‘Retro Jack’ on display in Brock Gallery

Published 9:45 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

There is a new fad which involves adults relaxing while coloring in an adult coloring book.

Adults have found relaxation in doing various forms of art for centuries.

There seems to be a need to create something that we alone are responsible for having completed. This is demonstrated by the art exhibit “The Retro by Jack” being shown in the Brock Gallery in the lobby of the Brock Performing Arts Center in Mocksville.

There are more than 30 works of art by John Weldon “Jack” Pennington being featured through July.

Pennington, born in High Point  in 1929, lived his first years in High Point, Raleigh, Hickory, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Charlotte due to his father’s work with GMAC. His dad, Bill Pennington, purchased the Mocksville Chevrolet dealership in 1938.

The Pennington family moved to Mocksville on July 4, 1938 just before he entered the fourth grade. Even at an early age, Jack enjoyed learning new things and creating items.He would build models of cars and airplanes and spend hours painting them in detail.

In the summer of 1946 he attended Boy’s State sponsored by the Institute of Government at University of North Carolina. He graduated from Mocksville High School in 1947 (a member of the first North Carolina graduating in the new 12-year program).  That summer he returned to UNC only this time it was by invitation.  He not only assisted the program’s leaders, Terry Sanford and Bill Friday, but also roomed with these famous North Carolinians.

On Dec. 26, 1950 Jack married Lettie Lindsay Sheek. They lived their first year of married life in Chapel Hill until he graduated in June 1951. His father died suddenly on July 8, 1951. Jack took over the car dealership until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1952. He spent 15 months stationed in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. There his daughter Martha Pennington Rooney was born. He continued to design and build small and large models giving each intricate details.

Jack and Lettie returned to Mocksville once he was honorably discharged in August 1954. Shortly after returning Betsy Pennington Ramsbotham was born.

Jack became involved in the community, serving as president of Mocksville Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) and president of Mocksville Rotary Club. The family has been long-time members of First United Methodist Church where he is still a member of the Chancel Choir with 72 years of service. He says he needs the choir more than they need him.

He spent his free time teaching himself new things, such as how to develop his own photographs and building furniture for his home.

In or around 1965, Jack started to use that free time to try his hand at painting artwork. At first he used oils but quickly learned he liked working with acrylics due to their faster drying time.

He has completed 101 visual art pieces. He has given some of his art to friends as gifts but the majority of his artwork is shown at his home and the homes of his daughters. He did exhibit his art during the late 60s and early 70s.

Since 1980 he became more interested in antiques and collectibles, but continues to use his talent to restore collectibles. He has a successful eBay store where he sells collectibles around the world.

The community is invited to a reception honoring Pennington and his artwork on June 20,  light refreshments will be served. “The Retro of Jack” will be featured through July; the gallery is open Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m.