Gracie Erickstad, who graduated from West Fargo High School last spring, is a talented young artist.

The picture you see here is one of her oil paintings. It was sent to “Neighbors” by Char Feldman, Fargo, who tells about it.

“Gracie saw a picture of my maternal grandfather, Peter Volk.” Char writes. “”He was dressed in his denim coveralls working in his shoe shop in Rugby, N.D.

“Gracie never knew this great-grandfather of hers, as he passed away before she was born. However, the picture intrigued her. She decided to paint it for a scholastic competition.

“She has won a gold key award for it, and now it is going to be sent to a national competition.

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Recent West Fargo High School graduate Gracie Erickstad made this oil painting based on a photograph of her late great-grandfather. Special to The Forum
Recent West Fargo High School graduate Gracie Erickstad made this oil painting based on a photograph of her late great-grandfather. Special to The Forum

“I am the oldest of Grandpa Pete’s grandchildren, so I knew him well.

Char goes on to say that “Gracie capturing his likeness and bringing it to a canvas is unique in many ways:

“She never met him, yet from a small photograph was drawn to him and his character.

“She captured his likeness so well, it is like he is looking at me when I view the painting.

“He was a self-taught shoe repairman, starting his business after he sold his farm and moved into town.

“I have tons of memories of going to Pete’s Shoe Shop, taking in the smells of leather and glue and marveling how he could fix tarps for the farmers, as well as shoes, purses, etc.

“The shoe shop still exists in Rugby, but was bought by the nearby Niewoehner Funeral Home and has been incorporated into the funeral home.

“I think this painting of him is a testament to the tradesmen who were our ancestors who learned a trade and made a life doing it,” Char concludes.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email blind@forumcomm.com.