307 N. Main St., Culver, IN
Studio Phone: 574-842-8888
Residence Phone: 574-842-4350

A marvelous creative journey is being traveled by this husband and wife team, as they create paintings and poetry to share with you.

Esther was born on a farm near Peninsula, Ohio, Her parents encouraged her interest in art and her first teacher was Honore Guilbeau, a very talented print maker and illustrator. Honore and her husband ("Buck" Cook) and a ballet dancer friend organized classes for children as a way to earn income during the depression of the 30's. From age 8 until 14, Iucky Esther spent almost every Saturday morning in their classes. She is especially grateful to her mother for this opportunity. At 19, she married and moved to Kansas City and attended Kansas City Art Institute, specializing in illustration., Her oil painting teacher was Vincent Campanella, a master of color. While painting, she reflects often on his color theory.

The Painter and the Poet In 1953, she moved to Culver, Indiana with her husband and two small sons. Two daughters followed and when possible, she painted. Luck placed her on vacation in Hawaii where she happened across a watercolor workship taught by John Pike, an amazing watercolorist and a talented instructor. She came home loving the magic of watercolor and certain it was "her medium." Divorced in her mid thirties, and needing to earn a living, she wanted to pursue art, but her practical side led her to develop a real estate sales and appraisal business. She painted whenever possible, and looked forward to "someday" and attended watercolor workshops taught by Tony Couch, Joe Fettingis, and others.

Ward lived in Mishawaka, Indiana and worked many years for Indiana Bell Telephone Company. Early in his phone company career, he served in the army in Korea, and began writing poetry He came home and raised a family and after years of marriage, he too was single. And before the days of "internet match-making," this couple miraculously met each other. After their second date, Ward wrote a poem for Esther, called "My House by the Lake." She was astounded by his sensitivity and eloquence, and the relationship was off to a roaring start Their friendship grew and became love and now they have been married for almost thirty-three years. and that poem, "My House by the Lake" is in his first paperback book of poetry - Small Town available on this site.

For ten more years both continued to work in their traditional jobs until they retired to pursue their dream, naming their business The Painter and the Poet. In 1989, Esther completed a watercolor of Memorial Chapel, Culver Academies and Ward added a verse. This became their 1989 Christmas card. They had this card reproduced in a print which has become their all-time best seller and is included on this site. Esther's Aunt Gladys passed away and left modest amounts to each of her many nieces and nephews. With their share, Ward and Esther bought a truck camper which they named "Aunt Gladys." The Painter and the Poet and "Aunt GIadys" sold their creations at juried art shows in New England, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Indiana, where they could combine visiting family and friends with their new vocation. After eight years, they tired of travel and packing and setting up their tent, and tearing it down, coping with wind and rain. For the next six years, they settled into a full time gallery in downtown Culver where people could come in and select from original watercolors, prints and poetry. Currently their life remains full and satisfying with seven children, twelve grandchildren and two great grandchildren, interesting friends, along with their gallery and continuing commissions and other projects.

Culver, a delightful small town, is located on a spetacular lake. It has terrific restaurants and interesting shops. In summer, the town beach is a favorite spot with its wonderful shaded playground and charming gazebo. Nearby is Mystic Hills, a fine public golf course. For more community details, check the local Chamber of Commerce site: www.culverchamber.com.

For over a hundred years, Culver, Indiana has been the home of internationally famous Culver Military Academy (CMA) for boys. In the 1970's it was expanded to include Culver Girls Academy, (CGA). Together these schools comprise Culver Academies. Three of Esther's children are winter school graduates. View Esther's Academy series of prints on this website. For more information on this remarkable school, visit on line: www.culver.org. Esther and Ward find it hard to believe that they have been able to spend almost 20 years of their life pursuing their dream, and getting to know such wonderful customers and friends. Minor problems keep them on their toes, but they still look forward with joy to each new day. They are grateful for their many blessings. They have had an interesting and stimulating time with this painting and poetry stuff, and most important - lots of fun with each otherl They hope you will enjoy browsing their site. Email them if you have questions.

The pretty lady here is Darlene Best. She is efficient, helpful and friendly.
She helps make all of this possible for them, and they thank her.