By Lee Noles
You would think growing up in the picturesque countryside of Pennsylvania initiated Eunice Warfel’s love of art and nature. But it wasn’t the case for the Waxhaw resident and artist.
Living on four continents and seeing in person the mouth of the Amazon, the game parks of Kenya and the snow-capped mountains of Ecuador is what turned Warfel into a diversified artist who works in acrylic, watercolor and alcohol ink.
“It has inspired me in my artwork, particularly the animals,” Warfel said. “Driving down the road in Africa and seeing a giraffe or a zebra and seeing that was very fascinating … And the people were always so very nice in different countries. And we keep in contact.”
Warfel began painting in acrylics in the 1980s while living in Ecuador with her husband, Don, who worked in aviation for JAARS. Don Warfel sometimes flew to Florida and returned from one trip with a gift of brushes and tubes of paint for his wife.
“I had no idea it would turn into anything,” Eunice Warfel said. “It was just about me trying to do it at first. But I had no idea it would turn into me being an artist.”
There were several stop-and-go periods. Warfel got out of painting in 1990 but started back 10 years later following a move with Don to Australia. There for a mission trip, she drove a friend to a painting group at a local Catholic church and then joined to learn the nuances of watercolor. She also got her first taste of painting nature. Something that resonates with her today.
“The seascapes and the ocean are what I saw when I painted,” Warfel said. “That gave me a love of painting at beaches and water, which I am not really great at, but I love doing it.”
Her move to alcohol ink happened in 2014. The medium is relatively new to the art community, but Warfel took a liking to the style which manipulates dye-based paints to create free-flowing designs.
“It was the fluidness of it and the playfulness of it,” Warfel said. “It is not controllable. You can start out painting a flower and it turns into a landscape. But I like the bold bright colors. That is where I really took off.”
Finding ink colors proved difficult after a chain store didn’t have the items in stock. Instead of forgetting about the inks, she asked why they weren’t being carried. Not long after, alcohol inks were on the store’s website.
“I just mentioned to them they really needed this because it was going over big,” Warfel said. “I am not sure if that caused them to get it, but they do carry it now.”
In just a few years, alcohol ink has grown into an online community that features YouTube videos and tutorial groups that can help people grow in the discipline.
Painting isn’t the only medium for Warfel, who also practices photography. She recalls getting Don to stop while driving so she could take a picture of trees on the side of the road.
“I just love beautiful things and I see in nature that other people might not see,” Warfel said. “I can’t explain it exactly. I love God’s nature. Beautiful nature.”
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