Everyone around these parts knows Barry Grier.
A smile, a hug or a wave and a “How you doing?” is commonplace coming from this Hiawatha man, who knows no stranger. He is well known from his many years of employment at Hiawatha Thriftway, Carpet Plus and his decades of stone and landscape work around the area.
However, Grier had a side to him that most people didn’t know about — even him.
“I always used to draw and then one day I was watching (painter) Bob Ross and thought I could try that,” he said, noting he has only painted for about a year and a half.
Now, Grier paints 1-2 pieces nightly! Many are landscapes or animal pieces. He said he hasn’t tried his hand at portraits yet, but might think about that someday. He said he might even work on a commission if someone wants something specific painted.
“I needed something to do besides sitting and watching television every night,” he said.
Grier had accumulated around 100 pieces and his friends and family started encouraging him to share his artwork with the community. So in August he had a showing at the Fisher Center.
“I took up 90 paintings and came home with seven!” he said.
His paintings were scooped up by local residents through a silent auction and cash and carry and Grier said he was stunned.
So that was a few months ago and at the rate of 1-2 paintings a night, Grier has accumulated another 160 or so pieces and is planning another showing from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Fisher Center in Hiawatha.
He said many pieces will be up for sale on a silent auction or through cash and carry at the event. Some of the pieces are among the very first he completed. He said most of his pieces are acrylic and this winter he might tackle some oils and water colors. Several of his pieces are on display in local businesses.
“I’m making some connections and after this show hope to have a better idea of what people like and what to even charge,” he said. “I am just surprised at how well this took off!”