Artist Janice LeBrun poses with a quilt featured in one of her paintings that will be on display during November at the Pendleton Art Center.

As the weather gets colder, Janice LeBrun’s thoughts turn to quilts.

LeBrun, artist of the month for November at the Pendleton Art Center, will display her paintings featuring quilts in the gallery of the center for the month, including one painting that features the Greenup County Map Quilt, which is on display at the Greenup County Courthouse.

The artist lives in the house where she was born and where she grew up and where her mother taught her to quilt.

“We quilted when I was small,” she said. “We would set up in the living room. I can still remember coming home with the snow outside and taking off my boots and coat and my mother sitting in front of the fireplace with her thimble quilting. We quilted all winter long, from December through January, February and March.

She said her life growing up was simple and included the simple pleasures and hard work of living in the country. “We had an acre and a half so we had a big garden and we canned. We didn’t have anything but we thought we were rich.”

By living in the same house where so many memories were created, those memories remain strong.

“It’s a wonderful scene,” she said. “You can see Mom’s handiwork.”

LeBrun taught biology for 30 years at Russell High School. When her daughters grew up and left home, she suddenly found she had time on her hands.

“Someone suggested I take an art class at Ashland Community College,” she said. She tried it and she loved it.

Although she’d never painted before, she knew she could draw.

“In biology class, I would draw spiders on the board and label the parts and I’d draw other animals and things and label the parts,” she said. “That’s when I learned that not everybody could draw.” She began doing the drawings for her students so they could see what they were to label.

She said painting was a comfort when she lost her husband.

“It gave me something to hold onto,” she said. “God gave me this.”

Her works are diverse in subject matter and happy in nature. “I like bright colors and happy-looking paintings.”

Now, LeBrun creates mostly water color paintings but also uses acrylics and teaches an acrylic painting class at the Pendleton.

That she is the artist of the month for November and with the theme of Giving Thanks are not lost on her, either.

“I love this time of year – the cool nights, the crisp mornings, and the colors.. I love the colors,” she said, adding as the oldest female in her family, she will be the one preparing the Thanksgiving meal at her house. She said she’s thankful for her opportunity to create art.

“I’m thankful that I’ve lived to be able to retire and do what I want to do,” she said. “That is absolutely awesome.”

LeBrun’s works and prints will be for sale at the First Friday Art Walk. LeBrun takes commission work and can be reached by calling (606) 329-0048.

During tonight’s First Friday activities at the Pendleton, Chuck Robertson will provide music.

In addition to the Pendleton, the following will be open tonight for First Friday:

‰Highlands Museum and Discovery Center will offer free admission from 5 to 8 p.m. today. Free Health screenings will be offered by Chiro One.

‰The Upstairs Gallery, 1428 Winchester Ave., will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. today for First Friday. November artist of the month will be Brett Sherman of Coal Grove, who works in a variety of media. Music will be provided by violinish Ann Adkins and introducing Hope Lewis, Malia Blevins and Raegan Williams.

Author Allan Eckert will be at the Jesse Stuart Foundation from 10 a.m. to noon today to sign his new book, “Dark Journey: The Tragedy of the Donner Party.” The foundation is at 1645 Winchester Ave. in Ashland.

The Pendleton Art Center on Winchester Avenue in Ashland is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and during First Friday activities from 5 to 8 p.m. and the following Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment with the artist. To contact Janice LeBrun, call (606) 329-0048.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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