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SHS grad displays her skills through art, book for children

Artist Christine Whitacre shows a copy of the just-released “Color My World. A Gnome Adventure.” She wrote and illustrated the children’s book which is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Christine Whitacre grew up as a middle child in a clan of 16 kids.

“It was kind of like being in limbo back then,” the artist-author chuckled about her really big family days in Salem.

“Growing up when there are that many kids, we didn’t have much. But we always had pencils, crayons and coloring books. That what kids do — color and doodle.”

The creativity and imagination born then nurtured while a youngster reemerged in her later years.

She is a successful artist and just last month a highlight of her career was the publishing of “Color My World. A Gnome Adventure.” Produced by the Covenant Books, a Christian-based publisher, the children-oriented book was written and illustrated by Whitacre.

Gnomes are central figures in many of her creations.

The whimsical work features favorite characters of her passion: gnomes. Three adventurous old fathers of the woodland set out to color their world after finding crayons on the forest floor. They do not speak openly but communicate through their actions — magical characters with a lesson for the young.

Children are encouraged to work on different colors at the end of the tale. Then, they color their own gnomes and sign their piece. The book has been well-received and is available at Barnes & Noble and online through Amazon.

Christine — known as “Teeny” to lifelong friends — was a daughter of the late Bill and Audrey Galchick. Despite taking care of such a bustling family with so many kids, Bill was renowned throughout Columbiana and Mahoning counties for his work as a coach. He not only honed baseball skills for youngsters but taught values. One of Waterworth Memorial Park ballfields in Salem is named in his honor.

Christine graduated from Salem High School in 1976. She worked at various jobs in the area. Then she became a medical assistant for Dr. David Corallo in Beloit. She retired in 2016.

She has two daughters, Lisa Weingart and Lora Vaughn. Lora is a nurse at Salem Regional Medical Center.

A well-received work is called “Cost of Freedom.” It is dedicated to all veterans. The work carries a copyright and reprints are given to veterans.

Via an online connection, Christine met Don Whitacre. “He asked me out for a cup of coffee and we met,” she said.

Turns out, he was a 1974 Salem High graduate.

“I didn’t even know him in high school,” she said.

Don is retired from the United States Air Force and as a railroad engineer. The couple live right across the Pennsylvania border in Chippewa. They have been married for six years.

Christine said that “after life got in the way,” she earnestly began pursuing a love of art. “I started out with acrylics and really liked that,” she said. She watched that art culture favorite Bob Ross.

A wintry landscape by moonlight.

“I thought maybe I could do that.” She was right.

She started painting — acrylics and water colors. A well-received work is called “Cost of Freedom.” It is dedicated all veterans. Her dad was a World War II veteran and several brothers also served our country.

“That work has been very well received,” she said proudly. So popular that “Cost of Freedom” carries a copyright. Glossy copies are distributed without charge to veterans.

She is realy fond of gnomes. Yes, those dwarfish, goblin earth spirits from European folklore are more than, well, lawn ornaments to Christine. They are the subjects of many of her paintings.

So why gnomes?

Gnomes are central figures in many of Christine Whitacre’s work. She can be contacted at: graciecat16@yahoo.com

“I always thought they were cute little things,” she offered. “I like putting them doing things with action. When doing the book I did my homework and research.”

Children are oh so special to her and that notion is reflected in her work. Even her gnomes are lovable. They do not speak. Instead, they show their love through their actions. Often, in humorous situations.

“They show kindness toward animals, earth and children,” she said of her book. “I wanted to do it for children.”

Life lessons for the very young.

“Children should grow up being kind and learning things like love and respect. I learned from my parents. We didn’t have much but they put a roof over our heads, food on the table and God in our lives.. My parents were humble and my daughters are the same.”

Gnomes are central figures in many of Christine Whitacre’s work. She can be contacted at: graciecat16@yahoo.com

Christine often gives away her works, especially to veterans.

“I feel I was given a gift,” she said. “To charge for a lot of work would be outrageouus.”

Part of the proceeds from the self-published “Color My World. A Gnome Adventure” will benefit a charity in Salem.

An order of the book already sold out.

“I did my homework on the publlisher,” she said. “I did my homework. They tell you what they want and don’t want. They were best suited for what I was going for.”

She has had offers to illustrate for others composing books. Her plans are to write and illustrate more books. She is a former Golden Poetry Award recipient.

“I don’t have to punch a timeclock and I love what I am doing,” Christine said. “I love to paint. If something doesn’t sell then I’m fine with that. If it does, then I’m fine with that, too.”

Her message for youth with artistic yearnings: “To all the children who have a passion to read and learn, I say go for it. Give color and life to the world. Make it yours!”

She can be contacted at: graciecat16@yahoo.com

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