Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson

Vista Villa Art event showcases artists' fine works


Daniel Thompson

Fern Yung is shown with one of her pieces of work featured as last weekend’s art show.

The walls of Vista Villa were filled with the works of Carla Goranson, Fern Yung, and Jack Lockwood this past Saturday when it opened its doors for the Canvas for Carla Art Show.

Goranson's pictures hung on canvases in the hallway, depicting local wildlife, the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery, and various other scenes that she has come across through her travels and vacations.

According to Goranson, photography has been a long held passion in her life.

"I took photography with Don Meyer who was my teacher back in high school. I don’t know if I had a camera when I was a kid or not, but I remember that you had to be a senior in high school to take Meyer’s photography class. I couldn’t wait to be a senior so I could take the class,” Goranson said.

Though she was passionate about her photography, Goranson took a break from snapping photos for a period of time to raise her kids, leaving her photography on the back burner to spend quality time with her children until picking it back up in recent years.

"I went to go on and have kids and kind of forgot about it. Within the past few years, I’ve gotten back into it now that my kids are grown. I just see something, and I snap a picture or ten or twenty and hope that one of them turns out," Goranson said.

Though many might think that photography is simply a point and click process, Goranson states that it takes a lot of patience in order to get a perfect shot, especially when trying to capture images of local wildlife.

"I stalked my coyotes until they moved. It’s just fun,” Goranson said.

For Goranson, photography has given her a way to take a break from the fast pace of modern life, giving her time to breath and take in the little elements often overlooked.

“Life is so busy that you don’t really appreciate everything that’s out there. I drove by the fox in one of my pictures for I don’t know how long before I even knew they were there,” Goranson said.

It also offers her a method of dealing with the pressures of the job at the the Kimball County Volunteer Ambulance Service which she serves on as the director.

"When I get frustrated with all the paperwork at the ambulance, I go sit in Howard and Shirley’s driveway and try to catch a picture of a hummingbird there or go to the Meyer’s and try to catch a picture of a butterfly there,” Goranson said.

Artist Fern Yung is a quite different story.

Yung first came to Kimball from Riverton, Wyoming in 1947, shortly after marrying her husband, Ed Yung earlier that year.

“I met my husband in Scottsbluff. His grandparents and my brother lived there. We started writing. In those days, you wrote letters, because there weren’t any such things as phones. I married him in 1947, and I’ve lived here all my life since,” Yung said.

Yung, though she has appreciated and enjoyed her time in Kimball, remembers her initial reaction to coming to the area.

"I've loved it. I thought I wouldn't. In Riverton, you're surrounded by mountains. And when we first considered moving, I said, 'You want to move me down here to this flat country?'" Yung said with a chuckle. "But I loved it."

Though Yung has had a long time appreciation for painting, it wasn't until store she was involved with the WeatherWise in Kimball that she started getting serious about her artwork.

"For 43 years, we owned the WeatherWise store downtown that sold art supplies so I could get myself wholesale so I started and worked up from there. I was about 55 when I started," Yung said.

However, this was not her first brush with painting or drawing in any way as she had dabbled in it all of her life.

"I grew up in a family of nine kids and back in those days you made your own fun. We used to get the newspaper, and all around the edges of the newspaper, we’d write or draw pictures or something,” Yung said.

Yung doesn't quite remember when she made the jump from drawing in the margins of the newspapers to laying paint on a canvas.

"It’s just one of those things that I feel like I’ve always done it," Yung said.

Throughout the years, Yung took a few classes on watercolor and different paint styles, even bringing one of her sisters with her in order to spark her interest in the art form.

"I had two sisters that painted, and one of them was really good. The other said that she couldn’t draw a straight line so she couldn’t paint. Well, I told her to come to class with me. She loved it just from going along and she became good then,” Yung said.

Yung also picked up a few tricks of the trade from her art classes in her younger years which she has used in all of her works since.

"When a person first sees a picture they can condemn it or okay it. A lot of people think you put something right in the center. You don’t. You put it off to the side. If you look straight at it, it just kind of fizzles out, but if you set it off to the side, people look twice,” Yung said.

Yung looks back fondly on the days she spent painting throughout the years and how she spent them in her own little space at home, free to immerse herself into the craft at her own leisure.

"We had a double garage at home, and I had all my stuff out on the table. It was nice. I could just leave it there and paint when I wanted to and if I didn’t want to paint, I didn’t,” Yung said.

However, after the passing of her beloved husband in June of 2009, Yung took a break from her craft, only returning to her oil paints in recent weeks to paint a few pieces for the art show.

"I hadn’t painted since Ed died until about two weeks ago, and then I painted two. I’m kind of stirred up to paint again. I love it. I love to paint, and I make a mess and usually have it all over me,” Yung said.

Though Yung, who celebrated her 88th birthday this past week, has painted many wonderful works in her time that most residents would agree could bring her a modest profit if she were to sell them, Yung isn't interested in making any money off of her work.

"Somebody asked me if I ever sold them. I’ve never sold one, because I’ve got four kids, thirteen grandkids and 23 great-grand kids, so they all get paintings. It’s just a hobby,” Yung said.

Many have complimented Yung's artwork over the years and certainly she deserves any accolades she receives for her level of skill. However, you would find yourself hard-pressed to get Yung to take herself and her work too seriously, especially when talking about the paintings that she has sent to her three sons and daughter over the years.

"When my kids were little I used to have to hang their scribbles on the refrigerator whether I wanted to or not, and now it’s reversed,” Yung said.


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