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Local artist Jane Freeman auctioned off her original watercolor painting, "Winter White Peony," with all of the proceeds going to the disaster relief effort in Japan. Submitted print

Japan disaster relief: Local artist auctions painting

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Bemidji artist Jane Freeman has been called a painter of light.

Now, in light of the ongoing crisis in Japan, she has joined a group of artists from around the world in helping to raise money for people in Japan living in the areas affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

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Freeman recently auctioned her original watercolor painting, "Winter White Peony," at a starting bid of $50. The bidding ended Sunday; the painting sold for $1,800 to a person from Bemidji.

Freeman will donate all of the money to New Salem Lutheran church where it will go to those affected by the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami. Other artists' auctions are still active online at artauctionsforjapan.blogspot.com.

"It is really becoming a global effort by artists," Freeman said.

Freeman and her husband have lived in the Bemidji area for 30 years. Her works have been published in Splash 7, Splash 9, Watercolor Magic, International Artist Magazine, The American Artist Magazine and the book "How Did You Paint That?" She is also the author of the book titled "A Celebration of Light."

Freeman said she was surprised how much her painting sold for and hopes the overall art fundraiser for Japan raises at least $100,000.

The "Winter White Peony" painting was also published in the International Artists Magazine.

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Freeman donated the proceeds from her watercolor piece "Great Blue Heron," to helping wildlife in the Gulf.

"Artists raised multiple thousands of dollars for that effort," she said. "It all went for washing birds in the Gulf."

Most recently, Freeman started an artist fundraising effort to help fund loon rescues.

Freeman, an avid nature lover, said donating proceeds from her artwork is one way she is able to give back.

"As an artist, I really have to stay in house and do my work," she said. "I cannot be around locally and do things. But I can use my art effectively for disaster-in-aid. If you have the desire, use can use your art to make a difference."

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