Abundantly Talented

Ashville Woman Creates Art

Ashville artist Wendy Lee Samuelson paints at First Friday’s Art Walk in Corry, Pa. Submitted photo

Although Wendy Lee Samuelson has spent most of her career working in the field of nursing, she has always been interested in art. She took art courses in high school, but after graduation, enrolled in Jamestown Community College’s nursing program. Her nursing career began at two local nursing homes that are no longer in business, the first being Manor Oak Skilled Nursing Facility, where she worked a mere three months and then she was employed by the former Presbyterian Home for six years.

She left nursing for a while to work as a receptionist at Jamestown Veterinary Hospital and then spent the next 21 years working at Heritage Ministries. After working with Hospice of Cattaraugus County for a year, she went to her current job where she trains PCAs at Willcare.

She performs all of her hobbies with perfection. She began painting with acrylics after seeing Priscilla Houser and purchasing the artist’s book. She got great satisfaction after painting a rooster on a bench and donating it to a daycare’s benefit auction. That was when she realized she really did enjoy painting and wanted to do more.

After meeting Barnie Kazarro at an art show and inquiring about taking his painting lessons, she was told she would have to change her medium to oils. She attended two-hour classes every Saturday for three years at his North Light Studio in Dunkirk. She studies technique in the pictures of every artbook she can get into her hands and has most recently been watching Gary and Kath Wren Jenkins DVDs about backgrounds.

The painter has completed a stunning portrait of a leopard photographed while spending a day at the Erie Zoo. The artwork took about three months to complete.

An oil painting of a leopard from a photo Wendy Lee Samuelson snapped at a zoo. Submitted photo

“I consider myself more of a painter than an artist.” She chose the label because she paints from photos rather than from observations or live subjects.

She admits she has been known to put her work in her warm car to speed up the drying process. About a month after completion, the finished product is sprayed with a protective coating.

Samuelson accepts commissions for turning treasured non-professional photos into heirloom oil paintings and after she retires, would like to teach painting while continuing to do commissioned work.

“My goal is to make my paintings as realistic as possible,” she says. “Joseph Q. Daily is probably my favorite artist.”

Painting is most assuredly one of her passions, but so is sewing and she is just as accomplished in it as she is with her artwork. As is the case with many women, the registered nurse learned to sew while she attended high school because of a need to alter her clothing. She fondly recalls a hooded, red plaid, midi-length winter coat her parents bought for her when she was in the eighth grade. Because of her sewing skills, she was able to use the coat throughout college and into her first nursing job.

A painting of a parakeet in progress. Submitted photo

“I loved that coat,” she says as she tells how she replaced the worn silky lining with a heavier material. “The new lining was very warm, but it didn’t slide like the old lining.”

She has been known to purchase a fifty-dollar sweater that was reduced to $6.00 due to it having a hole. She was willing to sacrifice $6 in order to have a $50 sweater and successfully wove the knit back together.

“I enjoy the challenge. It’s fun!”

After seeing blazers made from recycled articles of clothing at a boutique, she decided to make her own and has been very successful with the endeavor. Her beautiful jackets are made in various lengths and are unique. The color-coordinated wool and knit materials are interfaced with fusible interfacing and the blazers are lined. All edges are neatly finished. She is not opposed to mixing the old with new and therefore uses new embellishments or accessories. She may even use a worn-out favorite blazer as a pattern. No two blazers are alike.

“I might pull off a pocket or make my own pocket.”

The crafter, also, enjoys crocheting but has not found time in recent years to do it. In the past she has made delicate doilies and collars as well as afghans.

“I don’t remember when or how I learned to crochet,” she admits. “I really like to do filet crocheting.”

She is the mother of a daughter, who lives in Pennsylvania. She shares her Ashville home with four felines, Selma and her sister, Gertrude, Mr. Hobbs who was named after her favorite movie and her three and a half legged feral cat, Sparkle.

Although cooking can not be listed as one of her passions, she has kept with the tradition of this page of sharing recipes.

She enjoys the Ham and Cheese Wraps after a long day at work because they are quick and easy to prepare and are nutritious. The Crockpot Spaghetti and Lasagna recipes came from her mother who got them from a friend. She created the Vegetable Lasagna recipe because all of the lasagna recipes she found contained garlic, something she does not like. Over the years she has increased the amount of cheese used in the original lasagna recipe, but the amount can be adjusted to one’s taste.

After enjoying an acorn squash dish in an Olean restaurant, she created a similar recipe for Acorn Squash with Pork Sausage.

Wendy Lee may be reached by calling 720-2664.

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

12 oz tomato paste

28 oz tomato sauce

3 T sugar

1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated

3 T parsley

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

28 oz water

1 to 1 1/2 lb ground meat of choice, cooked

Mix first 10 ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low setting 8 to 10 hours. Mix in cooked ground meat and serve over cooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta.

Acorn Squash with Pork Sausage (serves 2)

1 acorn squash, halved

4 T melted butter

1/4 c packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 lb bulk pork sausage

Cook acorn squash, cut side down, in approximately 1-inch of water in a microwave-safe dish for approximately 20 minutes or until soft. Set aside and allow to cool until it can be safely handled. Once cooked, hollow out the center removing the seeds. Discard seeds. Continue hollowing out the squash shells being careful not to puncture the shells as squash and sausage will be placed back into the shells. Placed removed squash in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat squash with melted butter and brown sugar. Set aside. Brown sausage and pour off excess grease. Set aside. Place empty squash shells, each on a separate oven or microwave-safe serving plate, open side up. Fill each half shell with squash leaving a hollow space in the center of the squash, and fill this space with the cooked sausage. Reheat in microwave or oven if necessary.

Ham and Cheese Wrap

1 10-inch flour tortilla, white or wheat

1/4 to 1/2 c cubed ham

3 T shredded cheese

1/2 c lettuce

2 to 3 tsp coleslaw dressing

Place tortilla on dinner plate. Put ham down center of tortilla. Top with shredded cheese. Microwave 1 to 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts. Cover cheese and ham with lettuce. Top with coleslaw dressing. Roll up and serve.


Prepare 1 pot of Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

4 lb part skim low-moisture Mozzarella cheese or adjusted to one’s preference

32 oz Ricotta cheese

1 beaten egg

8 oz Parmesan cheese

12 cooked, drained and cooled lasagna noodles

Combine ricotta cheese and egg. Set aside. Spread 1/3 spaghetti sauce on bottom of 13-inch by 9-inch lasagna pan. Cover with 6 lasagna noodles followed by half ricotta mixture. Sprinkle half mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat. Top with the remaining 1/3 spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Vegetable Lasagna


4 T butter

4 T flour

4 c milk

1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained

5 oz carrot matchsticks or grated carrots

In a large pan, melt butter. Stir in flour. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Cook until slightly thickened. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Fold in spinach and carrots. Cook until bubbling. Set aside.

32 oz Ricotta cheese

8 oz Parmesan cheese

1 beaten egg

4 lb part skim, low moisture Mozzarella cheese or adjusted to one’s preference

12 lasagna noodles cooked, drained and cooled

Combine Ricotta and egg. Set aside. In a lasagna pan, spread 1/3 sauce. Arrange 6 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Top with half Ricotta mixture and half Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering and end with final 1/3 sauce and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.

Broiled Turkey and Bacon Sandwich

6-inch sub roll, cut in half lengthwise

2 T butter

4 thin slices turkey breast

4 sliced bread and butter pickles

2 tsp pickle juice

4 slices Provolone cheese

4 slices cooked bacon

Butter each half of roll and then toast under broiler. Pour pickle juice on each half.

Place 2 thin slices of turkey and 2 thin slices cheese on each half. Broil again until cheese melts. Top each half with slices of bacon and pickles. Can be eaten as an open face sandwich or closed as a sub.


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