Oils, watercolors, simple ink pen drawings, all meticulously rendered with loving care. Some were crafted for his wife, his kids, as wedding presents, as commissioned pieces or even for the pure enjoyment of creating beauty.
Since Monday, however, 35 to 40 of 80-year-old Henry Mercer's works of art have gone from personal treasures to public displays during his one-man show "Desert Memories" at the Old Post Office Pavilion in El Centro, which will run through the end of the month.
As one of a group of Valley residents credited with helping establish the Imperial County Arts Council some 25 years ago, Mercer's exhibit was booked months ago in connection with the Arts Council's silver anniversary.
Former Arts Council interim Executive Director Nan Rebik asked Mercer if he'd be interested in putting together a retrospective.
Mercer, a former El Centro resident living in Visalia, asked a reporter, "How long do you think it took me to say yes?"