‘The Steward’ painting lets donor choose their charity

In a special artistic fundraiser, the donors get to decide exactly where their money will go. When painting the tranquil waters of Pepper Creek, artist Alan B. Tuttle knew he wanted “The Steward” to serve a larger purpose in his community.

So now, anybody who acquires a print of this painting gets to specifically direct where their money will go. After paying to print the image, 100 percent of profits will be given to local nonprofits through the Steward’s Fund, which supports local organizations that enhance the local community.

“I receive no funds from this,” said Tuttle, who keeps the original oil painting at home. “I’m kind of an artist-philanthropist. I don’t have buckets of money to give away, but I do have talent to share.”

Tuttle offers a full list of possible charity recipients — at least 20 organizations, including Ball 4 All, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Delaware Botanic Gardens, Delaware Humane Society, Justin’s Beach House, Marine Education Research & Rehabilitation (MERR), Meals on Wheels, Rehoboth Art League and more. Many hold a special place in his own heart.

“One of the fun parts about any kind of volunteering is you meet so many wonderful people in the community,” he said. “I’m looking for the small organizations where a small contribution makes a big difference.”

In the painting, a blue heron perched on a long branch looks east toward the sunrise and a wide mirror image of forest and shoreline, reflected in the creek. Though realistic, the entire canvas is a mosaic of light and color. That’s because it’s done in the pointillism style, with very few brush strokes. Instead, with an estimated 3 million dots, Tuttle captured the brief sparkle of dawn light dancing across the water and dewy air.

Donors can acquire a 3-by-5-foot image (as large and striking as the original) or a slightly smaller version. The high-quality archival giclée prints were done by a local artist, and each canvas wraps around the edges, so further framing is not required.

“This will take over a room — it really will,” Tuttle said. “We’re in the middle of Pepper Creek, looking at the ‘Woodlands’ of Delaware Botanic Gardens,” where Tuttle has volunteered.

“I was on Pepper Creek on my kayak,” Tuttle said. “There’s magic that happens as the sun rises.”

The painting was completed this past winter.

Growing up in mountainous northern New York, Tuttle is a self-taught Lewes-based artist who still tries to learn something new with each project. He’s been featured in various exhibitions, including a solo show at Rehoboth Art League.

“I’ve just always loved to create in some way. In my 20s, I started using that talent to help charities,” Tuttle said. “I have a lot of social issues I like to support. Even though I grew up poor, I feel blessed.”

His portraits of homeless men and women are on permanent loan to the National Coalition for the Homeless. The Domiciles Project was a series of painted doors encouraging students to interact with art. And he’s organized countless Empty Bowl projects, using handmade pottery and meals to support shelters and food banks.

“I knew I wanted to use [“The Steward”] as a fundraiser for local charities, and that was just a good symbol of the people that give every day,” from the garden to the food pantries.

“Those people that make a contribution and acquired of one of the prints, they are stewards,” Tuttle said. “I would like them to take pride in the fact that. … They are stewards of the community every day. I hope it makes them smile to think about their contribution.”

He dedicates several months a year to charitable or educational endeavors.

“I’m a nobody. … I’m simply trying to make a difference in the community in which I live, and there’s lot of people in the community that quietly do that out there.”

Tuttle manages the Steward’s Fund through the Greater Lewes Foundation, which helps direct donations to charitable causes.

To obtain either a 24-by-40-inch print ($1,300) or a 36-by-60-inch print ($2,600), contact Alan B. Tuttle at (302) 752-8667 or urbancountryman@icloud.com.

He plans to continue the project until all the prints are gone.


By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter