Remembering George Colin
A central Illinois artist who was simply extraordinary
This was going to be an adventure. Artists are the water of the world. Eccentric or humble artists, fountains of fortune.
I had driven
It was a bit of magic. George and Winnie Colin were a bit of magic. Yes, I said George and Winnie. I learned George didn’t come without Winnie, and vice-a-versa, the way folks who have been married a long time often come as a package (which is sort of a bonus considering you get three individuals for the price of two).
Winnie was in a wheelchair. After living with a man who used a wheelchair for 14 years my heart was immediately with her. George was sitting in front of a checker board (or maybe I’m just imaging now that there was a checker board). He was quiet. Winnie directed the conversation but I think he liked it that way. He spoke up when needed.
Colin’s colorful pastel art had handwritten prices on them, a few had sold signs.
Art was everywhere -- hanging on every inch on the walls, sitting on the floor,
propped on chairs. There were knickknacks, a framed photo of
It is easy sometimes to mistake simplicity for simplicity. But an artist’s creativity is anything but simple, even if one chooses to live a simple life. George quit his job to focus on art fulltime. George and Winnie told me their story -- One they had probably told a million times before –a letter of acclaim from President Bush, having a piece in the Smithsonian, etc. Recently, Dick Durbin shared an image of his Colin. It is spectacular.
After talking with the couple, I knew I wanted to buy a piece of George’s work for my husband as a birthday gift. They asked which piece I’d like, that they’d offer me a deal. I looked around -- I really wanted the nudes but it was large. I didn’t have much money (one sold sign listed a price tag of $1500) nor did I want to take advantage of their generosity. Instead I decided to use my husband as guide. He loved flowers and blue was his favorite color, just as it was George’s. This is the piece I selected. It was perfect.
When leaving, Winnie also gave me a porcelain figurine of a Dutch girl. She had asked about the heritage of my last name. She and George had wanted to know as much about me as I them.
George and Winnie had/have a simply extraordinary graciousness -- and talent to boot. Forever George and Winnie. True love, much like true art, survives. George, Winnie, and George and Winnie, thanks for sharing a drink from the fountain.
The Little Turtle books are available at the Vachel
Lindsay State Historic Site at
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