Sunday, April 22, 2007

"Unwrapping the Gift"

"A painting is a window into another world and you don't try to match a window with anything." Paul Dorrell

Many times when people observe me painting on location, onlookers invariably say "God gave you a special gift." Yes, God did give me a gift, but he placed it on a mountain top because I have had to climb for a long time to reach it. I've passed through many valleys on the way up. Once you locate that gift, it requires many hours, perhaps years, of hard work to "unwrap the gift." In his book, Living the Artist's Life, Paul Dorrell, the highly successful gallery owner/author, says only five percent of artists can make a living by painting alone. They must rely primarily on their illustration and design ability or commercial art in order to survive. That has certainly been true of the road I have traveled.

But, every now and then you receive a message that makes it worth all the effort; that happened to me a few weeks ago. A comment that I received from Dean Dixon, a highly successful photographer from Nashville, follows: "Tommy, your web site looks great and works well. Your painting of our home in Germantown (Nashville) is one of my favorite things. The fact that you chose it to paint was flattering as we designed the house ourselves and you executed it perfectly. I like our neighborhood because every day here feels like a Sunday afternoon and that is what your painting feels like too. Good Luck in all things. You do beautiful work. Dean Dixon."

An interior designer from Washington, DC, recently selected two of my paintings for a new wing of St. Mary's Medical Center in Knoxville. A few weeks ago I received another message from an interior designer saying that she was planning to highlight my work in her next column in a Nashville magazine.

This month the Chestnut Group is sponsoring an art show, "Seeing Nashville Through Different Eyes," to benefit the Tennessee Art League (TAL). The show will feature urban landscapes and will run from April 24 through April 29 in the Ethel Smith Gallery at the TAL Building, 808 Broadway Avenue, Nashville. One of my paintings is an impressionistic 30" x 40" "Nashville Skyline." My three smaller ones include "Sing with the King," "Sidewalk Cafe," and "Beer Sellar." The show will feature the work of good friend Roger Dale Brown, a national award winner. The opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, April 26 from 4 to 8 p.m.

My artwork will also be displayed at the Artist Market of Wesleyan School, 5405 Spalding Drive, Norcross, GA. The school's fabulous new Fine Arts Building is the setting for this show and sale, sponsored by the Arts Alliance during April 26-28. Shop for Mother's Day, birthdays, even Christmas, and of course for yourself. While you are browsing, enjoy entertainment from the Wesleyan family and the community. The hours are opening night, Thursday, April 26, 7-9 pm; Friday, April 27, 9 am - 9 pm; and Saturday, April 28, 9 am -4 pm. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the fine arts programming at Wesleyan.

Another venue for my art was added this month; Palladio Group Design Centers in Memphis is now exhibiting my work. Owner Mindy Roberts has already scheduled a one-man show of my work for the entire month of November 2007. The Palladio Group Centers are open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 5. Nestled in the heart of Palladio is Cafe de France, a family-owned cafe of immense charm and warmth. As you dine on delicious homemade fare, you will delight in Palladio's unique Old World atmosphere surrounded by beautiful European antiques, fine art, and friendly faces.

My paintings, "Golfing on the Trail" and "Cloverdale Rolling Meadow," have been juried into the "Arts Alive" Gallery Show at the Kennedy Douglass Center for the Arts, 217 E. Tuscaloosa Street, Florence, Alabama. A gala for the artists and selected art patrons on May 19 headlines the show, which can be viewed during May 19-June 19.

During May 3-6, 2007, the Portrait Society of America will conduct the "Art of the Portrait" Conference in Washington, DC. We will be observing master portrait artists such as the renowned artist Everett Raymond Kinstler, painter of Presidential portraits; his protege Michael Shane Neal of Nashville; Scott Burdick of North Carolina; and Jason Bouldin of Oxford, Mississippi. On Sunday afternoon we will be visiting the recently reopened Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Our good friend, Jason Saunders of Leiper's Fork, TN, is featured in the Spring 2007 issue of American Artist Workshop. Jason is teaching landscape painting workshops at Leiper's Fork, TN, twice a year. For more information, check out his web site.

Another good artist friend, Roger Dale Brown of Nashville is teaching several workshops this year. He will conduct one workshop, "Urban and Landscape Focusing on Plein-Air on Location, Composition, and Values, in Richmond, VA, during September 20-23, 2007 (contact Tamara at 804-358-2771). Another workshop will focus on the rural landscape in Newnan, GA, during October 18-21, 2007 (contact For more information about Roger's work, please check out his web site.

P.S. If you are one of the many who have been curious about the inspiration and the reason for the name of my painting, "Hot Lunch," please visit my blog.