Shiner takes home special exhibit award at 'Paint The Town'
Maybe Gary Shiner should paint more.
Completing his first painting since he was a teenager, Shiner entered the work — an acrylic titled "After the Storm" — in the inaugural juried exhibition, "Paint The Town," hosted by Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art Gallery.
On Friday evening, he was pleasantly surprised when his name was announced as the winner of a special exhibit award, hosted by the Lebanon County Historical Society, where the painting eventually will be displayed.
"I'm just delighted they liked my humble efforts," Shiner said.
"I did one painting in high school," said Shiner, who joked that life got in the way of his painting career, including four years in the Air Force, meeting his wife Nancy, raising a family and establishing a career. "I decided I was not gonna make a lot of money painting, so I went into graphic arts."
Shiner's "After the Storm" depicts the front of the Samler Building at Eighth and Cumberland streets in Lebanon, looking south. A rainstorm is ending and the sun is emerging on the horizon.
To enter the exhibit, artists were required to show an actual building or scene in Lebanon.
"The only criteria was that it had to be within the city limits," said Melody Vincent, owner of Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art Gallery.
"I thought a lot of people might do the Samler Building because it's such an iconic building in Lebanon," Shiner said. "My first thought was lighting it from behind. I always like how light looks after a storm. I spent a lot of time reworking it before I got the effect I wanted, with the light coming from behind."
Shiner said he would often wake up at 4 a.m. and work on his painting before heading to his job as the production manager at Kapp Advertising.
Meanwhile, Robert Heilman, a professional artist who exhibits work as far away as Philadelphia and New York, won first place in the exhibition with an oil painting titled "Bethlehem Steel."
In an original perspective, the painting shows the rooftop of a Bethlehem Steel factory building beyond the rooftops of row homes, with an American flag on a flag pole.
"That's from the hill on (East) Chestnut Street," Heilman said. "That's how it looks from up there. I painted it from a photo."
The former Bethlehem Steel plant, which was Lebanon's biggest employer at one time, was the inspiration for the painting.
"I worked there for a year — many, many years ago," Heilman said. "My father and friends worked there, so there's a connection. It kind of typified the east side (of Lebanon) for me."
Also winning awards Friday:
Second place: Barry Leader, mixed media, titled "Turrets and Towers."
Honorable mention: Eva Bender for "Spike Factory"; Glenn Acker for "Gannon Street"; and Heilman for "East Side."
Jurors Jean Zaun and Teri Traner judged all the works and selected 19 for the exhibition. The art will be on display at Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art Gallery, 45 S. Eighth St., until April 25.