Artists in Residence: Ervin Jones and Jim Tardy

The Huntington West Virginia region is great for creative-minded people. From the Huntington Museum of Art to the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center, the area is rich with culture. Downtown Huntington is peppered with quaint galleries and charming stores containing makers’ wares. Much of the art found around Huntington is influenced by the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. It’s no surprise that Woodlands, a premier retirement community in the tri-state area, is home to some artists and artisans. The sprawling campus of Woodlands allows residents to take in all four seasons with spectacular views. We sat down with two of Woodland’s most creative residents, Ervin Jones and Jim Tardy, to talk about how their lives at Woodlands provide them with daily inspiration.

Artist-in-Residence: Ervin Jones

Ervin Jones has been a woodworker for years, crafting cabinetry and pieces of furniture for friends and family. Before moving to Woodlands, he had his own workshop. Nowadays Ervin can be found in a workspace at Heritage Museum crafting beautiful pieces on its wood turning lathe.

Ervin has been a Huntington area resident for most of his adult life. The beauty of the West Virginia landscape is important to both him and his wife. It’s one of the reasons the Jones’ chose the apartment they reside in. “We didn’t want to stare out our window at a parking lot. We wanted to be able to see the scenery. We have a little balcony apartment so we can sit outside. We keep bird feeders out there so we can watch the birds.” The two love to spend time outdoors walking in the Appalachian recreation parks in the area. Like many people at Woodlands, they have their car for when they like to go into town for the shops or an ice cream cone.

Living at Woodlands allows Ervin more freedom in his daily schedule to pursue woodworking. He heads over to the workspace at Heritage Museum Village after breakfast and works on one of his finely crafted bowls or Christmas ornaments for a few hours. On afternoons when he isn’t busy with one of the activities on campus at Woodlands, he might return and work a few more hours.

Though his wife is not a creative type, she helps on the safety committee. Through that and other activities, they’ve made many wonderful friends at Woodlands. They both agreed they wouldn’t have half the friends they do if they hadn’t moved to Woodlands. The maintenance-free living allows them to spend more time socializing at meals and create lasting connections.

“Not cutting grass.” Ervin chuckled as he described his favorite aspect of life at Woodlands. “I would recommend coming here to anyone.”

Artist-in-Residence: Jim Tardy

Jim Tardy is a born and raised West Virginian. For Jim, his oil painting has been a significant part of his life. Jim’s artistic journey began at the age of 7 years old when he first realized he could draw. “It was a gift from God,” he remarked. 

 He kept at it, and it became a guiding ambition in his life. “Long story, really, I majored in art in high school and got into some art shows from there. Then I went into the Navy and I was an aviation painter.  I painted the aircrafts. When I got out of the Navy, I began to give my art some serious attention.”

“With the gift that was given me, I was involved in the evangelistic ministry as a bible chalk artist for 52 years. I am not a preacher, just a layman. I was fortunate to get to do illustrations in churches to high schools, street corners, and maximum security prisons.”

Jim has exhibited work in galleries as well as local and national art shows. In fact, Jim met one of his friends at Woodlands when they both entered the art show hosted by Woodlands.  The community is so fond of Jim’s work that he has been asked to hang some of his work in a hallway designated The James G Tardy Gallery.

Jim gathers inspiration from the landscape as well. He likes to take some time to himself and visit Ritter Park for a walk, which is minutes down the hill from Woodlands. “What I like about this time in my life is that I get to spend my time the way I want to spend it,” Jim explained.

He’s made good friends and neighbors at Woodlands, a place he would recommend to anyone, and through those relationships has found new ways to use his talents. “Oh yeah, I’m happy here. I have a fine place to work, I have my easel set up by my window. I have good light and some artificial light. I’ve got a good place to work and nobody bothers me.”

The first step toward enjoying all the arts and culture Woodlands has to offer is to come visit us in person. Simply click here or call 304-697-1620 to coordinate your visit. We can’t wait to meet you!

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