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Henry County Art & Craft Guild Show

Cincinnati's Wetenkamp
to appear at show

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (Sept. 2003) – Cliff Wetenkamp loves the freedom that modern abstract painting affords him. For this former sporting goods equipment designer, all that really matters is his “love of colors and being able to express myself.”
While growing up in Cincinnati, Wetenkamp said his entire family shared his love of art. He credits his artistic talent to his mother, who was of French descent. His father was a professional boxer who also held a steady day job to provide for his large family of 10 boys and five girls.

Cliff Wetenkamp

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

Cliff Wetenkamp
with painting “Autumn.”

After winning an art award in 1959, Wetenkamp knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “My love for art has always been in me,” he said.
He was offered an athletic scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University but turned it down. He had actually earned an art certificate in high school that was equivalent to a college degree at the time, he said.
Wetenkamp will be represented along with other members of the Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild at their fourth annual Art Show on Saturday, Sept. 13. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Henry County Middle School on Hwy. 421 in New Castle, Ky.
Formerly held on the grounds of the Heritage House, Guild vice president and show chairman Sharon Silvers said this year’s new location would provide ample parking and an air-conditioned environment. The Henry County Cattlemen’s Association will furnish food and refreshments.
Silvers labeled this event a “celebration of Henry County’s best artists and their work.” The 30-member guild will present a variety of arts and crafts, showcasing the county’s talent in the form of oil and watercolor paintings, wooden toys, baskets primitives, jewelry, handcrafted furniture, painted gourds and gifts. Free art and craft demonstrations during show hours highlight the artists and their work.
Wetenkamp, 63, said he joined the Guild to meet other artists and to see their work. He described his work as “color expressions, or abstract with direction.” He has formerly displayed his work at art galleries in Louisville and Lexington, galleries that he frequently visited to learn what type of artwork the public would like.
Before retiring as head of design at Eminence Speaker, he pursued a lucrative career in designing sporting goods equipment, such as baseball gloves, shoulder pads and golf bags. Throughout his lifetime, he gained valuable experience doing something he loved by working for well-known companies such as McGregor, Rawlings and Brunswick.
A special touch to Wetenkamp’s paintings is his handmade canvases. He said he crafts his own canvas because this provides him the opportunity to design it in any shape or size he prefers. He can often be found sitting on his front porch making a canvas.
Wetenkamp said his subject matters are chosen spontaneously. His inspiration comes from many different things. He often sits down and reflects on things he has seen during the course of the day, to “visualize it.”
After briefly thinking through this process, he mentally arrives at “that image and puts it on canvas.” Wetenkamp said he would like to one day work with an interior designer in an effort to create his abstract works of art. After the designer has created a certain look in a home, Wetekamp would go in and take note of certain prominent colors, such as colors of the rugs, mantle, ceiling and sofa, and sculpture a canvas to fit the perimeter of a wall. Pantones would then be plotted in to bring the painting to life.
“I see things and I like to put them on canvas,” he said. He often chooses a few primary colors and from them creates more colors to fill a canvas. His paintings depict a certain amount of movement, and he labels them as “illusionary.”
Along with Wetenkamp and other members of the Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild, members of the Louisville Artisan’s Guild have been invited to participate in this year’s art show. Founded in 1956 as the Louisville Craftsman’s Guild, it is the oldest crafts guild in Kentucky.
President Jan Sowder said, “The Henry County Art Show is one of many area art shows that our individual members participate in.”

For more information on the art show, contact Silvers at (502) 845-4560 or Saundra Smith at (502) 845-4734.

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