Christine Whitacre grew up as a middle child in a clan of 16 children.
“It was a bit like being in limbo back then”, the artist-author laughed at his great family days in Salem.
“Growing up when there were so many children, we didn’t have much. But we always had pencils and crayons and coloring books. This is what children do: color and doodle.
Creativity and imagination born and then nurtured as a young man reappeared in his later years.
She is a successful artist and one of the highlights of her career last month was the publication of “Color my world. A gnome adventure.
Produced by Covenant Books, a Christian publisher, the children’s book was written and illustrated by Whitacre.
The fanciful work features the favorite characters of his passion: the gnomes. Three adventurous old forest fathers decided to color their world after finding crayons on the forest floor. They don’t speak openly but communicate through their actions – magical characters with a lesson for young people.
Children are encouraged to work on different colors at the end of the story. Then they color their own gnomes and sign their piece. The book was well received and is available from Barnes & Noble and online through Amazon.
Christine – said “Tiny” to longtime friends – was the daughter of the late Bill and Audrey Galchick. Although he cared for such a vibrant family with so many children, Bill was well known in Columbiana and Mahoning counties for his work as a trainer. He not only honed youth baseball skills but also taught values. One of the ball fields at Waterworth Memorial Park in Salem is named in his honor.
Christine graduated from Salem High School in 1976. She has held various jobs in the area. Then she became medical assistant to Dr David Corallo in Beloit. She retired in 2016.
She has two daughters, Lisa Weingart and Lora Vaughn. Lora is a nurse at the Salem Regional Medical Center.
Via an online connection, Christine met Don Whitacre. “He asked me to go out for a cup of coffee and we met” she said.
It turns out he graduated from Salem High in 1974.
“I didn’t even know him in high school” she said.
Don is retired from the United States Air Force and as a railroad engineer.
The couple live just across the border from Pennsylvania in Chippewa. They have been married for six years.
Christine said that “After life got in the way”, she seriously began to pursue a love of art.
“I started with acrylic and I really liked it” she said.
She watched this arts culture favorite, Bob Ross.
“I thought maybe I could do this. “ She was right.
She began to paint – acrylics and watercolors. A well-received work is called “Cost of freedom”. It is dedicated to all veterans. His father was a WWII veteran and several brothers also served our country.
“This work was very well received”, she said proudly. So popular that “Cost of freedom” bears copyright. Glossy copies are distributed free to veterans.
She is very fond of gnomes. Yes, those dwarf and goblin earth spirits of European folklore are more than, well, lawn ornaments for Christine. They are the subjects of many of his paintings.
So why the gnomes?
“I always thought they were pretty little things” she offered. “I like to put them into action with action.”
Children are so special to her. This notion is reflected in his work. Even his gnomes are adorable. They do not speak. Instead, they show their love through their actions. Often in humorous situations.
“They show kindness to animals, the land and children” she says of the characters in her book. “I wanted to do it for the kids. Life lessons for toddlers.
‘“Children should grow up being kind and learning things like love and respect. I learned from my parents. We didn’t have much but they put a roof over our heads, food on the table and God in our lives. My parents were humble and my daughters are the same.
Christine often donates her works, especially to veterans.
“I have the impression that I have been given a gift” she said. “To charge for a lot of work would be outrageous.”
Part of the benefits of self-publishing “Color my world. A gnome adventure “ will benefit a charity in Salem.
A first order of the book already exhausted.
“I did my homework on the editor” she said. “I did my research. They tell you what they want and don’t want. They were best suited for what I was looking for.
She has offers to illustrate for others by composing books. Her plans are to write and illustrate more books of her own. She is a former recipient of the Golden Poetry Award.
“I don’t need to point to a clock and I love what I do” Christine said. ” I like to paint. If something doesn’t sell, that’s fine with me. If so, that’s fine with me too.
His message for young people with artistic aspirations: “To all the kids who are passionate about reading and learning, I say go for it. Bring color and life to the world. Make it yours! “
She can be contacted at: [email protected]