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Despite debilitating disease, Kalkbrenner is flying high.
The 2013 Great Wellsville Balloon Rally artist is well aware of the work that goes into the Rally. She pays tribute to that in her painting. The new artist is Sheila Kalkbrenner, of Wellsville.
Only a few days before the due date, Kalkbrenner, once an organizer with the Balloon Rally (Main Street Festival), decided to enter a work in the search for the 2013 artwork which would be used to represent the 38th Balloon Rally on shirts and posters. The committe had issued a directive to artist that the Wellsville Country Club was to be featured in the work, as well as several specific balloons.
"Most everyone views the country club from the front with the balloons on the other side of the road on the golf course," Kalkbrenner said, "I didn't want to put the road in the painting, so I decided to take my own photos."
Kalkbrenner said she found herself behind the country club and decided that she liked that view better than the front.
"I've never seen many balloons land back there, probably because of all the trees and power lines, so I've had to take out some of the trees in the painting," said Kalkbrenner.
The painting shows several balloons in various stages- flight,landing, deflation and packing up. It also features many children and adults as spectators.
"It is important to include that perspective in the work, to show people that a lot of hard work goes into ballooning and the Rally,"she said.
The painting, done in acrylic, will be completed by mid-month.
After a spelling mistake made the 2012 T-shirt a collector's item, Kalkbrenner said she made sure that she wasn't in charge of the writing that will go on the shirts and posters.
With a master's degree in education, the 2000 graduate of Alfred University, who also has a degree in fine arts, says her work (in painting) is most influenced by (synthetism of) Paul Gauguin.
The artist said she doesn't remember a time in her life when she wasn't involved in art. "I was using crayons and pencils before I could walk."
Even when she was physically unable to paint and sit for long periods at the easel following a diagnosis of adhesive arachnoiditis, which causes chronic lower back and/or leg pain, weakness and sensory loss, Kalkbrenner focused her artistic instincts into photography. She hoped to use those photographs for her (future)paintings.
Her goal is to make her work studio on South Main Street "a self-sustaining studio" and to enter her work in national competitions.
Last summer, as part of the Art Takes Times Square project, Kalkbrenner's "Honesty & Hope a.k.a. No Pain, No Gain" an artwork relating to the pain of arachnoiditis, was featured on a Jumbotron in Times Square in downtown Manhattan.
"It is very inspiring considering that there was a time not too long ago that I couldn't paint at all," she said.

"Balloon Rally Artist Triumphs"
~Kathryn Ross/Daily Reporter
Newspaper Article
April 12, 2013

Interview by Kathryn Ross of the Wellsville Daily Reporter.
Ross paraphrases Sheila's arachnoiditis & art experience, the summary of the Balloon Rally Committee selection process, and preparations for the Balloon Rally Painting.