“I do this for my own entertainment,” she says as she skillfully fine tunes a pencil sketch of one of her great-grandchildren. I watch as she glances at a snapshot, comparing what she has created to the camera’s image. Ruth Blount has spent a large part of the past several weeks working on Christmas gifts for her four grandchildren. I have no doubt that Stephanie, Andrew, Molly and Megan will be delighted with the pencil sketches lovingly created by their 90-year-old grandmother.
Blount, a former secretary retired from Ciba Geigy, says that she has always enjoyed drawing. She didn’t have much extra time in her younger years as she was raising her sons Mark and Mike, but since her retirement, Blount has enjoyed creating with pencils, oils and acrylics. She acknowledged that drawing and painting had come naturally to her, but she did take several classes as an adult at the urging of her co-worker and friend, Bea Cartee. The two would leave the plant in McIntosh after work to attend art classes in Saraland.
Ruth Blount consults photographs of her great-grandchildren and sketches what she sees. The sketches are Christmas gifts for her grandchildren. (SA photo by Shannon Courington)
Painting and sketching are not her only talents. Blount credits Bea Cartee with teaching her how to knit and crochet. She actively participates in Jackson Health Care’s crocheting and knitting group that meets weekly.
Her room at Jackson Health Care Facility is adorned with her work in a variety of mediums. It’s a miniature gallery of Blount’s creations in a variety of mediums with a variety of subjects. Sketches and paintings of flowers, landscapes, children and historical buildings cover her walls. “I’ve always enjoyed drawing. When I realized I was pretty good at what I did draw, I wanted to do more of it.”
Bonnie Pope, administrator of Jackson Health Care Facility, calls Blount “amazingly talented” and says that she is very thoughtful and creative in her gifting. Pope recalled several Christmases that Blount painted various gifts to surprise her family. One Christmas, the maintenance department even got involved in Blount’s Christmas planning. They measured and cut pallets to her specifications so that she could personalize them for her family members.
Blount says that the idea to surprise her grandchildren with portrait sketches of their children just came to her one day as she started thinking about Christmas. “I know they will enjoy these,” she said as she flipped through her sketchbook. “I am just not sure what the kids will think when they see their pictures,” she laughed.
I can’t predict how the children will react this Christmas, but I have no doubt that as the years pass, they will realize the time and love that their great-grandmother put into creating these very unique treasures.
Tom Krause, a uniquely talented opera singer is credited with the following: “Your purpose in life is to use your gifts and talents to help other people. Your journey in life teaches you how to do that.” Ruth Blount continues to learn from her journey and to use her talents and gifts to bring joy to her family and friends.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.