Bill Edwards, the calendar artist for May and July, first started teaching himself to draw when he was seven years old.
“We didn’t have art education at the school I went to, so I had no formal art training,” the Highpointe at Rebecca resident explained. “I started copying comic strips and became self-taught.”
Bill continued to sharpen his talent throughout school and eventually went to Indiana State Teachers’ College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) for his undergraduate degree in art education. It was at Indiana that he first started painting, specifically in a watercolor class under his mentor, Ralph Reynolds.
“Watercolor was my first love – besides my wife,” Bill joked.
Bill met Barbara, a student at Grove City College, while at Indiana. He received training in other media while in school, including oil paints, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture and many more.
After graduation, Bill and Barbara (and eventually their two children) would live in many places across the country. Bill spent two years in the Army after being in the ROTC at Indiana, taught in public schools (as did Barbara), earned a masters degree in art education at Florida State University in Tallahassee, earned a doctorate in art education and fine arts at Penn State University and eventually taught at three different colleges: Northern Michigan University, Middle Tennessee State University and Clarion University.
“Barbara read somewhere that ministers move the most of anyone, and we say we could almost rival one,” Bill said.
Amidst the moves and teaching jobs, Bill still found plenty of time for his art. He won admission to the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Northeast Watercolor Society and National Watercolor Society as well as many awards. His paintings were also shown in national and international shows – even in the very first Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Of his many paintings, two were chosen this year for Concordia’s calendar.
“Both are from a trip we took to Italy,” Bill said. “The May painting is of rooftops in Florence, and the July painting is of Venice.”
Bill painted scenes in person and worked from photographs he took.
“When I was painting by myself, I would listen to all kinds of music,” he said. “After a while I found that classical music just suited my painting style. It broke the ‘noise’ of silence for me without interfering with my painting.”
After working at Clarion University for more than 22 years, Bill retired from teaching. He and Barbara moved to Highpointe at Rebecca from their home in Franklin about a year ago.
“I really like our apartment a lot; it’s convenient,” Barbara said. “Our house was getting too big, and we had people coming to do our yardwork. We just had to downsize.”
Though Bill and Barbara gave plenty of paintings to their family – two children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – their apartment still features many of his works. Barbara also donated the piano in the dining room in memory of her mother. The two enjoy reading, visits to the public library and trips to watch live operas at a local movie theater.
To learn more about the retirement living options offered at Highpointe at Rebecca in Allison Park, PA, visit www.HighpointeRebecca.org or schedule a tour today. Call 724-444-1521 or message us through the Contact Form on our website. To request a free copy of the 2019 Concordia Calendar, “Brush Strokes,” call the Public Relations Department at 724-352-1571, ext. 8266.