“Art Wakes Something in the Soul”

When they're not working at school, Mr. Eaglen and Mrs. Free enjoy painting in their free time

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No, teacher’s don’t live at school, and yes, they do other things besides grade papers.

Theology teacher Mr. Jason Eaglen and Executive Assistant to Principal Spellman Mrs. Marsha Free, for example, are painters in their free time.

Both realized when they were little that they could draw well, and their parents helped push them to hone their talents.

“My parents cultivated it since I was really young. They would put me in art competitions and I always enjoyed it.” Mr. Eaglen said. “I even won second place in the American Greetings competition when I was seven.”

Mrs. Free also entered artwork competitions when she was younger.

“Growing up I would draw all the time. I took art lessons and I’d be entered in contests at the Savannah mall. I’d get to show a lot of my art on display there when I was little,” she said.

Today, Mrs. Free paints after school about three to four times a week.

“There’s one finished room in our basement that I’ve taken over, much to my husband’s dismay,” Mrs. Free explained. “After I get home from school and take care of my cats, I usually sit down to paint and draw. I love to use watercolors, watercolor gouache, acrylic gouache, acrylics, watercolor pencils, and pastels.”

Mr. Eaglen paints with oil and acrylic in the workshop behind his house.

“I listen to death metal and just have my time to myself. I’ve brought my youngest son out with me sometimes and he seems to like it,” he said. “I’ve taught him a little bit.”

Mr. Eaglen recently started sharing his talents with students as well. In March, the library hosted an event after school where Mr. Eaglen taught a group of students how to paint a mountain range, Bob Ross style. The session was so popular that they did another one in April.

“I loved it. I just had a blast because the painters were super into it. I was very impressed with the amount of effort they put in. They clearly wanted to make good paintings,” he said.

Senior Gabby McCluskey participated in his first session.

“Painting with Mr. Eaglen was a really fun thing to do after school, and I’d say my mountain range looks amazing,” she said.

Mr. Eaglen also has a YouTube channel where he teaches his viewers to paint like him.

“It’s very Bob Ross,” he explained. “I started it in January this year and I’ve really been getting into it. Editing my videos is an art in itself. I just posted a new video where I paint a castle, and I went all out with music, talking, and time lapses. YouTube is a way for me to share my art with other people and I like the accomplishment of other people seeing what I can do.”

Mrs. Free posts her art online as well.

“I give away some of my artwork as gifts, but I also have a website that I upload digital copies to so that people can buy prints or notecards. My art brings other people joy, so all the work is worth it,” she said.