Artist Linda Wheeler lost her mother, father and brother, and then she lost her muse.
Although she had painted for more than 30 years, she could not force herself to continue after the loss in 2009 of her mother/best friend to Alzheimer's disease.
Then, she had an idea to customize paintings with embellishments from her mother, Jesse Towns. Wheeler had inherited boxes of costume jewelry from her mother and began using small pieces of them in her paintings.
"That way, I could keep my mother close," Wheeler said.
She began doing just that, using tiny beads and rhinestones in unexpected places on the art. Lace and fibers sometimes are also used in her personal art. Wheeler also paints custom portraits or art work.
She dedicates a portion of proceeds from art work that sells to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
Wheeler said she considers her artistic talent to be a gift from God and she finishes each piece with TYL, for "Thank You Lord." Her work is on display in the Loudon County Visitors Bureau on Highway 321 throughout October.
Art work by Cindy Treadway is displayed at the Depot Building in Loudon, which houses the Chamber of Commerce and Loudon County Education Foundation.