Portraits of historic figures, abstracts, landscapes and other oil paintings have joined deeds, mortgages, liens and military discharges available for public inspection in the Winnebago County Recorders office.
Winnebago County Recorder Ken Staaf has run out of room at home for his artwork, and is displaying more than 50 works of art in the Recorders office on the fourth floor of the Winnebago County Administration building at 404 Elm St., Rockford.
According to Staaf, Displaying my art in the courthouse complex started when I finished an oil of the ornate old courthouse, which was razed back in the 1960s. Portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. followed, and now virtually every wall in the office supports at least one painting.
Staaf added, The employees seemed to like having the paintings on display as opposed to calendars and plaques hanging on the walls, so as paintings were finished, they were placed on the walls throughout the office.
While I have always enjoyed painting and drawing, this all started a couple of years ago while on vacation in England, he said. We went to Winston Churchills Chartwell in Kent, England. After seeing his studio, my wife suggested that I take up the hobby for my own pleasure and relaxation. When we returned home, I purchased an easel, some canvases, paints and brushes, and what started as a simple pastime has become a passionate addiction.
Staaf continued: It has become an obsession! I paint from 5 to 7:30 every morning, and am back at the easel as soon as I get home from work each evening. I have even given up an opportunity to play golf so that I could work on a painting.
Paintings cover the walls of the Staaf home, and have been on display at several area art shows.
While they are all available for purchase, and I am astonished that people actually pay their hard-earned money for something that gives me so much pleasure to create, I dont push the sale of my work at the office, Staaf added. However, our customers have commented that they enjoy the display and the art takes the harshness out of doing business with the government.
The Recorders office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday and the public is invited to visit and enjoy the items on display. For more information, people may stop by the office during business hours or call Staaf at 319-4345.
From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue