The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

December 30, 2013

Joplin woman's artwork selected for company's Christmas card

JOPLIN, Mo. — Maxine Fream Gash never had an eye for modern art. While she's familiar with the geometric, esoteric variety of modern styles, she prefers more classical forms, from Renaissance to Baroque.

"I like something that tells a story," Gash said. "Something that's beautiful and has inspiration. I've always liked the classics, from music to art."

Those are the styles that come from her brush whenever she paints. And one of her paintings was chosen for a company's corporate Christmas card, meaning that her work ended up on mantels, shelves and in Christmas decorations across the country.

And Gash doesn't mind correcting people when they talk about her picture of Santa holding the baby Jesus.

"I remember once, years ago, I took that print to For-All (Bible and Music Center) and asked if they wanted to put it out for sale," Gash said. "At first the guy there said, 'We don't do Santa Claus.'"

The white-bearded man depicted in her painting "Simeon and the Christ Child" isn't Santa -- it's Simeon, the man who in the Gospel of Luke met Mary and Joseph at the temple while fulfilling the requirements of the law of Moses. According to the gospel, Simeon had been visited by the Holy Spirit and was told that he wouldn't die until seeing the son of God with his own eyes.

"I didn't know much about him, except that he was a godly man," Gash said. "When Mary and Joseph came up, he holds the baby, and he instantly knows. Now he can depart in peace."

The story resonated with Gash in 1976 while looking at a family picture of her first husband, Don Fream, and child Stephanie -- who also grew up to be an artist. Using the picture as a model, she captured that moment of Biblical history.

The painting hangs on the wall of the living room in her home in Spring River Christian Village. Though she's used to it, and she is no stranger to seeing her art appear in print, seeing her picture show up in the mail as a Christmas card pleased her, she said.

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