The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 31, 2013

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Laura Readdy

By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CHADWICK, Ill. — Laura Readdy tries to spend each day “glorifying God through artistic expression.”

Originally from Lisle, Ill., Laura has lived in Chadwick since 1999. Art has always been part of her life and in her 20s she took private art lessons. It was not until she turned 40 that Laura, unhappy with her career, went back to school to become an art teacher.

“My sister said to me ‘So what do you want to do with your life?’ and I said, ‘I want to be an art teacher,’” Laura said. “So I did. I went back to college and I got my degree.”

She began at Unity Christian School in Fulton, Ill., in 2006. Laura splits her days between two school districts, teaching kindergarten, first, second and third grade art in the morning at the elementary school in Milledgeville, Ill. and K through 12th-grade art in the afternoon at Unity Christian.

“I love to teach people about art,” Laura said. “When I see people complete a project that they didn’t think they could do and they did it with my help, I always feel really good about doing the work. It just makes me feel a real sense of accomplishment, I guess.”

Because of her love of teaching, Laura volunteers at the Sawmill Museum, teaching a 1 p.m. painting class whenever there is a fifth Saturday of the month. This week, she will be showing participants how to paint watercolors of birch trees and will be focusing on a masking tecnique. The cost of the class is $3.

“It’s not just for kids. It’s definitely for adults too,” Laura said.

Laura’s personal work focuses on biblical paintings. She dresses friends and colleagues in biblical clothing and poses them at various locations. Her paintings are then based off of the photos she takes of them.

“I love to focus from reality,” Laura said. She has painted 14 of these works so far.

For Laura, her faith is an important part of her life and her artwork. She attends Chadwick Evangelical Free Church. She said recent medical problems in her family have strengthened her faith even more.

Laura and her husband of 25 years, John, have two children: Jake, who is attending college, and Jared, 13. Last year, Jared was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. She said her employers, colleagues and church family offered them support as they worked to accept the challenges her son’s condition brings.

“That’s just part of our life,” said Laura, adding that this ordeal has only increased her closeness to the Lord.

Laura is very proud of both of her children, who have embraced art as well. Jake is currently majoring in graphic design and Jared is also very artistic.

“I think it’s in the genes,” Laura said.

For more information on Laura’s art, visit http://paintingsbylaura.wordpress.com.