A Clinton man’s life will live on at the River Arts Gallery.

Lyle Andresen’s sudden death on Jan. 16 came as not only a surprise to family and friends, but also to the art community, where he was planning to exhibit his work later in the month. But, with help from his family, Andresen’s work will still be open to the public starting Sunday.

A memorial exhibit displaying Andresen’s work will be on full display during an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the River Arts Center gallery, 29 Fifth Ave. South. Andresen’s family and friends will be available during the ceremony.

The exhibit is free and will be available from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday until March 4.

Andresen’s art career started early in life, with the help of an art teacher, Mrs. O’Neal, who mentored him starting in high school. She encouraged him to expand his creative horizons through acrylic painting.

This effort was challenging to Andresen, who’s familiarity with pencil was much different from dealing with the new aspects of acrylic — color hue, saturation, interplay, as well as fluidity, opacity and layering. The more mundane tasks of canvas stretching and preparation seemed a step removed from “art” for the young man. 

 After the limited effort of just a couple paintings, Andresen informed Mrs. O'Neal that he would never paint again.  Firmly encouraging him, she told him that if he stuck with it, he would become better and more comfortable, and she was sure he would come to love it.  As he persisted, his abilities grew, as he worked with different painting mediums.

It wasn’t until Andresen discovered Bill Alexander, who developed the “Magic Method” of painting with a “mighty brush” later used by Bill Ross, that painting clicked for Andresen.

Andresen was a lifetime supporter of wildlife conservation groups such as National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Waterfowl USA, and Pheasants Forever. He was the featured artist for the Davenport chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation at their annual banquet for 18 years. From that springboard, he was encouraged to compete in the NWTF art contest, a win-or-lose competition. He did not win, but his entry into that contest was later sold, and netted him enough money to finance his first of several trips to Alaska and Canada, and furthered his journey toward his renditions of Arctic and sub-arctic wildlife.

Andresen also mentored and supported other artists, including a local painter who won a Ducks Unlimited painting competition.

For more information on the exhibit, call 243-3300 or visit www.clintonartassociation.com.

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