Dr. Wayne Trinklein usually had down time when his patients were in labor, so he’d slip off to a hospital lounge and create art.
Today, he’s a full-time artist who specializes in tree sculptures made of copper wire fused with tin, lead and other alloys.
“When I started 44 years ago, I found that trees were a lot like people,” said Trinklein, 70, of St. Peters, Mo., who retired as a family doctor in Michigan after 25 years.
“(Trees) live about as long as people and they have their roots in the ground, but they reach toward the sun. They all do that, but they do it each in their own way.”
Some trees are strong and slow while others are weak and fast, he said. Those in proximity form relationships. All trees respond and adapt to environmental conditions.
“Before I even start making a tree, I write a little verse about the special qualities of a person, and I make a tree that has the same qualities,” Trinklein said. “So it’s a physical representation of the words that I’ve used to describe the individual.”
Trinklein will share more of his philosophy this weekend, when Belleville plays host to the 14th annual Art on the Square festival. He’s one of 103 artists coming from all over the country and beyond.
They have been selected by judges (from more than 900 entries) for their work in clay, glass, jewelry, digital/graphic design, fine craft, watercolor/tempura, mixed media, oil and acrylics, photography, drawing/printmaking, sculpture and wood.
“We have a lot of new artists this year,” said Executive Director Patty Gregory. “We had a lot of new people apply. And one of the interesting things is that some people who were in our first or second show are back, so that’s kind of fun.”
Art on the Square is considered one of the top art festivals in the country, based on sales. Gregory is in high spirits this week because organizers passed their mark of selling $100,000 in “art cash” gift certificates.
“When we sell $100,000 in art cash, it almost always means we will have over a million dollars in sales,” Gregory said. “It’s a pretty good indicator.”
Festival hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in downtown Belleville. Admission is free. Bands will play on the main stage and in the wine court, with food and drink available for purchase from local restaurants and vendors.
Artist tents will surround Veterans Memorial Fountain and shoot off on East and West Main and North and South Illinois.
“We even have a gentleman coming from Belgium,” Gregory said. “He was in the show several years ago. We have another one from Israel.”
Artist Ella Richards is traveling from New York City to share her “scissors drawings.” She creates images of people, flowers or animals by drawing them and cutting them out of black paper.
“I like to observe people in New York, so I walk around a lot,” she said. “I don’t take photographs. I just don’t feel comfortable doing that. But I do sketches to use as models.”
Richards was a teenager when she immigrated to the United States in the late ’80s. As a child, she divided her time between Estonia, formerly part of the Soviet Union, and Siberia, where her parents were exiled.
Richards attended Columbia University Medical Center but decided to become an artist instead of a doctor. She wanted share her sense of “humanity.”
“Art should talk to people,” Richards said. “It should go into their heart. It should go into their soul. It should open them up.”
Again this year, Art on the Square will feature a Living with Art Design Stage, where interior designers and local florists share ideas for decorating with art.
The headliner is Tiffany Brooks, a Chicago interior designer, winner of “HGTV Star” Season 8 and host of the network’s “Smart Home” show. She will present twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday.
“(The stage is) lovely because Padgett Building has built a room with crown molding and everything,” Gregory said. “It looks like someone’s living room.”
The festival also will include a High School Art Competition exhibit and Children’s Art Garden, where kids can help paint a mural and make art to take home, including musical instruments, photo frames, animals and hats.
Members of the Gateway East Artist Guild will demonstrate everything from watercolor painting to jewelry making in a tent on the festival grounds.
“It’s a great time to showcase what Belleville has to offer,” Gregory said, “not just in the St. Louis area but all over the country.”
At a glance
What: Art on the Square
Where: Downtown Belleville Square
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Shuttle: St. Clair County Transit will run a free shuttle every 15 minutes between Scheel Street MetroLink station (starting 10 minutes before festival opens) and East Main and Jackson (ending 20 minutes after festival closes).
Don’t bring: Pets, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades or scooters.
Art on the Square schedule
5 to 9 p.m. — Demonstrations of watercolor, leatherwork and painting on yupo paper in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
5 to 9 p.m. — Music by Louis Michael Trio in the wine court.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Demonstrations of acrylic and watercolor painting and photography in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Presentation by Tiffany Brooks, interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Smart House,” on Living with Art Design Stage.
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Music by the Dixie All-Stars on main stage.
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Music by Mark Biehl in wine court.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Children’s Art Garden open for kids who want to help paint a mural or make art to take home, including musical instruments, photo frames, animals and hats.
12:30 to 1 p.m. — Presentation on “The Wow Factor” by Jeff and Zach Baer from Grimm & Gorly Florist on Living with Art Design Stage.
1 to 1:45 p.m. — Music by Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra on main stage.
1 to 4 p.m. — Demonstrations of clay handbuilding, mixed media and glass bead-making in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
1:15 to 1:45 p.m. — “Inside/Outside” show with KTRS-AM 550 on Living with Art Design Stage.
2 to 2:30 p.m. — Presentation on “Color Palate” by Ali Vernier, allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers.
2 to 4:45 p.m. — Music by John Farrar Trio in the wine court.
2:15 to 3 p.m. — Music by Metro East Community Chorale on main stage.
3 to 3:30 p.m. — Presentation by Tiffany Brooks, interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Smart House,” on Living with Art Design Stage.
3:30 to 5:30 p.m. — Music by Anita Rosamond Band on main stage.
4 to 8 p.m. — Demonstrations of drawing, jewelry making and digital painting on iPad in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
5:15 to 8 p.m. — Music by Beabout Jazz in wine court.
6 to 8 p.m. — Music by Power Play on main stage.
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Music by Triple Play on main stage.
11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. — Music by the Don James Quartet in wine court.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Demonstrations of watercolor, drawing and oil painting in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
Noon to 1 p.m. — Presentation by Tiffany Brooks, interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Smart House,” on Living with Art Design Stage.
Noon to 4 p.m. — Children’s Art Garden open for kids who want to help paint a mural or make art to take home, including musical instruments, photo frames, animals and hats.
1 to 2 p.m. — Music by the St. Louis Sirens on main stage.
1:15 to 1:45 p.m. — Presentation on “Let’s Get Creative” by Rita Eckert from Eckert’s Florist.
2 to 3 p.m. — Presentation by Tiffany Brooks, interior designer and host of HGTV’s “Smart House,” on Living with Art Design Stage.
2 to 3 p.m. — High School Art Competition awards on main stage.
2 to 5 p.m. — Demonstrations of copper sculpture and pencil and ink drawing in Gateway East Artist Guild tent.
2:15 to 5 p.m. — Music by The Convertibles in wine court.
3 to 5 p.m. — Music by Soul Shake on main stage.