had always loved art and had a opportunity to learn china painting when Bonnie
and Tom were little and Harold was working long hours at the drug store.
She started teaching her friends around the kitchen table in 1950
arranging class time so she was available for family activities, being there
when the children came home form school or Harold needed her help at the drug
store. She never dreamed that her
hobby would become an avocation and someday take her around the world.
grew and Gladys was busy being a wife, mother, teacher and artist filling the
creative urges we all have. Some of
her students were members of the Wixon Club, a women’s service organization in
Caro. They hit on the idea of
having a fund-raiser to serve the community using their paintings.
A China Tea was the result. The
members sold raffle tickets on pieces painted and donated by Gladys at a
beautiful setting at the high school. Tables
and niches of the student’s hand painted china were arranged along with
flowers and a beautiful tea table with bags of home made cookies.
It gave Gladys and her students a chance to show off their artwork and
the Wixon Club a chance to fund their community projects.
The China Tea became so successful in a period of 16 years that busloads
of people came from all over and the restaurants stayed open on Sundays to
accommodate the crowds.
Gladys’ reputation grew so did her classes.
Invitations to teach at other places kept coming.
Harold was very supportive and encouraged her to accept, but she did not
until both children were in college. It
was at this time that she realized there was a great need for botanical studies.
Her method of teaching using step-by-step directions had become very
successful. In 1970 Gladys
published her first series of 8 studies and took them to a china painting
convention in Pa. Harold went with
her. It was an eye opener for him
as he realized the potential. Harold was ready to retire from pharmacy so he
decided to sell the store and put Gladys on the road.
She always said, “To get his money back!”
had a wonderful seven years of traveling with Harold in his glory selling
studies, mailing them and setting up her business as only he knew how.
Gladys always said that he had a premonition that his time was limited
and she would need a way to make a living – which is exactly what happened.
1965 Gladys published her first book, a basic textbook that was much needed.
Today it is in its 16th printing and still selling.
She published a total of 55 botanical studies.
Hundreds of thousands have been sold and have made Gladys known around
the world. Two more books and six
videos are still available as well as a line of stationery, inspirational
booklets and lithographs of her original paintings.
(Continue to "From Teaching to Advocate")
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