Surrounded by Beauty

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When one is surrounded by beauty, it is impossible not to absorb some of it into your heart and soul.

That is what Stephanie Moreland says turned her into an artist.

“I think we live in the most beautiful place in the country,” said Stephanie Moreland of her Ripley County home. “We’ve got rolling hills, lush trees, sparkling creeks, the beautiful Current River, and wildlife all around us.”

She admits she comes from a family of hunters.

But she has found a different way to hunt. Just as some people become wildlife photographers, she has become a wildlife painter.

“Painting is my way of sharing my heritage. I was taught to respect nature, and to find a way of giving back in gratitude for all that has been given us,” said Moreland.

As a result, her favorite subject for painting is the landscape and wildlife around her.

“I’ve always loved art,” she recalled. “I was the kid who was always doodling in class.”

When it was time to decide what kind of career she wanted to pursue, her initial thought was veterinarian.

She married her high school sweetheart, and took a short break from college. By the time she resumed her coursework, she knew she wanted to pursue art as a career.

“Art has always been my passion. So I decided to pursue an art degree,” she explained.

She finished her degree and received a bachelor’s degree in art education.

“So now I teach art, kindergarten through high school, in a very small, rural school district (Naylor),” said Moreland. “I also paint on the side. For years my artwork has found its way to homes of my family members.”

“I love art as a way of personalizing a home,” she said.

Building, painting, and design has become part of her family’s tradition, including help from her two children, 9-year-old Alivia and Luke, who has just turned 2.

She explained that Luke was born with a very rare genetic syndrome known as “Macrocephaly- Capillary Malformation” or “M-CM” for short. Only 160 people in the entire world are known to have the disease, which can cause global and learning delays, brain abnormalities, and growth problems. She credits God, many prayers, and art as a way of keeping him involved with his family. “He really has no abnormalities at this time,” smiled the artistic mother.

“He loves his crayons and markers!” she related. She believes Picasso was right when he said that we are all born as artists, but let life get in the way of our natural love of art.

“I think we have a tendency to lose art in our fast-paced technological world. People don’t visit art museums or take the time to stop and appreciate art as they once did. That is why I love the concept of the 4th Friday Art Walk in Doniphan. It’s bring art back to the people, even in a small community, and helping them realize that art is a part of who we are,” concluded Moreland.

As one of the honored artists at tonight’s Art Walk, Moreland is proud to play a small role in increasing art awareness.

“Art is a natural part of who we are as humans. We have an innate need to express ourselves through art,” she said. “And what better way to remind people of how blessed we are to live among all this natural beauty?”

Don’t miss this evening’s 4th Friday Artwalk sponsored by the Riverside Art Guild at Doniphan’s Heritage Park.

The Art Walk will feature the works of several regional artists, including Adam Whittom, Stephanie Morland, Mike Fielder, Jim Porterfied, and Bradley Thompson.

Also featured at tonight’s event will be a Memorial Concert for Tim Martin, who was a key player in encouraging development of an arts program in Doniphan with his Music in the Park program.

Kacie Turner, one of the organizers of the event, notes that the entire community has become very involved in developing this event, through both individuals and business sponsors who have stepped up to make the event releventedited Stephanie Morelandedited Stephanie Moreland 3edited Stephanie Moreland 6edited art walk poster 2for all ages, including children.

“We are going to have food, crafts, and all kinds of activities to demonstrate that development of an arts community is an important part of our community’s growth,” said Turner. “We started this program last year, but we think this year it is going to grow by leaps and bounds.”

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