Artist donates sampling of his collection to local church

HIGHLAND LAKES — A Meadowlakes artist has donated two dozen pieces of his artwork to help raise money for charities supported by a Burnet church, including a local food pantry.

Already 12 paintings have sold, raising about $5,000 for the church’s outreach.

Lynwood “Lyn” Bennett says painting was never a hobby. He took it very seriously, refining his skills through the years. One result is the donation of the 24 from his collection to benefit Epiphany Episcopal Church in Burnet.

Bennett, who grew up in Central Texas, moved to Meadowlakes from Temple two years ago with wife Pat Bennett. His professional life has been dedicated to his work as a commercial advertising graphic artist. He worked in the graphic arts industry managing the opening of print shops in big box stores such as Staples. He also worked as a freelance artist and owned his own graphic arts studio while living in Dallas.

He describes his art as something that captures the essence of moving water, although his wife defines it as a “Texas Hill Country style” that features water. 

“I paint moving water,” he says. “While viewing my paintings, I want the viewer to see and feel the movement of the water. It is my hope that the viewer will virtually hear the running water, and sense the smell of nature as I did when discovering the scene.”

He and his wife had worshipped at the church  for about a year when he got the idea to donate some of his earlier works to the church as a fundraiser. He approached the Rev. Ted Hervey, the rector at Epiphany, with the idea.

“Being the president of the board of the Lakes Area Food Pantry (LACare) and seeing such a downturn in the economy, we could see a big increase in the number of people needing assistance. I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to the community,” Hervey said. “It (the donation) isn’t something we asked for, but we had to ask ourselves how to be good stewards of the gifts we were given. One of the core values at Epiphany is shown in our outreach and desire to give back to the community.”

Bennett has been painting professionally for 17 years. He decided to take an art class while living in Chicago and began to hone his skills concentrating on fine art. Only in the last few years did Bennett reach a point where he devoted himself full-time to his painting.

“Painting is something I have always done for pleasure, and the path of becoming a professional artist just evolved. The paintings I donated to the church are some I did five to 10 years ago. In art, you are constantly developing your skills and you go along with the change. You reach a point where the artwork may not represent what you would put in an art gallery today,” Bennett said.

When Bennett decided to make the donation to Epiphany, he selected 24 paintings of his earlier work he had collected in his studio. Originally, the church wanted to put the paintings in a silent auction in October, but there were too many activities at the time and they felt they wouldn’t be able to give them enough exposure.

Of the 24 paintings, 12 have sold, consisting of originals and prints. The church has raised more than $5,000 so far, and there are still several paintings on display in Burnet in the lobbies of Wells Fargo Bank and First State Bank of Burnet.

The church has decided to distribute the proceeds to LACare, the Burnet unit of the Boys & Girls Club of the Highland Lakes, Camp Agape, the Christian Women’s Job Corp., CASA for the Highland Lakes Area and the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center.

“I never specified where the proceeds would go,” Bennett said. “I just left it up to Father Ted and told them to do whatever they thought was best.”

It takes Bennett an average of one to four weeks to finish each painting depending on size, and his most recent work has been on display in the Southwest Art Gallery in Dallas for the last year and a half. Bennett also does commission work for area ranchers around the Hill Country who want to have their land captured on canvas.

“The bulk of my inspiration is from Cow Creek on RR 1431 just 15 miles east of Marble Falls. I begin the process by taking lots of pictures. I Photoshop them and make changes to re-do the landscape, and I always have to build a sky for each painting. The photos just start as a reference point and are rarely like the finished artwork,” Bennett said.

Some of the purchased artwork has gone to the Hill Country Community Foundation’s new building at 402 E. Jackson St. and to the St. Anne’s Guild of Epiphany Episcopal Church. The guild purchased some of the paintings to hang in the new library once it’s completed. The rest of the pieces have been sold to a variety of individuals by word of mouth.

“I think three things impressed me the most about this project,” Hervey said. “First, it was that Lyn so willingly gave the paintings to us. Second, I was proud the church members decided to give away all the proceeds from the sale of the paintings, and third I was so happy the community can benefit from the generosity of someone who’s name is really gaining a reputation as an artist.”

Those interested in viewing some of the paintings can phone the church at (512) 756-2334. Epiphany Episcopal is located at Wood and Lamon streets across from Burnet Elementary School.

byoung@thepicayune.com