HED:Card to be painting of angel
By Eileen Bailey
Everyone needs a guardian angel over the shoulder.
At least that’s what Tupelo artist Jean Thicken Francis believes.
Francis said she believes different guardian angels have helped her out at times. For example, one showed up when time she had a flat tire on a lonely road with nothing to change it with. A man driving down the road stopped to help her, then went on his way.
“We all need a guardian angel. Many of the people who help at Gardner-Simmons Home are angels in disguise,” Francis said. “They are helping kids when they need it and that is the best kind of angel you can find.”
Maybe it’s fitting that one of Francis’ paintings of an angel was chosen as the Christmas card for the Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls annual fund-raiser.
All who enter here
The acrylic painting chosen for the card is called “Bless all who enter here.” The painting is owned by Bill Kapenekas and hangs in Vanelli’s Restaurant.
Francis said Kapenekas had seen the other angels in a series of paintings called Angels of Light and commissioned her to do the blessing angel in 1993.
The painting features colors of green, red and mauve and shows an angel playing a harp. Written in the panels along side of the angel are the blessings Francis has heard from different churches.
Francis, who received a degree in sculpting from the Memphis College of Art, said the painting represents the blessing of food and the blessing of the people who see it.
Robin Reed, who chairs the card fund-raiser for Gardner-Simmons Home with Kim Caron, said they chose Francis’ work because of the angels. After looking at several of the angels in her series, they chose the blessing angel.
Francis and Kapenekas gave permission to use the painting as the cover of this year’s Christmas cards.
“It represents peace and hope and that is perfect for Christmas at the Gardner-Simmons Home,” she said.
The notecard will again be drawn by John Carlson, who designed past Christmas cards and notecards for the Gardner-Simmons Home of Birmingham, Ala.
This year’s notecard features balloons.
“It is very colorful,” Reed said.
The original painting was purchased by Richard Warriner of Tupelo.
Reed said they hope to make $25,000 from the Christmas and notecard sale. Last year, they made $13,000. The proceeds will be used at the home, which can house eight girls ages 11 to 18 who have been abused or neglected.
It also will help fund a Foster Care program and Independent Living program for girls who have left the home and are trying to make it on their own.
Reed said this is the organization’s biggest fund-raiser and is needed to help provide things not covered by grants or the United Way.