By Jim Misunas
Karen Shaner’s “Ghost Train” offers everything a painter would want — artistic expression with a twist of mystery.
The Great Bend artist is a retired railroad engineer with the Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad. She’s well versed on railroads, plus she wanted to tell a story about the time Hoisington lost its Missouri Pacific train station.
The city of Hoisington and the Missouri-Pacific Railroad were linked in growth and economics until the rail mergers of the 1980s. The rail line became part of the Southern Pacific and eventually the Union Pacific. The merger of the Southern and Union Pacific in 1997 ended what had been the central transcontinental rail route across America.
Today, the line is leased to Central Kansas Railroad and operated as a short-line railroad.
“Hoisington had a Missouri Pacific Railroad station, but they merged with Union Pacific Railroad and moved the crews from Hoisington to Salina,” Shaner said. “That was the end of the Southern Pacific Trains in Hoisington.”
“Ghost Train,” is one of Shaner’s works that won’t be for public sale.
Some of Shaner’s best work involves her Project Orange artwork, which focused on a study of poppies.
Part of her life mission is donating her artwork for philanthropic purposes. She’s donates her poppy artwork for fundraisers for Clara Barton Hospital, Kans for Kids, The Cancer Center, CASA and TECH in Hutchinson.
She lost her mother, father and her youngest brother to cancer, and sees her artistic ability as a way to help others.
“I relate my giving part of the poppies to charity work,” she said.
Shaner gained her artistic training at Barton Community College under Steve Dudek. She attended workshops in Santa Fe. N.M. with Steve Reid and drew inspiration from seeing her favorite painters.
She started with acrylic painting before moving to watercolor painting. She often works off an image, but she also does freehand work.
“Some friends of mine encouraged me to start painting,” Shaner said. “They saw something in me that I didn’t see.”
Shaner is an invited guest of Beverly Simonson. Shaner will join several featured local artists for “Three Potters and Three Painters,” at the Deines Cultural Center in Russell starting Nov. 21. The display will run into January and most of the artwork is for sale.
Great Bend’s Beverly Simonson invited local artists Shaner, Steve Dudek, and Petr Gregorev to show paintings. Carol Long and Mark and Bambi Freeman will show ceramics. She wanted to give local artists a venue to display their work.
Simonson also received her training at Barton Community College in design, ceramics, painting and metal sculpture. She works in pastel, watercolor and some oil.
“The pastel is very exciting,” she said. “Just looking at the gorgeous colors in a pastel palatte makes me wan to paint.”
Gregorev didn’t have enough paintings to show, but will feature the artwork of his Russian friend, Valery Shilaev, whose work is displayed at Petr’s Frame Shop in Great Bend, 2009 16th. Shilaev’s work will be displayed in a separate room in the gallery.
“It’s turning into a big thing because the Friends of the Deines Center have decided to hold their membership drive meeting the evening of our opening,” Simonson said. “There will be musical entertainment, refreshments, and raffle tickets for some piece of work, which they will choose, from the show as the prize.”