Local artist Tonja Runion had a booth at last week’s Food Truck Friday in Hurricane, where she promoted the Putnam Farmer’s Market. Runion, who is a regular vendor at the market, paints scenes inspired by the natural beauty of West Virginia. Her paintings are done in a realistic style, and feature bold, saturated colors. In addition to being part of the Putnam Farmers’ Market, she is also a juried artist at Tamarack.
Runion enjoys painting landscapes, seascapes, and wildlife scenes. She says that she considers the landscape and nature art of Abraham Hunter – who mentored under Thomas Kinkade – as one of her inspirations. She also relates that she has always loved Norman Rockwell’s work, even though her own style is nothing like his.
In high school, Runion carried a sketchbook everywhere she went, but later in life, she got away from art. In 2015, she began painting, and has been at it ever since.
“Find what you love and do that,” she says. “I think that’s how we make a difference.”
In addition to showcasing Runion’s art, the Farmers’ Market booth at Food Truck Friday featured a basket filled with over $300 worth of products from the market that was being raffled off as a benefit for Lisa Mack Harrison, who is also a vendor at the Farmers’ Market. Harrison, who is also known as the Doodlin’ Roo, faces many medical and funeral expenses for a deceased family member. The raffle ends at 12:45 p.m. on July 2nd at the Farmers’ Market.
The Farmers’ Market is also raiksing public awareness about their recent move to the field near the Exxon on Route 34 in Teays Valley. After many years at Valley Park, the market outgrew the space available and needed to find a new location.
“I would encourage everyone to check out the market,” said Runion. “They might be pleasantly surprised. There is much more than just produce there.”