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St. Mary's to San Francisco on canvas

A Brookmans Park artist has created a lasting memory of North Mymms for a California couple - and all thanks to this site.

Brookmans Park artist Jean Atkinson with her paiting of North Mymms Parish Church shortly before it was shipped to California  - jean.jpg (11104 bytes)

Brookmans Park artist Jean Atkinson with her painting of North Mymms Parish Church shortly before it was shipped to California

Three years ago, David Szymkowski and his wife Sue left Welham Green for Mountain View near San Francisco after living in the area for seven years.

They both had such happy memories of North Mymms that David decided to commission a painting of St Mary’s church, where they were married and where their first child was baptized, as a wedding anniversary surprise for Sue.

Last year, David e-mailed this site asking if anyone knew of a local artist who would be prepared to paint the historic church so that he could put a framed picture in his Mountain View home in time for his anniversary party.

The finished painting, framed and ready to be gift wrapped - framed.jpg (13411 bytes)

The finished painting, framed and ready to be gift wrapped for the anniversary suprise

In David's e-mail, posted in December, he appealed for help.

“I would now like to purchase or commission a painting of St. Mary's North Mymms, done by an artist familiar with the church.

"However, I have no idea where to start my inquiries.

"Is anyone familiar with any local artists who might be interested? If so, I would greatly appreciate any contact information - Thank you.”

After a number of e-mails between the West Coast and Hertfordshire the editor of the Parish Magazine, Martin Ferdinando, a regular contributor to this site, contacted local artist Jean Atkinson who agreed to take on the commission.

Jean and David spoke on the phone a number of times about what sort of painting it should be and during a business trip to England David visited Jean to collect the painting.

He took it home and hid it away until the wedding anniversary last month.

Sue with her anniversary present proudly displayed in her Mountain View home - sue.jpg (11525 bytes)

Sue with her anniversary present proudly displayed in her Mountain View home

David didn’t want news to leak out until he had surprised his wife as he explained in an e-mail to this site.

“I can finally report back regarding the end to the story of finding an artist to paint St. Mary's as an anniversary present for my wife.

”Our anniversary finally passed and all went well. My wife was quite curious as to what was in the works, but had no idea.

”Our two kids had seen the wrapped painting but had some twisted idea that it was a present for their birthday, which confused Susan a bit. Anyway, while we were having dinner out that night, I had a neighbor come into the house and replace the old painting over the mantle with the one of St. Mary's.

“Susan took a while to notice but then of course was delighted. Thanks again so much for your interest - your website was a great help in getting the ball rolling on this.

Artist Jean Atkinson said it was a pleasure painting the church.  She said she decided to do a slightly abstract painting rather than an exact photographic likeness.

In a separate e-mail to the feedback section of the site David wrote asking for full-size images of the pictures of St Mary's that appear on the site.

“I enjoy looking at your Brookmans Park/North Mymms web site…I appreciate being able to keep up on the (formerly) local news. I would therefore appreciate if you could email larger versions of your excellent digital images of St. Mary's church (and churchyard),” he wrote.

There is a selection of images that have been manipulated in Photoshop which when printed off and framed look like watercolour paintings.

The first is the church, the second the church yard, the third is the lane to the church and the fourth is the bridge just below the church.

June 9, 2001

Recent News
Wanted: Local artist to paint St. Mary's - December 14, 2000
Local History Christmas books offer - December 9, 2000
Community to update history records - June 15, 1999
Second reprint for history books - March 21, 1999
Local history book reprint - April 20, 1999
Local history reprint considered - March 2, 1999

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