Thursday, February 26, 2009

A smattering of Lincoln news

Will Governor Quinn open historic sites?
Yesterday afternoon my friends at The State Journal-Register published breaking news that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will have an announcement today about our state parks – good news, they say. We’re hoping they’ll reopen – and wishing, too, that the good news extends to our closed historic sites. Keep your fingers crossed.

Governor Quinn, here’s hoping your news is what we want to hear…

My fav artists and their Lincolns

During the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial activities in Springfield, I met a new favorite Lincoln artist – Sacha Newley. This pleasant, unassuming, grateful young man has become as addicted to Lincoln as many of the rest of us Lincoln buffs. He’s just about as enamored with Springfield and can’t wait until he gets invited back again.

Newley did a portrait of Lincoln for Lincoln College. This image was also used in one of the Bicentennial commemorative envelope designs. As in Newley’s other portraits, the image captures you and draws you in, showing tremendous depth of his subject. I was a Newley fan as soon as I met him because of his personality, and he had me for good once I saw his work. What incredible talent!

Newley, by the way, is the son of actress Joan Collins and late actor Anthony Newley.

Even before I met Newley, though, I had another favorite Lincoln artist. He’s not the son of celebrities, nor does he have a British accent and curly dark locks. But he’s got an incredible gift for portraiture and he’s a heck of a nice guy. My friend and co-worker, Craig Conroy, uses his talents to create images of famous people as gifts for friends and family.

One of my teammates at work saw a Lincoln image on Conroy’s desk a couple months ago and told him I liked Lincoln. I came back from my California trip in January to find the Lincoln print on my desk. Conroy’s image appears to capture an older Lincoln, likely as the war was progressing, and shows the dark eyes and worry lines which overtook the Lincoln image as time wore on. I cherish Conroy’s gift and display it prominently on my desk.

Now people worldwide can enjoy Conroy’s image, too. He submitted it to the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission for the Lincoln Images section of their website. They posted it this week, and Conroy's work now resides alongside several other amazing Lincoln works. Be sure to check it out. I think you’ll appreciate Conroy's detail and his talent, too. Congratulations, Craig. I’m proud of you.

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