She picks up her blending stump and goes to work moving graphite.
She's an artist, the graphite pencil in her hand her favorite medium for portraits. The blending stump - a tightly rolled paper with a dull point - lets her blend the pencil markings. She could use her finger, but she'd end up with black fingers that never would wash clean.
Vickey Groat will take many of her pencil portraits, plus some paintings and a whole lot of painted porcelain, to the Saturday community art show and sale at St. Olaf Lutheran Church fellowship hall. It's one way she can show off her skills.
-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
Vickey Groat is one of the artists taking part in Saturday’s art show and sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Olaf Lutheran Church. It is free to the public.
That, say organizers Marian Jensen and Jane Zenor, is the reason they've put together this art show and sale.
"If you have a hobby, you either sell it, give it away or stockpile it," Jensen said. "This art show will help those who stockpile. There are a lot of artists in the area."
She said it's important for people to have hobbies. "Absolutely, whether they're working or not. That way, at work you can always concentrate on what you get to do when you get home."
Then she laughed. With a wide array of art in her background, just talking about art makes her happy.
"One time we had a party, and I had 50-some oil paintings, and I said, 'Now, you can have whatever you want,' and the paintings were all gone. They spurred me on with whatever I wanted to do - cake decorating, china painting or oil painting. They have never discouraged me, and that's what we need. Even adults need it."
Jensen's encouragement of Groat has given Groat the courage to keep trying new techniques, new ideas, even though Jensen insists Groat is an all-around artist who knows what she's doing and how to do it.
"It's especially nice for shadows," Groat said of her blending stuff. Then, as if she couldn't help it, she rubbed a spot with her finger, quickly wiping off the black.
"I'm going to take things I've done from photographs," she said about the art show and sale. "That's mostly what I do now, draw from photographs. I love all mediums, it's just with the zoo and all the volunteering, I just haven't had time."
Her husband, Scott, is volunteer zoo manager, and she helps by feeding animals and cleaning cages every day.
She blends her love of the zoo with her art and has made a line of "Zoolery" - jewelry with a connection to the zoo. Some pieces, for instances, are made with peacock feathers or quills. Sometimes she pours porcelain pieces to incorporate those feathers and quills.
"People do not understand, we do not get money from the city to run that zoo," she said.
So all proceeds from her Zoolery is donated to the zoo for the benefit of the animals.
"Since I retired last year, I've been too busy to think," Groat said. "I thought when I retired, I'd have time to do so many things. I'm busier now than when I worked full time. Here, I thought I'd be drawing and painting all the time. I don't."
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org