Phil Starke

(Frank) And we’re back again and it’s, as we told you it might get a little noisy. There is a tour that will be passing through here shortly, so that’s what the background noise is. (Deb) And the place is full of politicians. So, you know, what do you do? They get a little loud sometimes, what can you say? (Frank) Yea, but again we’ll remind you when you’re in Topeka, be sure to visit the State Capitol. It’s absolutely beautiful. And give yourself some time to really look around and look at the many murals that are on the wall. And how’s that for kind of a segue into what we’re going to talk about now? (Deb) Speaking of art, very good Frank. (Frank) Art, yes paintings. (Deb) Speaking of art, we’ve got our next story is about a treasure that showed up in a very unexpected place. It was donated to the Restore, actually in Topeka. And I love shopping at thrift stores. I love the Restore. I love you know, the yard sales and all these unexpected places. And I have found some really nice pieces of art in the thrift store. I don’t know that mine are as valuable as the one that we’re gonna talk about but I have found some really nice pieces. Do you do that Frank? Do you ever go through the junk stores? (Frank) Not so much anymore, but we had an antique store in Lawrence years ago. But the thing is that even over in the NOTO Arts District there are a lot of stores over there that you might find something kind of outstanding and unusual. (Deb) And unique and you go through the antique stores and some of those people are really knowledgeable and you know, what’s collectible is just amazing. I mean people…my friend Don Weichert, I ran into the other day, the Button Man. And he’ll talk about when he started getting interested in collecting buttons and there are buttons worth thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars because they’re so rare, they’re cellulose, all kinds of, whatever they’re made of, when they were made, what they were made for, uniforms. So, yea there’s just so many collectible things, who can keep up? (Frank) But paintings when you find one of those, and that’s what’s cool about this story because somebody, I don’t want to get ahead of the game, but somebody had an eye. (Deb) Really did. Let’s take a look at this one. It was First Friday Artwalk and my friend and I had popped into Beauchamp’s Gallery at the Westboro Mart. Owners Bob and Kim Swain are old friends and Cally Krallman was displaying her latest works depicting scenes along the Santa Fe Trail. Propped on the floor against some other paintings was a rather large impressionist landscape with an old shed and a tree, a sycamore maybe, since the trunk was so white. I asked Bob about it and he said, oh, you haven’t heard the story? So Bob told me that our mutual friend John Peterson, retired journalist, was volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. He spied this art among the pieces about to be put out for sale and thought it might be worth more than the $50 they were about to slap on. He phoned Bob. “Are you familiar with an artist named Star-key?” he asked. “You mean Phil Starke? Yes!” Bob took a look at the painting and assured them it was worth far more than fifty bucks. Not only does Beauchamp’s display and sell works of art, they offer framing, repairs, cleaning, and appraisals. The folks back at the Restore knew who had donated it and called to make sure he realized his generosity. He said, yes, by all means, sell it and keep the money. Bob repaired the slight damage and put the painting out for sale, for several thousand dollars, with the proceeds to benefit the Restore. Turns out Phil Starke is a very successful landscape painter, and has written books and produces tutorials on techniques. John obviously had a very good eye. For those of us who regularly go treasure hunting at thrift stores and junk sales, this was all the affirmation we needed to keep searching!