Email Some artists put their work on canvases, others use walls. And some, like Matt Springer, use paddles. Springer and five other Montana artists have painted, carved and decorated six paddles for an annual benefit dinner and auction sponsored by the Tamarack Grief Resource Center on Jan. 19 in Whitefish. The dinner and auction will fund scholarships for children who have lost a family member, so that they can attend A Camp to Remember on Flathead Lake. Springer, a grant writer and artist in his spare time, first became involved with Tamarack two years ago as a counselor at the organization’s annual summer camp. Springer said he loves helping the campers heal and recover from their loss. This year the camp is held June 14-17. “The moments you see them healing are pretty magical,” he said, adding that more than anything the camp provides the kids an escape, if only for a few days. But with his full-time job at Flathead Valley Community College, Springer said there was never enough he could do to help the organization. So last year, when the group asked if he would paint a paddle for the annual auction, he jumped at the chance. “The paddle is such a unique medium,” he said. “You can also capture an artist’s own style by just handing them a chunk of wood.” Springer’s paddle features carefully carved trees and branches that were lightly painted, in order to bring out the design. In all, Springer estimates he spent about 15 hours working on the piece. Carol Hagan, an artist from Billings, also contributed a paddle that features vibrant colors that match the water theme the Tamarack center had hoped for. Hagan has been an artist for 26 years and traditionally uses oil-based paints on canvas. Painting on a paddle, however, is a very different experience. “I’m used to painting on a lot bigger surface than that, but it’s a fun challenge,” she said. The paddle is the second Hagan has completed for a Tamarack fundraiser and she’s proud to take part in a cause she believes in. Barbara Myers, a cofounder of the group and a member of the board of directors, said auctioning paddles painted by Montana artists gives their fundraiser a unique element and perfectly fits the camp theme. Besides a handful of paddles, other pieces of local art will be auctioned off this year. Over the last two years, the event has raised more than $20,000 for the camp. “The fundraising helps us say ‘yes’ to every kid who wants to come to camp,” Myers said. According to associate director Jim Parker, more than 75 percent of the children who come to the camp receive some sort of scholarship. The annual A Camp to Remember Benefit Dinner is held on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at Wheeler Jewelry in Kalispell, Red Union Salon in Whitefish or by calling (406) 249-2196. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.