out the rainspouts.”
In addition to painting, he is also part of the popular Haven group MMAD (Men Meeting After Dinner), plays the harmonica and even finds time to write poems, including some about Concordia. “Why I Like This Place” is about his experience in the same Haven Dining Room that inspired him to move to his new home:
“Why I Like This Place”
Each time I go to dinner
When seated I look around
I see the best of God’s people
Where smiles and love abound
Five barley loaves and two fish
Once fed a multitude
And here at dinner His flock
Will fill themselves with food
Not in a spiritual way
But that which sustains life
And keeps their bodies moving
Through all their trials and strife
Then I thank God for all these friends
With whom I break my bread
Then ask Him to keep them safe
When all are fully fed
At the end of dinner
Each go their separate way
Back to the task of living
To await another day
To learn more about the retirement living options offered at the Concordia Haven Apartments on our Cabot campus, visit www.ConcordiaHaven.org or schedule a tour today. Call Peggy at 724-352-5378 or message us through the contact form on our website. To request a free copy of the 2020 Concordia Calendar, “Brush Strokes 2,” call the Public Relations Department at 724-352-1571, ext. 8268.