Sunday, January 18, 2009

Woman paints the way for granddaughter

Telegram Staff Writer

The back of a brick building in Belton is taking on a new look. No longer a wall of pale brown, it has become a work of art.
'There's a bright blue sky, some green hills and golden flowers,' said Ann Montgomery of Belton, pointing to her creation at Vintage Daze, 213 E. Central. 'I think I'll call it 'French Countryside.''
She painted the landscape with the aid of her 5-year-old granddaughter, Jenna Montgomery of Belton.
'It's all part of a project to spruce up the back side of the store,' Ms. Montgomery said.
The owner, Sandy Bigham, said plans are to transform the area into a break nook.
'We want the back patio to be a place where people can come drink coffee or have lunch,' Ms. Bigham said. 'It's in the process of being fixed up.'
The mural was the first step. A vendor at the store, Ms. Montgomery volunteered to paint it because she enjoys arts and crafts.
'She said she had an idea for a painting, and I told her to go for it,' Ms. Bigham said. 'It turned out great. I love it.' The store clerk, Charlene Okun of Belton, agrees.
'I think it's beautiful,' Ms. Okun said. '(Ms. Montgomery) does such wonderful work. The crafts that she sells are fabulous. I can't wait to see what she brings in next.'
Ms. Montgomery's granddaughter got involved because she likes to have hobbies.
'I'm a baseball player, gymnasticer and wanted to be a painter too,' Jenna said. 'I knew I liked painting because of the stuff I did at Christmas.'
Her grandma says she has talent.
'Especially with clouds,' Ms. Montgomery said. 'I'm too fixated with my brush stroke. She just swirls it, and it comes out wispy and beautiful.'
The grandma-granddaughter painting duo has attracted attention from nearby businesses and passersby.
'People have come over to offer us drinks and snacks,' Ms. Montgomery said. 'And we've had other business owners ask us to paint murals for them. I never dreamed it would get this much attention.'
The project at Vintage Daze is not the first mural for the two to tackle together.
They painted one on an interior wall of the Belton CPS office. It depicts a house's front yard of a house with a white picket fence.
'It is so beautiful,' said Cindy Shafer, office manager of the Belton CPS office. 'It brightens up the whole office, and every time children come in the room, they smile.'
The painting team is also busy at work on Jenna's room at home.
'It's got flowers and butterlies. MeeMee's helping me paint it,' Jenna said. 'Pink and purple are my colors.'
Ms. Montgomery's been interested in art for most of her adult life.
For the last 15 years, she's taught art lessons from he home and for the Belton school district's continuing education program.
And these days she's tickled to share her passion for painting with her granddaughter.
'I have so much fun watching her,' Ms. Montgomery said. 'She's learning and she's excited. It's great fun.'

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