“A Humid Day in July”, a painting done in 2001 by local artist Tom Heflin, is a scene looking north from Route 20 near Pecatonica.”

By Doug Schroder

When one thinks of fine art, usually thoughts of big cities like Paris, New York, Los Angeles or Chicago accompany, since that’s where the artists congregate and the biggest art shows are held. For those living in northern Illinois, we don’t have to go that far to encounter one of those artists.

Tom Heflin has been painting his whole life. About 40 year ago he decided to settle in Winnebago when he purchased Doc Tenney’s home onWeldon Road. Heflin moved there with his wife at the time, and their five children. The five acres the home sits on would provide ample space for the over 500 visitors that would come each October when Heflin held his annual art shows.

The home on Weldon Road didn’t have an area conducive for Heflin to do his work though. Therefore he rented a farmhouse near Freeport owned by the Emmert family. The house was very old with few amenities, with no indoor plumbing and only a coal stove for heat. The house was secluded with the surrounding area very quiet, which provided Heflin with the right environment for him to perform his craft. He would stay at the house for three or four days at a time.

“Those snowstorms we had back in the winters of late 70’s and early 80’s really made it interesting living there,” Heflin recalled.

Heflin started his way to artistic fame in the mid-nineteen sixties when he won his first art competition in 1966. Nearly every year ince then Heflin has won an art competition award of some sort or another.

Read the rest of the story in the July 5th edition

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