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Hobbies keep retired Sandwich man busy

Published: Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 1:38 p.m. CST
Caption
(DEBBIE BEHRENDS | dbehrends@shawmedia.com)
Ray Antolik of Sandwich shows some of the paintings he has not yet sold in his home studio / office.
Caption
(DEBBIE BEHRENDS | dbehrends@shawmedia.com)
Ray Antolik shows a work in progress. "It doesn't look like much yet," he said.
Caption
(DEBBIE BEHRENDS | dbehrends@shawmedia.com)
During a recent visit, Donna and Ray Antolik added a decorative sign from Sandwich, Ill. to the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake, Alaska.

Ray Antolik figures he was able to work until retirement only because he didn’t have the hobbies that now occupy his time.

Always a photographer, Antolik said he loves taking pictures of scenery while traveling with his wife, Donna. And it seems judges of photography at the Sandwich Fair like what he does. His pictures have won numerous ribbons, and several cover a wall in his home.

Additionally, traveling always has been a favorite way to spend family vacations, he said. Retirement affords an opportunity to do even more in their large motorhome.

“We’ve visited every state but Hawaii; my wife doesn’t care to fly,” he said.

But even with traveling and photography, Antolik said there’s only so much you can do around the house.

“I told him he needed to find another hobby,” Donna Antolik said.

So, with no prior experience, never having picked up a brush, Antolik started to paint the scenery and wildlife he appreciates.

“I never painted before,” he said. “I was in the food business and I had a knack for making the products look good, so I guess that’s artistic.”

Antolik said his medium of choice is acrylic paint because it dries quickly. “I need to see happy progress quickly,” he said. “The paint dries in 20 or 30 minutes, so if I don’t like what I’ve done, I can paint over it.”

His first subjects were copies of scenic calendar pictures before moving on to paintings copied from his own photographs. After displaying his work, and selling several pieces at local art shows, Antolik occasionally takes orders, and has developed his own website – www.overthehillpaintings.com.

Sandwich City Clerk Denise Ii is one of Antolik’s satisfied customers. She said she purchased a couple of his paintings last year during the Festival of Trees. Since then, she has provided a couple of photos that she wanted painted.

“He stops at city hall occasionally to show me new work,” Ii said.

Although he prefers snow scenes to grass because he has trouble with green, Antolik also has painted mountain, lake, dessert and farm scenes. “Here in the Midwest, people love barns. In the Southwest, they like cactus,” he said.

The Antoliks typically spend a couple of winter months in Arizona in their motorhome, and he said he’s joined an art club and entered art shows there, as well.

“I may sell six paintings at a show one year and none the next year. I just never know,” he said.

Antolik said he calls his newest series of paintings his “Full Moon Series.” Painted on black canvas, the full moon scenes resemble black-and-white photographs.

Travel adventures

To get pictures of some of his wildlife subjects, Antolik said he likes to get as close to nature as possible.

“I’m the one in the motorhome saying ‘get back in here,’” Donna Antolik said.

On a recent trip to Alaska, Antolik said he “nearly bumped into a grizzly bear with the car.” Much to his chagrin, his camera had broken down a few days earlier.

“A few minutes later, I came upon a black bear, an elk and a wolf in a bit of a standoff – again with no camera.”

During the same Alaskan adventure, the Antoliks stopped at Watson Lake, Alaska to put up a Sandwich sign in the Sign Post Forest.

“He came in to city hall and asked if we had any old Sandwich city signs,” Ii said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have one to give him.”

Not one to give up that easily, Antolik purchased a decorative sign at Hoadley’s Hallmark.

According to a brochure Antolik brought home, the Sign Post Forest originated in 1942 when a homesick Army engineer working on the Alaska Highway, Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Ill., erected a sign there pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. The 10,000th sign was placed in 1990, and Lindley and his wife visited the site 50 years after he placed that first sign.

The town of Watson Lake maintains the site and erects new sign posts as they are needed.

One of those sign posts has a sign from Sandwich, Ill. thanks to the Antoliks.Ray Antolik figures he was able to work until retirement only because he didn’t have the hobbies that now occupy his time.

Always a photographer, Antolik said he loves taking pictures of scenery while traveling with his wife, Donna. And it seems judges of photography at the Sandwich Fair like what he does. His pictures have won numerous ribbons, and several cover a wall in his home.

Additionally, traveling always has been a favorite way to spend family vacations, he said. Retirement affords an opportunity to do even more in their large motorhome.

“We’ve visited every state but Hawaii; my wife doesn’t care to fly,” he said.

But even with traveling and photography, Antolik said there’s only so much you can do around the house.

“I told him he needed to find another hobby,” Donna Antolik said.

So, with no prior experience, never having picked up a brush, Antolik started to paint the scenery and wildlife he appreciates.

“I never painted before,” he said. “I was in the food business and I had a knack for making the products look good, so I guess that’s artistic.”

Antolik said his medium of choice is acrylic paint because it dries quickly. “I need to see happy progress quickly,” he said. “The paint dries in 20 or 30 minutes, so if I don’t like what I’ve done, I can paint over it.”

His first subjects were copies of scenic calendar pictures before moving on to paintings copied from his own photographs. After displaying his work, and selling several pieces at local art shows, Antolik occasionally takes orders, and has developed his own website – www.overthehillpaintings.com.

Sandwich City Clerk Denise Ii is one of Antolik’s satisfied customers. She said she purchased a couple of his paintings last year during the Festival of Trees. Since then, she has provided a couple of photos that she wanted painted.

“He stops at city hall occasionally to show me new work,” Ii said.

Although he prefers snow scenes to grass because he has trouble with green, Antolik also has painted mountain, lake, dessert and farm scenes. “Here in the Midwest, people love barns. In the Southwest, they like cactus,” he said.

The Antoliks typically spend a couple of winter months in Arizona in their motorhome, and he said he’s joined an art club and entered art shows there, as well.

“I may sell six paintings at a show one year and none the next year. I just never know,” he said.

Antolik said he calls his newest series of paintings his “Full Moon Series.” Painted on black canvas, the full moon scenes resemble black-and-white photographs.

Travel adventures

To get pictures of some of his wildlife subjects, Antolik said he likes to get as close to nature as possible.

“I’m the one in the motorhome saying ‘get back in here,’” Donna Antolik said.

On a recent trip to Alaska, Antolik said he “nearly bumped into a grizzly bear with the car.” Much to his chagrin, his camera had broken down a few days earlier.

“A few minutes later, I came upon a black bear, an elk and a wolf in a bit of a standoff – again with no camera.”

During the same Alaskan adventure, the Antoliks stopped at Watson Lake, Alaska to put up a Sandwich sign in the Sign Post Forest.

“He came in to city hall and asked if we had any old Sandwich city signs,” Ii said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have one to give him.”

Not one to give up that easily, Antolik purchased a decorative sign at Hoadley’s Hallmark.

According to a brochure Antolik brought home, the Sign Post Forest originated in 1942 when a homesick Army engineer working on the Alaska Highway, Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Ill., erected a sign there pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. The 10,000th sign was placed in 1990, and Lindley and his wife visited the site 50 years after he placed that first sign.

The town of Watson Lake maintains the site and erects new sign posts as they are needed.

One of those sign posts has a sign from Sandwich, Ill. thanks to the Antoliks.Ray Antolik figures he was able to work until retirement only because he didn’t have the hobbies that now occupy his time.

Always a photographer, Antolik said he loves taking pictures of scenery while traveling with his wife, Donna. And it seems judges of photography at the Sandwich Fair like what he does. His pictures have won numerous ribbons, and several cover a wall in his home.

Additionally, traveling always has been a favorite way to spend family vacations, he said. Retirement affords an opportunity to do even more in their large motorhome.

“We’ve visited every state but Hawaii; my wife doesn’t care to fly,” he said.

But even with traveling and photography, Antolik said there’s only so much you can do around the house.

“I told him he needed to find another hobby,” Donna Antolik said.

So, with no prior experience, never having picked up a brush, Antolik started to paint the scenery and wildlife he appreciates.

“I never painted before,” he said. “I was in the food business and I had a knack for making the products look good, so I guess that’s artistic.”

Antolik said his medium of choice is acrylic paint because it dries quickly. “I need to see happy progress quickly,” he said. “The paint dries in 20 or 30 minutes, so if I don’t like what I’ve done, I can paint over it.”

His first subjects were copies of scenic calendar pictures before moving on to paintings copied from his own photographs. After displaying his work, and selling several pieces at local art shows, Antolik occasionally takes orders, and has developed his own website – www.overthehillpaintings.com.

Sandwich City Clerk Denise Ii is one of Antolik’s satisfied customers. She said she purchased a couple of his paintings last year during the Festival of Trees. Since then, she has provided a couple of photos that she wanted painted.

“He stops at city hall occasionally to show me new work,” Ii said.

Although he prefers snow scenes to grass because he has trouble with green, Antolik also has painted mountain, lake, dessert and farm scenes. “Here in the Midwest, people love barns. In the Southwest, they like cactus,” he said.

The Antoliks typically spend a couple of winter months in Arizona in their motorhome, and he said he’s joined an art club and entered art shows there, as well.

“I may sell six paintings at a show one year and none the next year. I just never know,” he said.

Antolik said he calls his newest series of paintings his “Full Moon Series.” Painted on black canvas, the full moon scenes resemble black-and-white photographs.

Travel adventures

To get pictures of some of his wildlife subjects, Antolik said he likes to get as close to nature as possible.

“I’m the one in the motorhome saying ‘get back in here,’” Donna Antolik said.

On a recent trip to Alaska, Antolik said he “nearly bumped into a grizzly bear with the car.” Much to his chagrin, his camera had broken down a few days earlier.

“A few minutes later, I came upon a black bear, an elk and a wolf in a bit of a standoff – again with no camera.”

During the same Alaskan adventure, the Antoliks stopped at Watson Lake, Alaska to put up a Sandwich sign in the Sign Post Forest.

“He came in to city hall and asked if we had any old Sandwich city signs,” Ii said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have one to give him.”

Not one to give up that easily, Antolik purchased a decorative sign at Hoadley’s Hallmark.

According to a brochure Antolik brought home, the Sign Post Forest originated in 1942 when a homesick Army engineer working on the Alaska Highway, Carl K. Lindley of Danville, Ill., erected a sign there pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. The 10,000th sign was placed in 1990, and Lindley and his wife visited the site 50 years after he placed that first sign.

The town of Watson Lake maintains the site and erects new sign posts as they are needed.

One of those sign posts has a sign from Sandwich, Ill. thanks to the Antoliks.

To see more of Antolik's work, visit his website at www.overthehillpaintings.com.

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