“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
Much of my life is about the visual and images and the seen, but it is also about faith and belief and the unseen. That the vast majority of my work should be about people would be no surprise to anyone who is familiar with my work. I am fascinated by people and the incredible variety of emotions and form that humans use to express who they are. In this website there are formal portraits, informal sketches of a portrait-like nature, people in motion, people looking deep within, people caught in the midst of scriptural narrative, and maybe even a wry smile or two for those who have eyes to see. There are also images associated with faith and Christianity. It is often difficult to bring something new to the visual images of faith that have come through our Western culture, but I have through the years attempted to do this with some success and some failure. My hope is that I break through some of our preconceived ideas and see familiar narratives in a new light.
I do like the use of shadow and light (chiaroscuro) to express my work. It is partly my love of artists like Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Velasquez, and Tintoretto, and partly something both dark and light in the subconscious struggling to get out. I will leave that mystery for the psychologists and historians to trudge through at some later date....
One way to describe my life as I knew it growing up in Sylacauga, Alabama would be to say that I was raised in a "Norman Rockwell Painting". Looking back at those idyllic times in the 50's through early 70's living in a neighborhood of fascinating characters with my parents, three brothers, and sister, it seems that i enjoyed a great time of discovery and freedom and fun that has molded me in many ways into the person I am today. As a working artist, I find my work influenced from the past by the stained glass windows that graced First Baptist Church of Sylacauga. These things had a profound impact on me and my work. We had no formal art classes in school other than the occasional time in elementary school to do something like color or draw, but I spent a lot of my free time sketching and drawing. Early on I drew cowboys and horses and eagles. Later I drew baseball, football, and basektball players, refecting the things I loved most.
Following graduation from Sylacauga High School I attended the University of Montevallo (Montevallo, Alabama) where I began as an art major, but changed majors to physical education because at the time I thought I wanted to be a coach. I told myself that I would continue to draw and would someday pick up a paint brush again. I did in fact continue all through college to paint and draw as I had occasion, including a mural on my bedroom wall at the Baptist Student Center where I lived and served. The fact that the mural stayed there for 20 years and was still intact when they tore down the building says nothing of the quality of the work, but maybe a lot for the spirit of the painting, my first effor to paint the image of Jesus.
Dujring this time, I was called ro serve in full-time ministry with students, first as a youth director and later as a minister of recreation and youth. I spent four years doing this and continuing to develop as a painter in part thanks to the painting classes offered by the recreation ministry that I oversaw. After leaving the local church I returned to school at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and earned a Masters of Divinity in Christian Education degree. In 1986 I accepted the position of Minister to Students at First Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia, where I have lived ever since.
The years in Rome have been the most important in developing my skills as a painter and sculptor. I have received numerous portrait commissions, but count as most important four particular commissions from churches. The first was at First Baptist Rome where I painted two large murals for the worship center foyer of "The Last Supper" and "The Woman Washing Jesus' Feet". The second and most challenging commission was in Duluth, Georgia where I painted the ceiling murals and wall murals at the new Georgia Baptist Mission and Ministry Center from 2005 to 2010. You can see this work featured in a special section of this website. The third commission was a series of eight paintings for First Baptist Dalton, Georgia. The fourth commission was a series of five paintings for First Baptist of Tallahassee, Florida.
I was named "Artist of the Year" by the Rome Area Council for the Arts in 2006. I served on the board of the Rome Area Counci for the Arts for twelve years, serving as President and Executive Council member. I have occasionally shown my work in places around the Southeast. Among the recent shows have been at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, Shorter University in Rome, and Berry College at Mt. Berry, Georgia. During this time I have continued to serve in a student ministry capacity on a part-time basis as Baptist Campus Minister at two colleges in Rome; Berry College and Georgia Highlands College. I also spend a couple of days a week teaching oil painting classes to adults in Rome.
I work out of my studio in my home in downtown Rome. One room is set up strictly for painting while another is used for drawing. My driveway serves as my studio for sculpting in marble. In my spare time I keep track of everything baseball, especially the Atlanta Braves. I am also a rabid Alabama Crimson Tide fan. Besides the various churches that have my work in their facilities, I have work at the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Isabella Anderson Comer Museum in Sylacauga, Alabama, Shorter University in Rome, BB Comer Memorial Library in Sylacauga, and Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.