Nutrition Corner: Store apples the right way – Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 12:54 pm

September 01, 2020

When Christina Sarcevic Verdgeline, of Forty Fort, picks up her camera, the result could be a closeup of stunning dark pink foxgloves, a brilliant yellow sunflower or maybe a picture of an insect doing what an insects gotta do. More about that later.

If she picks up a pencil, she might draw a detailed sketch of a young woman in a high-collared Croatian dress. Or of a solitary cross on top of a mountain overlooking the village of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

With a repertoire that ranges from pointillism to architectural renderings, the multi-talented Verdgeline, 60, has sold a miniature acrylic painting called Starry Lake, reminiscent of Vincent Van Goghs Starry Night, that was on display at Mainstreet Galleries in Kingston, and collected a third-place prize from the Wyoming Valley Art League for a snowy watercolor called Winter Tracks.

While one of her next projects might be a sketch of the historic Denison House, located not far from her home, Verdgeline admitted that in recent months she hasnt had an abundance of time for painting or sketching. Not with working full time at a bank in Scranton and, quite frankly, feeling the pull of a garden and yard that called out to her like a blank canvas.

This is the first full summer she and her husband, Paul, have spent at their new home in Forty Fort after moving from Plains Township, and Verdgeline has taken great joy in planting daisies and lilies, zinnias and black-eyed Susans, coreopsis and cone flowers.

Beautifying the yard is an art, too, she said.

Art is something you see with your eyes, but it speaks to your heart, said Verdgeline, whose heart seems to dance with joy whenever she notices a bumblebee visiting a zinnia, a butterfly hovering near the butterfly bush that survived the move, or a goldfinch attracted to the sunflowers.

Yay! I had my first monarch butterfly sighting in our backyard, she gleefully reported in July.

Of course, nature isnt always pretty.

Some people might think its kind of creepy she said of the photograph she shot of a praying mantis devouring a bumblebee, an image that was exhibited at Wilkes-Barres Fine Arts Fiesta and also accepted into an international National Geographic photo contest. But thats nature. Its the circle of life.

Verdgeline said she hadnt noticed the praying mantis at first, when she started shooting photos of asters. Then a bee came along and ate a little from one flower. Then suddenly the mantis was there and just grabbed the bee.

Fascinated, the artist said, I thought about it and realized this is a moment in both these creatures lives that will never happen again.

While Verdgeline has created hundreds of pieces of art (which she sells as prints, stationery, apparel and more, through her favorite is a miniature painting, which was exhibited at Luzerne County Community Colleges Schulman Gallery in 2015, called Cranes in Croatia.

Her inspiration for the painting of the birds, in their nest on top of a chimney, was a photo her niece, attorney Adriana Vukmanic, shot on a trip to Croatia, in an area not far from where Verdgelines father grew up.

The artists parents, Joseph and Helen Sarcevic, fled the former Yugoslavia on foot in the late 1950s, making their way across the border into Slovenia first and then into Italy.

My parents were in their 20s at the time, Verdgeline said, recounting the family story about the way Joseph and Helen crossed the first border by mingling with a group of students who were heading into the woods for a picnic and didnt return with them.

The Sarcevics had arranged to meet and travel with another couple, but the other couple never showed up at the meeting spot. Verdgelines parents crossed the second border at night, hoping and praying the border guards would not notice them under the light of the full moon.

They were praying like crazy, Verdgeline said her mother told her. Even today, I get chills just thinking about it.

Years later, Verdgeline would have several opportunities to visit her parents homeland with them, and to visit relatives.

In 1983 her mother wanted to take a side trip to the village of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where several teen-agers and a younger boy claimed to see apparitions of the Blessed Mother.

The artist was 23 at the time and wasnt especially eager to go there, Verdgeline recalls. My sister and I were, like, oh, Mom

But they accompanied their mother and were able to spend time in the same room with the visionaries.

I felt the highest high I ever felt in my life, the artist recalled. I felt as if I was part of everything, at one with everything and everybody.

Verdgelines mother eventually led pilgrimages from America to Medjugorje through an organization called Mir Peace and Verdgeline found inspiration there for yet another style of artwork, including Christmas cards, Easter cards and greeting cards featuring messages from Medjugorje.

The artists sister Darlene Milas of Clarks Summit has led the groups most recent pilgrimages to Medjugorje, but not this year becaue of the global pandemic.

Nutrition Corner: Store apples the right way - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

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