A Claus for a cause

Did you know? T. Pennington draws new piece for a cause
By Paul Viau | Nov 09, 2012
Courtesy of: T. Pennington LETTER FROM SANTA — T. Pennington's 2012 drawing of St. Nicholas will help bring our troops home.

As you know, I often write (and talk) out of both sides of my mouth. Last week I groused about Thanksgiving, and how it has been nearly eclipsed by the Christmas rush of retail displays and advertising.

This week I am writing about a character often included in this holiday hype — Santa Claus. But this is a “behind-the-scenes” look at a Santa Clause you might not know— one that embodies the Christmas spirit of loving, caring and giving from the heart. This Santa Claus is the creation of TPennington, with a little help from one of her biggest sources of inspiration — God.

Did you know? Waynesville’s own Teresa Pennington, “Artist of the Blue Ridge,” is one of the most talented and successful artists in our area, and probably the most humble. Her colored-pencil drawings are detailed, intricate and truly inspirational, but Pennington doesn’t take credit for her great eye for nature, or her steady hand, as she has always considered them “a gift from God.”

Every year, Pennington does a holiday drawing showing a different view of Santa Claus. And each year, it gets harder to create a fresh, new look at this so-familiar character. This year, Pennington really struggled with this creative challenge, but when her inspiration finally came, it was detailed and specific.

Lying in bed one night, Pennington couldn’t sleep, as visions of Santa Claus “danced in her head.” Then her longtime mentor spoke to her. According to Pennington, God said, “Do a drawing of Santa, sitting at his desk, writing a letter to his son in the military, who wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas. Have a photo of Santa’s son on the desk, using your brother as the model, wearing his Air Force uniform.”

God further instructed Pennington, “Make the ornaments on the tree the different branches of the U.S. military.”

Then He revealed to Pennington that her husband, Robert, could personalize the drawing, inserting anyone’s photo into the frame on Santa’s desk.

Furthermore, He instructed her to give 10 percent of all proceeds from the sale of her drawing to the Wounded Warrior Project.

That’s what I call a very marketing-savvy God, and I really applaud His choice of charities.

Did you know? — The Wounded Warrior Program has a noble mission: to honor and empower our wounded warriors. To accomplish this goal, the WWP strives to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members. The WWP has also created a number of unique and direct programs to meet the needs of our wounded warriors.

The program I am most familiar with is the effort to bring our wounded warriors home for Christmas. This is the 10th year of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fifth year 4th Degree Knights of Columbus in North Carolina have raised money to help the Military Order of the Purple Heart send troops stationed at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune home for Christmas.

Last year, the Knights’ efforts brought 329 wounded warriors home for Christmas, or if our warriors were not able to travel, brought loved ones here to visit. This year, the need has grown to more than 500 warriors.

Thank you to all who have already contributed to this noble effort, and I’d like to thank to Pennington for artfully adding her generous support.

According to Pennington, “Never in all the years have I had that clear a vision of what I was going to draw. It was wonderful.”

Bringing our troops home for Christmas — what a wonderful cause. If you have a loved one who is in the military, or one who has already nobly served, you can honor him or her this Christmas with a T. Pennington print of Santa Clause, complete with his/her picture on Santa’s desk.

The prints are available in 6-by-6, 8-by-8, 10-by-10 and 12-by-12 inches, both framed and unframed. You can see them in their full-sized splendor at TPennington Art Gallery, 15 Main St., in downtown Waynesville. The gallery can be reached at 452-9284 or visited online at www.tpennington.com.

Obviously, TPennington’s personalized prints make great Christmas gifts. And maybe, just maybe, you will get the same reaction T.P. did when she presented the drawing to her own brother, Phillip Morgan — “I never dreamed you would do something like this.”

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