Penns Valley

On Centre | Penns Valley: 92-year-old artist spreads Christmas cheer

Ethel Long, 92, of Centre Hall, has been hand-making cards for more than 20 years.
Ethel Long, 92, of Centre Hall, has been hand-making cards for more than 20 years. Photo provided

Kevin and Kathy Barr received a homemade Christmas card in the mail earlier this month from “Aunt Ethel.”

Kevin Barr said it’s something he expects to get every year.

After all, “aunt” Ethel Long, 92, of Centre Hall, has been hand-making cards for more than 20 years.

“It’s just a hobby I guess,” Long said. “It’s something I found a passion for and continue to do.”

She sent out about 30 cards this holiday season to family and close friends. On the outside of the card is a hand-painted holiday-themed picture, with a customized note inside.

The paintings include snowflakes, holly and ivy, wreaths, Christmas trees and more.

Long said the love of art came when she joined the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago.

“I took an art class one Sunday — I can’t remember the year or the teacher — but we were told that if we weren’t satisfied with our drawing, to keep it anyway and make a card out of it,” Long said. “You don’t put your work to waste.”

Now, she paints whatever comes to mind.

“I don’t have a plan, I just draw,” Long said. “But I like variety. I try not to use the same painting twice.”

Painting Christmas cards started in September. This year, she found inspiration from old photos, Long said.

About 10 years ago, Long took a trip to Clearfield and stayed in a hunting cabin. During her stay, she said, she took a photograph of an old church.

“This fall, I took it out and painted a card based on that church,” she said. “There is another old church in Spring Mills called Egg Hill Church that I also like to paint. I’d say that’s my most creative and favorite.”

Long also makes cards for other occasions.

“I’m 92, so I don’t do it as much anymore, but I really do enjoy the work,” she said.

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