A star for keeps…

By Nancy Evans and Bonnie Romine

When the Christmas star is lit on Main Street, North English, the community waits in anticipation for the special holiday ahead. Its lighting evokes memories of childhood that last through adulthood. The English Valleys History Center is honored to be able to share a special image of the North English Christmas star entitled “A Snowy Night in North English” with the public. John Evans, son of Robert and Nancy Evans, is making this possible.

Nancy Evans relates the story:

“It had snowed all night, but the Holt family had to leave town before dawn to return to Kansas. Christmas was over. As Brian turned the car north on Main Street and passed the History Center, Anne (Evans) Holt turned around for a last look at the star hanging over the street. The buildings, the decorations on the streetlights, the moon, the new snow with not a tire track in it and the star made an irresistible picture. Brian pulled over so she could take a picture with her cell phone. She sent it to her brother, John, knowing he felt as she did about the star. Their nostalgic feelings come from their own holiday memories and from hearing that the star was hanging during their father’s boyhood and when their grandfather was young.



“John studied the photo, trying to come up with a way to enlarge it and somehow turn it into a suitable 40th birthday present for his sister. His wife, Melissa, suggested turning it into a painting, and they thought of the artist David French, whose work they had seen in various Charlotte, NC, galleries, festivals, and bars. The semi-Impressionistic quality of the cell phone picture reminded John of some of the local night street scenes that French had done.

John met with French several times to impart to him exactly what he wanted. He directed the artist to the North English website and gave him some photos taken of Main Street in the daylight from the same position. John wanted the “feel” of the phone photo, but more detailed. The finished painting is a combination of several images…and emotions.

“Needless to say, it was a most successful birthday gift. Anne was surprised and pleased. Everyone in the family (who grew up in North English) was taken by the picture. John decided to share it with the History Center on the chance that others would like the work.”

For more info, contact Carolyn Elwood (319-664-3894) or celwood@netins.net. To view more works by David French, go to http://davidfrenchoriginals.com.

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