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As I have been researching the Marsh Felch Dinosaur Quarry story, I’ve become acquainted with Amanda Farnham Felch and over time have come to appreciate her toughness, kindness, and ability to get things done.  She has become famous in her own right for the tremendous medical contributions she made in the Civil War. Both Marshall and Amanda came from less than privileged backgrounds and were poor most all of their lives.  One casualty of poverty for them was lack of photographs.   We only have one photograph of Amanda when she most likely is in her 50’s and had been working intensely hard for her whole life and it shows.  She passed away on new years eve of 1893 at the age of 60.

Amanda Felch

Amanda Felch

Beyond that we really don’t have any pictures of her sisters or brothers.  Not a whole lot to go by other than a picture of her daughter Sarah, the only one of Marshall and Amanda’s children to have a photograph that could be located.

Sarah Felch

Sarah Felch

I’ve wanted to be able to tell a story that includes Marshall and Amanda and wanted to be able to see what she looked like.  I took this challenge to two young artists here in Canon City that I happen to know.  One is my nephew Paul Minor and the other is Zoey Scheler and as they said in Forrest Gump,  they “are like peas and carrots”   JoAnn and I fell in love with Zoey’s art having seen her award winning drawing she did for the Abbey winery this year.   It looked like this might work so we gave it a go.   Paul grew up here before going off to Pratt Institute but Zoey is new and so I asked for some information about her and this is what I learned.

Zoey was born in 1989 in New York City and raised in Larchmont, NY, a small suburb just north of Manhattan. She has been making art since she was able to hold a crayon. Ceramics, pottery, and painting are her true passions, she received her BFA (fine arts) in Ceramics from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.  Knowing how much she loved both to make art and teach art she went to Hofstra University in Long Island, NY where she received her masters degree in Fine Arts Education. For Zoey, making art is a part of life; whether she is drawing, throwing, or sculpting she is always creating. Her work explores beauty and it’s many forms. After finishing her second degree and being very much in love, she moved from NY to Colorado to pursue a career in art and to be with the love of her life. Zoey has studied ceramics and worked with many artists in New York, Maryland, West Virginia, New Mexico, and now Colorado. She has shown her work all around New York including, New York City, Brooklyn, Westchester, and Long Island. She currently resides in Canon City and has been blessed with the opportunity to set up a studio and be a full time artist. She is selling her work on Etsy.com  as well as is doing freelance illustration work. Her passion for making makes everyday an adventure full of exciting creations.

Zoey collaborated with Paul Clark Minor in the creation of this painting of Amanda Felch.  Zoey and Paul discussed in great lengths the story of Amanda Felch with Dan Grenard, as he provided them with a detailed history of the incredible life of Mrs. Felch. As Dan spoke Paul took detailed notes and began sketching ideas for illustrations of the different pivotal moments in Amanda Felch’s life. Dan, Zoey, and Paul complied as many reference images as possible to work from and then the building of the painting began. Zoey and Paul took specific elements from photos of the time period to construct the final image. The most challenging part was depicting Amanda as her younger self as the only documentation they had was of her as an elderly women. Many drafts and versions were drawn before the final piece was started. Using fine pens Zoey drew a detailed drawing followed by her application of watercolor. As a team it was there hope to capture a very important moment in time doing so as accurately as well as as creatively as possible.

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Amanda Farnham (Felch) receiving a medical wagon and supplies as she prepares to head to Antietam Maryland, about 60 miles west.

The scene above is a representation of Amanda on September 15, 1862 near Washington D.C.  She has just returned to the war effort after her first of three trips home to Vermont.   She has been looking for her Vermont troops who have been moved west toward Antietam which will happen in two days and has been commonly called the bloodiest single day of the Civil War.  When she arrived in Washington D.C. she couldn’t find her troops and as their hospital matron who traveled to the battle front. She felt she needed a medical wagon of her own, fully stocked with medical supplies, one maybe two horses, and she would be ready to be at their side.  By the end of the 15th she would would have found her way to see Secretary of War Stanton who would issue an order for her to receive what she came asking for.   Above is a depiction of what she may have looked like during the process of receiving her request, somewhere in the hills near Washington D.C.   She would be relatively well kept.   Her next time off would be about in July of 1863 after Gettysburg, escorting dead and wounded troops away from the battle front.