Federation Offering Country For Christmas
Members of the Alabama Farmers Federation have an opportunity to add some country to their Christmas this year by purchasing a limited edition, hand-painted ornament that features an Alabama farm scene.Each of the 1,000 ornaments will be signed and numbered by artist Sheila J. Hull of Livingston who has been commissioned by the Federation to paint what is expected to be the first in a series of collectible ornaments. Each ornament costs $26.95, plus tax and shipping.”Sheila and some of her unique ornaments was featured in Alfa’s Friends & Family magazine last December,” said Federation Communications Department Director Jeff Helms. “Last year, she was commissioned by the Alabama Supreme Court to paint every courthouse in Alabama on ornaments. Each ornament she paints is its own work of art.
“After meeting Sheila and talking with her about rural Alabama, we developed the idea of creating a special ornament for members of the Alabama Farmers Federation that features a farm scene or country living.”After discussing theme ideas with members of the Federation’s Communications Department, Sheila painted several designs on ornaments that were considered for the final project for Christmas 2008.”The hardest part was selecting which one we liked the best, because we liked them all,” Helms said. “If the project is a success, and we believe it will be, we will select a different ornament for subsequent years. We hope they will become family keepsakes.”Sheila paints each ornament following the same style she has used to create ornaments featuring the courthouses, old church buildings and homes. She said she got the idea of painting the ornaments after seeing round ornaments with photographs inside them.She paints both sides of a transparent plastic insert as well as the back of the outside of the clear glass ornament to give a three-dimensional look to the piece. When the insert is dry, it’s rolled onto a special tool and placed inside the glass ornament.Sheila paints ornaments in her home studio, and her husband Keith and their daughter Tiffany have become accustomed to seeing the artist surrounded by multitudes of drying ornaments and dripping brushes.”Both of my parents grew up on farms,” Sheila said. “I always loved and looked forward to spending time at my grandparents’ farms. My mother’s parents owned a small 40-acre farm in Mississippi and were for the most part self-sufficient by raising and hunting or fishing for most everything they needed. My grandmother would work me and all my cousins from daylight to dark during gardening season, but I loved those times. Some of the best memories of my childhood were made on those farms.”The Alabama Farmers Federation 2008 ornament features an old barn with a tractor parked nearby. Sheila said barns are one of her favorite subjects to paint, adding she especially loves old barns.”Old barns have such character,” she said. “I love the Bible verse ‘Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision…blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.’ Psalms 144: 13-15. I frequently inscribe this verse on the back of some of my hand-painted barn scene ornaments.”To order, visit Sheila’s Web site handpaintedornaments.homestead.com or call (205) 652-2937.