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Velera Adams[/caption]

Velera Adams is a perennial People's Choice award winner in our annual Art is Ageless competition, and her paintings have been featured in two recent calendars. This year, lots of people can take home a pocket-sized version of one of her watercolors, reproduced on the new Art is Ageless notecards.

Velera's painting "The Pianist" features one of her favorite subjects: cats. Recently, she was painting mostly animals. Before that, it was a phase of still-life setups; before that, florals; before that, landscapes.

You could say Velera, who lives in Hutchinson, likes to study a subject fully and from all sides. “I’m very much a realist. I almost paint my watercolors like it was oil -- I can’t quit until the last little twig is in,” she said.

Her mother was a painter, but Velera herself didn't do much more than doodle until her junior year in high school. Then, she decided to embellish a book report with a painting of the book cover. Her mother showed her how to reproduce a picture using a grid, and the painting bug bit.

Velera went on to become an elementary school teacher, and she also taught art to the kids in her school. But she didn't get much time to paint for herself until she took early retirement. The only art classes she took were those offered by decorative painters, because they taught color theory and elements of design. Their methods emphasized everyone’s ability to learn painting.

“I love to paint so much. I used to paint every day. I was just so in love with it,” she said.

She has passed on that love, teaching classes and seminars to many fellow artists. Velera judged the decorative painting entries at the Kansas State Fair this year. Her artwork is for sale in her own booth at the Carriage Factory Art Gallery. And she's mounting a show of her paintings throughout the month of December at the Hutchinson Library.

Recently, Velera has also branched into writing. But her subject is darker than the animals and landscapes of her paintings. Her book, "Never Should Have Been," is a memoir of life with her first husband, who was an alcoholic. They divorced after 18 years of marriage; Velera has been married to her second husband, Steve, for 33 years. She is self-publishing the book on the CreateSpace platform.

“If nothing else, writing it was good therapy for me. I realized that if I didn’t say something about it, no one would.”

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