Ray Libengood, 80, of Medina, took second place honors in Senior Livingâ€™s cover art contest.
Libengood worked as a commercial artist for eight years before teaching high school art classes. He taught for 10 years at Brookside High School in the Sheffield/Sheffield Lake School District and 25 years at Medina Senior High School. It wasnâ€™t until after he retired that he started painting as a professional.
His winning painting is typical of the landscapes he loves to work with, with a Mail Pouch barn dominating the scene while deer graze in a winter field. Florals also find their way to his easel.
He likes the versatility of acrylics. Libengood often thins the paint to almost watercolor consistency for some of his work. By the same token, they lend themselves to techniques like impasto, building up thicker layers of paint, that call for a palette knife.
â€œTheyâ€™re permanent, and they dry rapidly â€” and itâ€™s a very forgiving medium,â€ he said in a recent telephone interview. â€œI never did care for oils.â€
The odor of turpentine bothered him, and once he saw a demonstration of acrylics by a Binney and Smith salesman, he was sold on them. His students used them in class.
â€œThey mix so beautifully,â€ he said, adding that they may be used with matte or gloss mediums for different effects. To create his own supports, he likes to lay down several coats of gesso on masonite and sand it down between coats.
He is a member of the Medina County Art League and has exhibited his work in the organizationâ€™s annual Aquarius Show held at Western Reserve Masonic Community and at Western Reserve Bank, both in Medina Township. His work previously was available through the Graebner Gallery in Wooster, before the facility closed.