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Local artist crafts rain barrel for auction

4/25/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Coventry artist Dale Warren is shown with the rain barrel he painted that will be auctioned off June 1. The barrel features scenes from the Portage Lakes area, including water fowl, a sailboat and Coventry’s Clock Tower.
Photo: Emily Chesnic
COVENTRY — Contemporary artist Dale Warren’s current project is sure to make a splash in the Portage Lakes community once officially unveiled next month.

The Coventry resident has painted landscapes for the past 40 years. His current canvas, however, is a rain barrel.

Warren recently volunteered to stroke a masterpiece on a rain barrel to help educate residents of the Portage Lakes on the importance of storm water management. Coventry soon will auction off the piece of art to promote the use of rain barrels in the community.

Trustee Gary Zoldesy said residents who opt to use rain barrels on their properties positively impact the entire area’s water quality.

Coventry is joining other participating Summit County communities in displaying and auctioning off colorful rain barrels with help from the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) through a grant received though the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Soil and Water Resources, Zoldesy said recently.

A rain barrel is a round container that collects water as it flows from a downspout and off a home’s roof, according to Summit SWCD officials. A rain barrel collects and slows runoff, ultimately conserving water, filtering out pollutants and preventing flooding and erosion, Summit SWCD officials explained. Water collected in a rain barrel could be used for lawn and garden watering,  according to Summit SWCD.

When the blue barrel arrived at his art gallery, Warren had his sketches done and brush in hand, he said.

“The scheme came to me right away,” he said.

After more than 50 hours of work, the barrel is almost complete and features scenes from the Portage Lakes area, including water fowl, a sailboat and Coventry’s Clock Tower. “I wanted to show all of the aspects of the lakes,” Warren said.

Even though Warren has enjoyed art his entire life, much of his career focused on drafting and engineering. What was once a hobby has become his full-time job. Warren opened his own studio about three years ago and now focuses on commission work — by painting on location — and offering art classes to aspiring artists, he said. He restores old paintings, as well. For the past 15 years, he has focused on painting golf courses throughout the state.

Warren said he is primarily self-taught but he has attended a number of workshops to perfect his techniques. His goal is to have his paintings be as true to life as possible, he said.

Warren’s studio, located at 856 Portage Lakes Drive, is full of his original paintings of scenery and people. The community is invited to stop in to view his work, he said. Artists also are invited to attend one of his Saturday morning classes, which cost $30.

Once the rain barrel is complete, Warren said he plans to continue to expand his classes.

Zoldesy said the completed rain barrel will be on display at the next meeting of the Coventry Board of Trustees May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive.

The auction for the rain barrel will take place June 1 at 1 p.m. at Warren’s art gallery. Bids will start at $60, Warren said. The proceeds from the auction will go to further environmental education in Summit County, according to Summit SWCD officials.

For more details on rain barrels, visit www.summitswcd.org or call 330-929-2871. To learn more about Warren’s work, contact him at 330-903-6220 or at www.paintingsbydale.com.

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