The artistic work of retired North Vernon Police officer Thomas Speer will be on display at A Perfect Day Cafe throughout August. He specializes in landscapes, stills and abstract paintings in acrylic and water colors.

“I have been trying to get him in here for years,” said Judith Ross, the cafe owner. “He finally surrendered and agreed to bring his work in to show.”

Born and raised in Jennings County, Speer became a member of the police department in 1974, after he returned home from serving in the U.S. Air Force. Speer began painting seriously after he retired from the police department in 1994.

“Since I was 10 years old I have always been interested in art, but I didn’t paint much during the time I was a policeman. But, I probably should have because I find it very relaxing,” Speer said. “My kids got together and gave me a set of paints as a retirement gift and I felt kind of obligated to do something with it, so I got busy painting.”

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His passion for art grew quickly and soon wife Jolene noticed spots of paint on the walls, floors and drapes of their home and suggested he might like to convert the garage into a studio.

“That’s where I paint now, in the garage. It’s great. I can go there and get away from all the stress and just relax. I paint what I like my way. If someone else likes it, too, that is great, but I paint for myself,” said Speer.

Many people do seem to like what Speer has painted and he has sold much of his work.

“I have sold quite a few. Some of my work is as far away as Chicago. That is fun to think about sometimes, to know that my work is out there. But that is not why I do it; I just enjoy painting,” Speer said.

In addition to his art work, Speer works as an investigator for the Jennings County prosecutor’s office. He also spends time with his family, including seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

If you go

What: Artwork by Thomas Speer.

Where: On display at A Perfect Day Cafe, 221 E. Walnut St. in North Vernon.

When: During normal business hours, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Notable: No purchase is required; just drop by the cafe and take a look at the paintings.

For more information: 812-346-1100.