A special backdrop


PENDLETON — Pendleton Heights senior mom Tamara Magers said she wanted to do something this year to help daughter Addison and her classmates celebrate graduation in the face of pandemic-related loss — the loss of “many fun things they could have done,” including prom, graduation celebrations and more.

She settled on a plan that at once might seem obvious to those who know her but unique nonetheless; the painter and Pendleton Artists Society member decided to create a large oil painting, one to be used as a photo backdrop.

“So it was kind of like, well, my gift would be a really, really good hard work on a nice painting,” she said. “How many people get a gigantic oil painting painted for their class to have a picture taken in front of?”

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

It is a gift that grew in meaning as the creative process — and a turn of events — transpired.

The painting measures about four feet wide and more than six feet tall. It shows the inside of a castle with columns and an arched ceiling, and hearkens not only to an earlier time period but also to a common motif at this time of year, she said.
“I’m a big history buff. I love Europe. I’ve been to Europe several times,” Magers said, explaining how she arrived at the subject of the work. “And oftentimes, a prom will have some sort of, like, upscale architecture, background type of thing, whether it’s a castle theme or pretty architecture idea. And I like studying light, so it’s about the light coming through the windows, creating the colors; it’s about beauty.”
How and when to share the beauty has been a moving target, as has been the case with so many plans in the face of COVID-19. She started the painting in April and finished it in May, and at first thought she’d make it available about the time of Addison’s virtual graduation at Pendleton Heights on May 30.
But then the school announced there would be an in-person graduation after all, on July 12. And so that clinched it for Magers; that is the date she will have it set up.
The location will be Falls Park, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., tentatively planned for the shelter south of the pond.
She said the park will provide a nice setting and will be convenient for seniors she has a hunch will be dressed up and taking pictures there that day.
“I was trying to paint it in a way that would be irresistible, where people might just have an impromptu selfie, if they wanted to, in front of it,” Magers said. “I would love it if it could be recognized as, ‘Hey, I painted this for the Class of 2020, and for my daughter,’ that would be fantastic. But I’m also happy if anybody else is going to enjoy it, too.”
She said she will have a placard next to the backdrop explaining the gift.
Magers, 57, said the painting took on even greater meaning in the face of a serious health challenge that presented itself while she was working on the piece, and while the whole family was hunkered down because of COVID-19.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, something she is now fighting with multiple rounds of chemotherapy, along with the support of her family — including husband, Mike, and other daughter Christina, 20 — friends and faith.
“I’m handling it better than I ever thought I ever could,” Magers said. “One of my mottoes is ‘I trust God,’ and the other one is ‘Live life fully.’ So between those two things — my faith and the idea that I want to live life fully, and, you know, enjoy every day to the fullest — that’s been a great, like, witness to my family, and especially my daughters, as to how to handle something like this.”
She said she hopes her artwork, especially now, can show that beauty can brighten even the darkest times.
“I love the idea that art can be beautiful, and that beauty is something absolutely critical to people’s lives. I love the idea that what I do as an artist — as long as I make it beautiful art and not some kind of, you know, twisted art or something — I will actually be encouraging and uplifting other people, which I think all of us need today with things going on.
“The idea, that, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m going through a lot, but look, I could create something beautiful’ … (that) not only develops your character, if you let it, and it strengthens your faith, if you let it, but you can also find your reward in creating beauty for everyone to improve their lives with, to feel better with, or just to enjoy.”
Addison said she’s watched her mom work on a lot of paintings, but this one is special.
“It was kind of a surprise. It was a good surprise. I’m happy she’s able to do something to show her support of my class,” she said. “It’s very nice of her to think of us, and I thought it was a good idea overall.
“She put a lot of work into this. It’s one of her best ones, I think, and she had a good purpose behind it.”

No posts to display