Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope in the Field

Despite my occasional grousing about Pennsylvania, I am fond of the state (which is why I've spent my life here). We enjoy each of the seasons, we have history galore. We have tradition and gorgeous terrain, from the Mummers, to Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, to Hershey and Lancaster County, to the Pocono mountains to the Great Lakes of Erie.

We also have wonderful, funny and funky names of cities and towns. Intercourse. Paradise. Blue Ball. Bird-in-Hand. Slippery Rock. Conshohocken.

Growing up in Scranton, there were names of towns in the surrounding area that I just loved. One of my favorites was Shickshinny (along with Mehoopany, Tunkhannock, and Promised Land).

Shickskinny is in the news for the work of a group of local artists, who painted a 100-foot poster in a field on the land of a couple, who are artists and Obama supporters. As the Times Leader reports, ‘Hopeful’ painting:

Shickshinny residents Hilary Ross and Jim Lenox believe in hope and in Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s vision of hope.

* * * *
Thinking bigger is better, Ross and Lenox decided to use their artistic talents to create a 102-by-70-foot painting of Obama on their lawn based on the artwork of Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey .

* * * *

After borrowing a friend’s copy of the Fairey poster, the couple spent 10 days laying out the 7,000-square-foot grid and outlining the painting.

Then it was time to paint. The couple held a painting party at their home on Sunday, inviting 15 artist friends and Obama supporters to come “color by numbers” as Lenox, 47, called it.

They used a water-based athletic field paint. After more than seven hours, they still weren’t finished so Lenox and Ross completed the work on Monday afternoon.

Inspiring indeed.

(Photo above via the Barack Obama and Joe Biden campaign website, which also has a slide show of the Making of the Field of Hope. Photo below via AP).

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