LOCAL ARTIST DRAWN TO HISTORY by Dottie McGrew

The question is:  can an admitted "frustrated historian" who is also a talented artist find satisfaction and a career in depicting images of the Civil War?

In the case of North Canton native Amy Lindenberger, the answer is in the affirmative.

In addition to her Linden Tree studio at 543 North Main Street, Lindenberger has opened a second location in the heart of Gettysburg, PA.  The local site specializes in art lessons with some gallery space, she said, while the Gettysburg venue exhibits the Civil War themed prints she has been creating since 1996.  She is pleased with business at both sites.

Lindenberger grew up in a family immersed in Civil War history.  Her father, the late Carl Lindenberger, was a Civil War buff.  She doesn't remember a day he did not have a book on the subject with him.  Her mother, now Ruth Frye Lindenberger Brumbaugh, and young Amy happily accompanied her fathers sorties to the immortal battlefields of that conflict.  A family photo shows Lindenberger, age 2, sitting at the base of Little Round Top.

But Lindenberger is also an artist.  The late Hoover High School art teacher, Ty Palmer introduced her to colored pencils.  She graduated from Hoover in 1976.  But while studying art at the University of Akron, she put aside colored pencils for other mediums.  But as a freelance artist after college graduation, she diversified her portfolio by returning to colored pencil drawings.  In 1990, she helped organize the Ohio Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America.

"Colored pencils are a very versatile medium," she said, "similar to pastels but with more control--and the drawings don't smear.

"It seems like I've been trying to find a way to combine my passion for the Civil War and art for most of my life.

"As an artist, when I looked at Civil War art, I found that it was almost always battlefield and generals," she said, "but my interest is in people.  What were their lives like?  What was it like to have a battle in your city or town or sometime is you yard.  What was it like to have soldiers in your house?"

Lindenberger's rendering of Rose O'Neal Greenhow reflects her 15 years of experience in portraiture as well as the meticulous research behind each drawing.

Lindenberger depicts a strong-featured woman, probably in mid-life.  Her dark hair is drawn back.  She holds a lighted candle.  One side of her face is bathed in light; the other is shadowed.  Superimposed on her black dress are indecipherable symbols and six small birds.  Obviously there is a story behind this drawing.

Mrs. Greenhow was a well-connected Washington widow who regularly entertained high government officials at gala dinner parties in her home.  But Mrs. Greenhow had a darker side.  She was part of a confederate spy ring.  The cyphers in the drawing symbolize the code she used to relay information.  She is credited with passing along information on troop movements that helped the Cofederate win the first battle of Manassas.

The small gray birds in the drawing represent the other women--maids, clerks, merchants--she recruited as spies.  She never wrote or spoke their names, but referred to them as her "little birds."

An exhibit of Lindenberger's drawings is on display at the Little Art Gallery through August 14.  The Little Art Gallery is located inside the North Canton Public Library, 185 North Main Street.

(A monochromatic photo of The Messenger accompanied this article.)

Copied from Our Town North Canton, August 2004, Page 6

 

Direct Links to All Civil War Artwork:
Beyond the Battlefield - The Battle of Gettysburg - More Civil War Drawings - Gettysburg Civilians During the War
 
Christmas During the Civil War -
Gettysburg Today - Plein Air Drawings of Gettysburg


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 August 22, 2009