Local Artist Bios

  • All
  • Author
  • Calligraphy
  • Custom Cards
  • Fiber Art and Floral
  • Gourd Art
  • Painting and Drawing
  • Photography
  • Plein Air
  • Pottery and Sculpture
  • Stained Glass
  • Wood Art
  • Kim Foster
    Kim Foster
    Painting
  • David Boyd
    David Boyd
    Plein Air Artist
  • Marsha Savage
    Marsha Savage
    Plein Air Artist
  • Brenda Sumpter
    Brenda Sumpter
    Plein Air Artist
  • Steven Stinchcomb
    Steven Stinchcomb
    Plein Air Artist
  • Thea McElvy
    Thea McElvy
    Painting and Portraits
  • Marilyn Austin
    Marilyn Austin
    Pottery and Sculpture
  • Elizabeth Brooks
    Elizabeth Brooks
    Photography
  • JoAnn Camp
    JoAnn Camp
    Fiber Art
  • Robin Chandler
    Robin Chandler
    Gourd Art
  • Sue Christman
    Sue Christman
    Painting
  • Steve Close
    Steve Close
    Painting
  • Tim Davidson
    Tim Davidson
    Custom Drawings
  • Lugenia Dixon
    Lugenia Dixon
    Painting
  • Dr. Kenneth M. Dobbs
    Dr. Kenneth M. Dobbs
    Author
  • Lelia Cheney Freeman
    Lelia Cheney Freeman
    Author
  • Corinne Galla
    Corinne Galla
    Painting
  • Allen Gee
    Allen Gee
    Pottery
  • Linda L. Giles
    Linda L. Giles
    Stained Glass
  • Wendy Gould
    Wendy Gould
    Calligraphy
  • Annie Louise Hobson
    Annie Louise Hobson
    Painting
  • Edward Hobson
    Edward Hobson
    Painting
  • Susan Kreger
    Susan Kreger
    Stained Glass
  • Marty Mitchell
    Marty Mitchell
    Fiber Art
  • Keith Moore
    Keith Moore
    Wood Art
  • Keith Parmer
    Keith Parmer
    Fiber Art
  • Nellie Ralat
    Nellie Ralat
    Pottery and Sculpture
  • Arthur Jack Riggs
    Arthur Jack Riggs
    Wood Art
  • Lynda Rockel
    Lynda Rockel
    Painting
  • Miriam Rowell
    Miriam Rowell
    Painting
  • Sylvia G. Rozell
    Sylvia G. Rozell
    Painting
  • Jim Sibley
    Jim Sibley
    Wood Art
  • Christy Stephens
    Christy Stephens
    Photography
  • Dee Stephens
    Dee Stephens
    Painting
  • Bobby Vaillancourt
    Bobby Vaillancourt
    Pottery
  • Annette Wade
    Annette Wade
    Painting
  • Catherine Williamson
    Catherine Williamson
    Painting
  • Kathi Askew Wilson
    Kathi Askew Wilson
    Painting
Kim Foster
Painting
    Kim Foster, who has been a professional photographer for over 16 years, resides in Manchester, Georgia with her husband Brad, and children, Grace and Raines.  Kim Attended Georgia Southern University with an Interior Design Major.  She later attended Columbus State University where her photography instructor encourage her to pursue a career in photography.  She opened Kim Foster Photography on Main Street in Manchester and quickly discovered her niche in portraiture.  Her specialty is children and family portraits and, more recently, wedding photography.
    More recently, Kim has enjoyed learning to paint oil portraits at The Village Art Studio in Manchester with many accomplished artists.  Their encouragement and support led to her submission of “Don’t Go” to the Georgia National Fair amateur division in 2013, winning first place and Best of Show.  She has also won Merit awards, Ga Artists Awards from her peers and just this past year won the $1000 purchase award from The GA National Fair.  She has been doing commission work for her photography clients for 5 years.  She specializes in oil portraits and pet portraits and also enjoys plein air painting.
    You can enjoy more of Kim’s work at www.thestudiobykimfoster.com
    David Boyd
    Plein Air Artist

    I grew up in a small town outside of Atlanta, at a time when the suburbs of Atlanta were still “out in the country.” I was fortunate to spend many weekends with my grandparents in rural Georgia, where the woods and old rusty cars and tractors were my playground. Today, when I see the rusting memorabilia of the rural south, I feel a deep sense of nostalgia.

    This imagery is inspiration for my creative expression, although it actually originates from a time in which I never actually lived: A time when working the land was part of our daily survival, and the automobile was both a new modern convenience and an exciting new art form. Remnants of this life are rapidly becoming extinct, as it is only a matter of time before those rusty cars are completely disintegrated back into the earth. As a nod to my childhood memories as well as the passing of time, I want to preserve Southern American life in its current state of decay… “landscapes of rust.”

    I use my plein air work as a way to “capture a feeling.” I use my camera to record a moment. Back in my studio I like to combine these into large scale paintings of those things I wish I could keep forever… old signs, decaying building, old cars, trucks and tractors, and beautiful rural landscapes. My paintings are my memories, and accordingly, some of my paintings take the angle of a child’s viewpoint; lower to the ground.

    Marsha Savage
    Plein Air Artist

    Artist Statement:

    My philosophy and favorite saying is “It’s the journey, not the destination!” As the artist, capturing the emotion of a place, recognition, or a feeling that one can identify with, is important to me. To make you see what I have seen is part of my objective; but to have you feel something when looking at the painting is my intention … l call it “viewer participation in the painting.” So, the journey of the mind is as important as the journey of the feet!

    Flowing creeks, tall trees, sunlit rocks, rolling hills, and the summer scent of fresh bailed hay have been my inspiration for my journey. Travel to various places has fueled the inspiration. My love for plein air work is about the journey of learning to observe correctly, which teaches me color, atmosphere and light. Then my studio work is not limited by a photographic image.

    Brenda Sumpter
    Plein Air Artist

      Brenda Losey Sumpter’s career and studies have been inspired from her birthplace and childhood memories from the big sky country and rolling hills of Nebraska!  She began her career as an illustrator (Hussian School of Art) in Philadelphia. She worked several years for a studio on national accounts and moved to Atlanta, where she has lived and worked most of her life.

      Bren has always loved to paint,  but began plein air painting in 2011 and hasn’t looked back. She’s taken many workshops and has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows. Her paintings are held in both corporate and private collections. Doing commissions is a specialty she really enjoys!

      Steven Stinchcomb
      Plein Air Artist

        Steven has traveled the world, but says that his greatest inspiration ‘comes from this pot, under this tree, on this land.’ It is a chosen spot in the middle of his acreage which has been transformed into a beautiful garden. It is in this garden he maintains his closeness to nature. His artwork confirms that he is a child of the earth, but also manifests a spirituality that we usually seek in the air, in the firmament. Steven embodies the line of the poet: ‘…while some men pray with the work of their hands.

        Thea McElvy
        Painting and Portraits

          I’ve been creative all my life, and in 2014 I went to a gallery in Savannah. I’d been there a hundred times before, but for some reason this time it just struck me that all the art there was so bright and beautiful. It was not the stuff that I normally did, and I thought, “If this is what I’m attracted to, why am I not doing this?” And so, I got home right after that, and I started doing these wild crazy colored paintings, and have just had a ball since then. The first one I did, I sat at my easel and cried. I just thought, “This just feels like art.”

          I started doing a lot of movie stars just because they are forgiving. It’s not family members. If I mess it up they’re not going to come back and tell me how ugly it is, so it is pretty forgiving to just paint somebody random. I stared out doing a lot of movie stars, but I’m really trying to move into my own thing now, so that’s it really. People mostly. I’m wanting to do a few new things. I’m wanting to try some animals and some fruits – still life sort of stuff – but we’ll see. I’ve had people give me things that they want me to paint, and I’m like, “Ugh, I’m just not feeling it.” And I used to paint those things, but if I did feel it and they wanted it, I’d paint it anyway, and I’ve just gotten to where I’m too old for that. I’m going to paint what really makes my heart soar, and I’ve just learned to follow my instinct a lot more than ever, and in doing that, my art has gone so much further.

          Marilyn Austin
          Pottery and Sculpture

            Born in Australia and raised in California, Marilyn moved to Georgia in 1973 and taught art in Meriwether County schools for 30 years. During these years, she hosted numerous student trips to the great museums in Europe.

            Marilyn earned a BA in Art from San Diego State University in 1972, an MBA in Art Education from Columbus State University in 1980, and spent the summer of 1985 studying in Africa on a Fulbright Scholarship.

            Since retiring in 2004, Marilyn continues to study and share the joy of art with others. She particularly enjoys experimenting with whimsical and unique mixed media pieces. Her love of the artistic extends to her avid gardening and her menagerie of various breeds of colorful chickens.

            Marilyn has received “Best of Show” and her work has been represented at the Harris Arts Center and other local galleries.

            Elizabeth Brooks
            Photography

              Woodbury, GA

              Having just graduated at the “young” age of 53 from the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton with a degree in Visual Communication, I came back to my roots here in Meriwether County. I love my Lord with all of my heart, feeling the earth with my bare feet, exploring the mountains, the ocean and seeing this beautiful world we live in through artistic eyes and the lens of my camera. My photographs have been featured in several magazines and on billboards in Little Rock, Arkansas.

              I do lots of portrait photography & love my clients reactions when they first view their portraits through
              my eyes.
              Blessing to you!
              www.photographybyelizabeth.zenfolio.com

              JoAnn Camp
              Fiber Art

                About the Artist

                My path to becoming a fiber artist began with my love of sewing and creating traditional quilts for the bed. After several years perfecting quarter-inch seams and matching points, I discovered art quilts. I found that I could make art with fabric and thread and it was perfectly acceptable to color outside the lines.

                Most of my work is based on photographs—my own, or those of family members. I edit and enlarge the photo and use it as a guide for a line drawing, which then becomes my pattern. Finding just the right fabric in the perfect color is much like a painter mixing paints. Threadwork adds shading and detail and sometimes a bit of fabric paint or ink is utilized. Then the work is layered with a piece of batting and a backing fabric and the quilting takes place. That step is what gives it dimension and draws the viewer in for a closer look.

                Someone usually asks how long it takes to complete an art quilt. I am 68 years old, so I have to say it’s taken 68 years because all my life experiences have contributed to each piece. To more precisely answer their question, though, I will say that each one is different and it depends on the size and complexity of the work. I can spend weeks, and sometimes months completing a piece. It is always a labor of love because I enjoy each step in the process.

                I have received numerous awards for my traditional quilts and have also found success and recognition on a local, regional, national, and international level for my art quilts in art shows as well as quilt shows.

                My work has been displayed in museums around the country, from Grants Pass, Oregon to Paducah, Kentucky, to Melbourne, Florida, to LaGrange and Carrollton, Georgia. It has been featured in several magazines and other publications.

                I am an Artist Member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates), a member of the Columbus Artists’ Guild, and the American Quilt Society, as well as a past Artist in Residence at the Georgia National Fair and a supporter of the Artists for Art awards at the fair.

                Robin Chandler
                Gourd Art

                  Thomaston, GA

                  Robin grew up in Thomaston, GA, attended R.E. Lee Institute and then Gordon Military Academy in Barnesville. He received his AB degree from UGA in Graphic Design with emphasis on snack food package design. For several years Robin lived and worked in Atlanta where he taught, was art director at Conger Printing, and was Senior Designer at Printpack Inc., a flexible packaging company. Here he created package designs for over 200 companies, including Tom’s Foods, Brock Candy, Frito Lay, and Eckridge Farms.

                  After retirement from Printpack, Robin started Semi-Storage, a container rental business based in Thomaston, and built a self-storage complex in Barnesville. Since he no longer works in package design, he has found he has more time and opportunity to explore and experiment with some of the other areas of art which have always interested him, including drawing, painting, sculpture and photography. Several years ago, when his wife, Tracy, began growing gourds to decorate, Robin saw the many possibilities of gourd “sculpture”. Since then he has created birds, fish, and other creatures, using gourds as his medium. Some are fairly representational, while others are humorous and/or whimsical. He prefers to work with natural and found materials, so the possibilities are endless on a farm with woods, creeks and fields—and a good supply of gourds.

                  Sue Christman
                  Painting

                    Sue Christman grew up in Missour and knew at an early age that art and nature would always play an important part of her life.

                    Her parent’s creativity and innovative thinking nutured her artistic spirit. Her father was an accomplished photographer while her mother was a talented seamstress who also loved gardening and nature. She remembers her mother teaching her the names of plants and trees in their large yard.

                    With five children in the family, art supplies were a scarce commodity. She recalls her father showing her how to use drywall scraps to draw pictures on the sidewalk. Later, attending college near the Ozark Mountains deepened her love for the natural world.

                    In addition to studying the great masters of the past, Sue was also drawn to the works of Edward Redfield, Joaquin Sorolla, Sargent and Franz Kline and Richard Diebenkorn. Currently she follows the work of Len Chmiel, Larry Moore, Kathleen Dunphy and Alexander Kremer.

                    Sue strives continually to challenge herself in the creative process and has taken workshops with artists Ken Backhaus, Larry Moore, Joe Paquet and Ray Roberts. She participates in plein air painting events whenever possible and believes an artist should never stop experimenting and learning how best to communicate through her art.

                    Sue Christman lives and works in rural Georgia. Living in the environment she loves to paint gives her the best opportunity to study nature in all its seasons. Her work may be found in galleries and on her website. www.suechristman.com

                    Steve Close
                    Painting
                      Tim Davidson
                      Custom Drawings

                        Box Springs, GA

                        Forrest Gump coined a phrase, “you must put the past behind you before you can move on”, and to a degree, that is very true, but it’s what we learn from our past that helps us in the future. I tell people that I am self taught, but that is not entirely true. I started my art career in 6th grade. My teacher, Mr. Scaloro, was a talented photographer who inspired his students to go past everyday thinking with regards to art – find an ordinary object, candy wrapper, cereal box and duplicate it on a larger scale, using rulers and math. Later in high school architectural drafting class, I learned more about scale drawing.

                        After high school, I joined the U.S.A.F in 1979, and was stationed at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota and Travis AFB in Vacaville, California where Western culture became part of my blood. I decided to start drawing again in 1989 when I encountered my first art teacher, Rich Albreacht, at his frame shop. His drawings depicted the American cowboy and Western culture. He advised me to study other artists’ works to develop my own style. His biggest influence was Robert “Shoofy” Shufelt.

                        Shoofly’s drawings are large and as close to photographic as possible, which is now considered to be hyper-realism, but I didn’t know that and couldn’t figure out how he got his scale so perfect. It wasn’t until I left the U.S.A.F. and moved back to Box Springs, GA in 1990 that I ran into another teacher, Joe Belt. Joe was already a highly successful artist, having created the basic theme for RealTree clothing and published a book of his most popular artwork.

                        He knew Robert Shufelt and taught me about projective imagery, where you use a projector to enlarge a photograph and maintain perfect proportionality. Joe also taught me about pencil selection, and paper choice, so, to let the cat out of the bag, I use a 2b, HB, 6b mechanical pencil and 2 to 4 ply Bristol velum paper. I still live in Box Springs, GA where I continue to study, using mentors, the internet and local colleges. My current mentor is Paul Cadden, who incorporates drawing and airbrushing to create hyper-realism.

                        I will skip the airbrushing, and just stay with my pencils. So, there you have it, my bio, it’s what you learn from the past that can help you prepare for the future…self taught. It is all how you see it.

                        Lugenia Dixon
                        Painting

                          Lugenia Dixon is a Georgia born and mostly self-taught visual artist who works in several different media including watercolor, acrylic, oils, pastels and pencil.
                          She is currently living in Phenix City, AL but was born in Muscogee County, GA where she grew up in Upatoi. She is the oldest daughter of Sam and Ola B. Dixon and has three children, Dexteralan Keith, Craig Jeffrey and Olivia Dara.

                          Lugenia has participated in art most of her adult life but her educational background is not in art. Most of her college education is from the University of Georgia where she earned a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Early Childhood Education and a PhD in Educational Psychology. While at UGA, Lugenia took art courses such as Teaching Art in Elementary Schools, Art Structure and Figure Drawing.

                          She has a Certificate in Drawing from Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Lugenia’s work was included in AIS’s 1996 and 1997 Annual Art Competitions and in 1995 she received the Blue Ribbon Art Award.

                          She also studied watercolor with Joe McFadden at Florida Arts Gallery in Havana, FL, oil painting with Dargan Long in Bainbridge, GA and acrylic painting with June Stewart in Phenix City, AL.

                          Lugenia’s work has been shown at Gadsden Arts Center in Quincy, FL, the Decatur County Artists’ Guild Annual Artsfest Exhibit, the Decatur County Artists’ Guild Southwest Georgia Regional Library Fall Art Exhibition, the Bainbridge-Decatur County Council for the Arts Annual Art Gallery Show, Southwest Georgia Regional Artists Cooperative, Phenix City Art Center, Columbus Artists’ Guild Show, Front Porch Gallery, Keller Williams Realty, Joseph House Gallery and other locations.

                          Some of her work may be seen at www.fineartamerica.com. Lugenia can be reached at lugdixon@att.net

                          Dr. Kenneth M. Dobbs
                          Author

                          Minister and Author from Greenville, GA

                          Kenneth M. Dobbs graduated from Mercer University and attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds an earned Doctor of Ministry degree in Executive Leadership for Non-Profit Organizations from the Hyde Park School of Theology at the University of Chicago.

                          He served as President/Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries for 15 years, after serving 10 years as Vice President for Development.

                          Dr. Dobbs is Pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Raleigh community. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families.

                          He is also Chairman of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Development Board. Dr. Dobbs writes “On The Brighter Side”, a weekly devotional column for the Manchester Star-Mercury and Meriwether Vindicator. Dr. Dobbs is Head of School at Flint River Academy in Woodbury, GA. He also serves on the Flint River Academy Foundation Board.

                          He has been married for 50 years to Linda Wyatt Dobbs. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

                          Lelia Cheney Freeman
                          Author

                          Greenville, GA

                          Author Lelia Cheney Freeman laughingly says, “Like Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee, I`m a southern-woman-author, with only one book to my credit!”

                          BEN`S STORIES is a tonic for any day. Just pick it up and open it to any page and find a handful of laughs! Lelia is actually listed as “compiler” of the 275 stories from her husband Ben Freeman, a champion storyteller (1917-2000).

                          The 275 stories are true, nostalgic and humorous – small town stories, army stories and stories gathered while practicing law for 50 years in the small town of Greenville, Georgia. Ben told stores on his relatives as well as his friends, all real “characters” doing the unexpected.

                          Ben was famous for his story telling among his acquaintances far and near, who often urged him to publish the stories. His family urged him to record them, as it seemed they simply HAD to be oral; but he steadfastly refused.

                          Finally after his retirement at the age of 79, he brought home an old dog-eared yellow legal pad and showed it to Lelia and their daughter Nan. It was full of his wonderful stories! They were just as good written as told!

                          He explained that when something would remind him of one of these incidents, he would reach across his office desk, write a clue to it on a yellow legal pad and give it a number. Later when he had time he would write the story. Of course, the index list was longer than the list of completed stories. Lelia thought she could complete the stories in Ben’s words, since she had listened to and urged the telling of the stories for 50 years. She did, then daughter Nan typed them perfectly and Greenville native Wade Keller, Jr. of Marco Island, Florida published the handsome, hardback book.

                          So here they are– along with a few of his favorite jokes picked up along the way and two of his favorite poems, which he was often asked to recite in his inimitable way!

                          Lelia was born in 1924 and grew up in Washington, GA but loves and has made Meriwether and Greenville her home since 1948. She is an accomplished artist and author in her own right, having co-authored two local history books and produced numerous paintings and sketches, many of them historic buildings around Greenville. After graduating from University of Georgia in 1945, she taught art at Shorter College for several years before marrying Ben and starting their family. She calls herself a “retired artist,” even though at the age of 86 she exhibited a retrospective of about 80 of her works at an event honoring the 100th birthday of Lamar Dodd, LaGrange native and founder of the art department at University of Georgia. The event was held at the home of Chase Hudson in LaGrange and put to together by granddaughter Allison Freemam Williams as her high school senior project. Lelia is proud of her four children and their spouses; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

                          Corinne Galla
                          Painting

                            Over the last few years my oil paintings have grown in popularity and I knew it was time I made them available to the public.

                            I love creating these paintings and, as simple as it sounds, just want to make beautiful artwork I’d like to have in my own home.

                            I started painting again after a 40 year break (yes, 40!) and have always made oil painting my first love. When I began selling online in 2009 it was with smallworks in watercolor, and my subjects centered around lovely little faces, figures and flowers. Who knew my work in watercolor would be equally rewarding and just as much fun as creating my oil paintings? I’m inspired by classic portraits and sculpture, and often work from charcoal or pencil studies I’ve done using a live model.

                            I recently moved to a remote area of central Georgia where I’m currently taming my 5 acres of wilderness raising chickens, veggies and lavender. Well, the lavender is a work in progress…

                            I’m a messy painter (What’s that saying about a tidy desk?), and my artist friends all know I have no idea where all those paint caps have disappeared to. Now, where did I leave that palette knife?

                            Allen Gee
                            Pottery

                              I was born in Statesboro, GA and grew up in a farming community about eight miles from town. My grandparent’s farm was within walking distance of our house and I spent the summers helping them with the tobacco harvest. After graduating from Southeast Bulloch High School, I served in the US Navy, then attended GA Southern Univ, on the G.I. Bill, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education and Industrial Arts Education
                              in 1977.

                              My interest in pottery began when I took a ceramics course in college. Using Georgia’s natural clay and mineral resources to make pots appealed to me as well as the aspects of the craft that allow a way to be creative in an industrial environment. I honed my skills by working in Macon as a production potter for
                              two years.

                              Since 1995 I have been living and working in Meriwether County at the former home studio of the late D.X. Gordy, one of several Gordy family artists and craftsmen revered throughout Georgia for their pottery making skills. Working in this historical environment has enhanced my perspectives and appreciation of mid-twentieth century potters who had to adapt their methods to the changes in handmade pottery technology and taste.

                              I mix stoneware clay in a motorized washtub and produce wheel thrown pottery on an electric wheel. Some of my glazes are derived from local minerals including iron sand, hardwood ashes, and a gneiss-hornblende stone. The minerals are pulverized using a hammer mill and jar mill to produce a fine powder that is mixed with clay and water then applied to a bisque-fired pot. Most of the stoneware is fired in a wood burning kiln where it reaches temperatures hot enough to melt the homemade glazes. Hot embers and flames enhance the clay and glazes causing glaze runs, pooling, and flashing marks on the clay.

                              Linda L. Giles
                              Stained Glass

                                Originally from New England Linda has lived in Newnan since 1998.

                                Her father got her interested in and taught her how to do Stained Glass beginning in 2001. Since then she has perfected her talent and makes everything from small, very sweet, sun catchers to large and very intricate pictures. She especially enjoys working with clients to design pieces to fit their specific needs and desires. She has designed customer fitted window inserts as well as detailed framed pictures.

                                See her work on FaceBook – Linda Giles Stained Glass.

                                Wendy Gould
                                Calligraphy

                                  Wendy was born in New York City with a love for design, creativity and drive to succeed in anything she focused her energies on.

                                  Horses were always a main focus in her life, she was blessed to have a beautiful Thoroughbred gelding named Louie for 14 years. He started out in life as a race horse, and was bought to move on towards being the dressage star of Wendy’s heart.

                                  After visiting her first art show, the desire blossomed to design motivational quotes to lift people up. motivational quotations morphed into many different categories to attract a diversified clientele at art shows.

                                  She spent many hours learning to draw from library books, and working on her calligraphy. The more her work grew, the better her art shows grew in sales. She participated in juried art shows from1988-2008 throughout S. Florida, New England, the Midwest and Iowa.

                                  Wendy now sells to galleries, gift shops and does consignment to up-scale venues.

                                  She now resides in the small Georgia town, Thomaston, and is pictured with her niece’s beautiful son, Jordan, and her beloved Louie.

                                  Annie Louise Hobson
                                  Painting

                                    Annie Louise Perkerson Hobson – more often called her childhood nickname “Toot” – was born and raised on a dairy farm a few miles west of the courthouse in Greenville.

                                    After High School she went off to see the world via Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL, where she furthered a childhood interest in art. She was hired as a graphic artist on Maxwell AFB, Alabama just after graduation but a hiring freeze delayed her start of work and she accepted a teaching job. Soon art became a hobby which took second place to family and teaching.

                                    Toots and husband Ed traveled extensively during the 20 years they were based in Germany while Ed served in the U.S. Air Force. Upon Ed’s retirement from the air force, they moved back to
                                    Greenville where Toots is active in various community activities including American Legion and Merry Weather Garden Club. Their travels yielded an impressive collection of nativity scenes from all over the world, which they generously share with the Meriwether County community during the holiday season.

                                    Their son Edward “Sonny” Hobson inherited his mother’s talent for art and is a noted artist focused on detailed pastel drawings of many African animals he photographed while serving in Peace Corps security in Africa.

                                    Edward Hobson
                                    Painting

                                      My paintings (with the exception of the painting of the manatees) are all based on photographs that I’ve taken during my travels. I can tell you exactly where and when this small slice of the wild was captured for posterity! I strive very hard to depict not only the details but also to portray the character and the soul of the subject.

                                      A graduate of the University of Florida, I served six years as an officer in the US Air Force and then worked for 11 years as head of the crime scene investigations section at the Orlando (Florida) Police Department, where I also had the privilege of serving as the department’s forensic artist. In fact, my forensic art courses through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and at the FBI Academy are the only formal art training I have ever had. While living in Orlando in the 1990s I began painting manatees, first in watercolor and then in pastel, and I exhibited from time to time at art shows in Central Florida. I was fortunate enough to be honored with the award for “Best Manatee” at the Blue Springs Manatee Festival in 1993. Over the years I donated some of my manatee paintings to the WMFE charity auction to raise money for the Public Broadcasting Service in Central Florida. In addition to my paintings of manatees, I also produced a series of pastel paintings of various players on the Orlando Magic basketball team. These paintings were donated to the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and were auctioned as part of their fund-raising campaigns. On two occasions my paintings have earned Honorable Mention in the international “Pastel 100” competition and one was a finalist in the annual competition from “The Artist’s Magazine”. In February 2009 my work was profiled in a feature article in “The Pastel Journal”.

                                      I’d like to make a special point to thank my wife, Kimberley, and my parents for their fantastic support of my artwork and my efforts to one day become a full-time professional artist!

                                      Special Achievements:

                                      2012 – “Amboseli Dry Season”
                                      Selected for exhibition in “Art of Conservation 2012 – An International Exhibit of Nature in Art”, virtual exhibit

                                      2010 – Susan K. Black Foundation Scholarship Recipient
                                      Awarded one of only 20 scholarships to participate in the 9th Annual Susan K. Black Foundation Workshop and Art Conference

                                      2008 – “Sundowner”
                                      Honorable Mention in the 9th Annual Pastel 100 International Competition

                                      2008 – “Nakuru White Rhinos”
                                      Selected for exhibition in “Art of Conservation 2008 – An International Exhibit of Nature in Art”, at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ

                                      2007 – “Periscope Depth”
                                      Honorable Mention in the 8th Annual Pastel 100 International Competition

                                      2007 – “Hog Heaven”
                                      Finalist, 24th Annual Competition from “The Artist’s Magazine”

                                      Publications:

                                      The Pastel Journal (2009)
                                      More about The Pastel Journal
                                      – Featured in the February 2009 Pastel Journal magazine (“Pastels on Safari”)

                                      Organization Membership: 2006 – ACF
                                      http://www.natureartists.com
                                      Proud to be a member of the Artists for Conservation Fund!

                                      Susan Kreger
                                      Stained Glass

                                        Senoia, GA

                                        I was born in North Carolina, daughter of a career soldier and ultimately wife of a career soldier. After my father died in 1964, my family settled in Columbus GA where I graduated high school and attended Columbus State University. I am the proud mother of two daughters, five granddaughters and one grandson.
                                        My husband and I moved to Senoia in 1989 when he retired and have been here ever since. I’m an animal lover and always have three or four around the house. Currently I have four dogs, one of which turned 17 in May of 2013.

                                        I retired in 2007 from Ft McPherson after 32 years as a Department of Defense employee. Shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in October of 2000 I became interested in Mosaic art. I was especially interested in creating mixed media pieces and enjoyed going to flea markets and yard sales for my art supplies. I see artistic potential in pieces of junk, cracked china and other things that are being discarded. After a few years I started incorporating stained glass in my mosaics and my love of stained glass took over! I still like to incorporate mosaic patterns into my stained glass and make each one my own.
                                        I think Stained Glass is the most beautiful of mediums, the colors, the textures, the way the light shines through at different times of day – it is my passion.

                                        Marty Mitchell
                                        Fiber Art

                                          Manchester, GA

                                          When people ask how long I’ve been knitting, I have to go back to when I was 8 years old and living in Youngstown, Ohio where I was born. My mother enrolled me in a knitting class at a local department store where my first project was a pair of green mittens. One fit me perfect, the second was the size of a giant but I learned the basics of knitting and have been knitting ever since. In my “golden” years I find knitting very relaxing and my needles are going watching TV, riding in the car, in waiting rooms, etc. No idle time for me!! In 2015 my scarves won a ribbon at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Georgia.

                                          My working years were spent working in the medical field; first as a surgical technician for two proctologists then as an office manager for two gastroenterologists and finally a billing manager for 5 gastroenterologists in Lawrenceville. I retired in 2011 after 34 years. My hobbies, other than knitting, are my 5 honey bee hives, gardening, volunteering at Callaway Gardens, traveling the world or to my husband’s senior softball tournaments, yoga and water aerobics at the Warm Springs Foundation and taking piano lessons. We also spend a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing at our family cabin on the Flint River in the cove. I often wonder how I ever had time to work!

                                          My husband and I retired and moved to the Manchester-Meriwether area in 2013 where his family ancestors were original settlers. The fast pace of Atlanta was not what we were looking for – we love this part of Meriwether County and have made many friends here and have adapted well to the slower pace and Manchester’s three traffic lights.

                                          Keith Moore
                                          Wood Art

                                            Keith Moore enjoys the solitude of working in his studio/workshop on Lake Harding near Valley, AL. He named his studio “Crowfeather” after finding feathers from the many crows that gather in the treetops. Keith is a creator of many things using wood, metals, paints, stains, and “found” objects. He has a special talent for creating something unique for each client and location. His skills are versatile enough to create hand lettered and painted signs, logos, furniture, creative interior and exterior finishes, as well as wonderful paintings with custom designed wood frames.

                                            Keith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design from Georgia State University in 1989 and worked in the graphic design field for several years, all the while developing his painting skills and becoming interested in custom furniture and woodworking. His distinctive painting style shows a western influence with bold colors, texturing and three dimensional qualities. He is not afraid to experiment with paints, faux finish products, stains, metals and a variety of wood types to create unique pieces.

                                            CROWFEATHER STUDIO
                                            Keithmooreart@gmail.com
                                            706-773-7827

                                            Keith Parmer
                                            Fiber Art

                                              LaGrange, GA

                                              I was born and raised in LaGrange, GA, the son of Grover and Maryjim Parmer. My father was one of the brothers of Parmer Brothers’ Grocery (closed in 2012), a well known family owned and operated grocery store for many years.

                                              I am a Banker by Profession, the SVP of Compliance with Charter Bank which is headquartered in West Point, GA. Married to Ellen Strickland Parmer, also a LaGrange native and retired elementary school teacher. We have two children, Chase and Beth, who are both graduates of Auburn University.

                                              I am an avid collector of folk art and have collected for many years. My collection consists of pieces from many folk artists throughout the country. I have always loved attempting to make artwork, but I did not begin yarn painting until I attended a workshop taught by the very talented and my most admired artist, Annie Greene.

                                              Nellie Ralat
                                              Pottery and Sculpture

                                                I’m a “people watcher”. Growing up in New York City as I rode the buses and subway, I watched. I took note of the lines and angles in faces. I observed expressions, movements and gestures. I was always fascinated, never tiring of the subject matter.

                                                I continue to be fascinated by the human animal- the only mammal that elevates life experiences in the form of the arts.

                                                On reflection- I consider this the beginning of my informal training. My formal training in the arts consists of a few classes in junior college and two beginner pottery classes at a local arts and recreational studio. I continue learning by doing.

                                                In 2015 I ventured into juried shows. I won the President’s award at the Columbus Artist Guild Members show in July and First Place in the Fine Arts Amateur Division at the Georgia National Fair in October.

                                                My fascination with homo- sapiens is reflected in much of my work. It is the subject matter in my sculptural work and is often reflected in my functional pieces.

                                                I am in the company of all the artists throughout the ages, who watched and observed and found the subject matter of “people” worthy to be elevated in the form of the arts.

                                                Arthur Jack Riggs
                                                Wood Art

                                                  Jack Riggs considers himself an outsider artist (art brut), a term coined in the 1970’s to characterize self-taught, unconventional, and non-conformist artists whose creativity is not constrained by professional boundaries.

                                                  Born in St. Marys, West Virginia, Jack has lived in Georgia his entire adult life. His artistic career includes running Colony Galleries in midtown Atlanta for 20 years, specializing in 17th and 18th century primitive American furniture. His historian heart enjoyed the folklore and images of bygone eras the furniture itself evoked.
                                                  Growing tired of the increasingly hectic pace of expanding Atlanta, he ventured out and discovered Warm Springs. He was smitten with the rich history of the area. A few years later he met Dovie Jeter who had opened Antiques Unlimited Mall just north of Warm Springs and rented space there. He sold furniture from the 1930’s and 40’s which had become more popular than 17th and 18th century.

                                                  Thinking that he could build furniture less expensively than he could buy it, he started creating shaker style pieces, then began dressing it up by painting some Peruvian images to the furniture, which created a pre-Columbian feel. He took it to a gallery in LaGrange and it sold immediately. From there he branched out to include New Mexico and Navajo Indian themes.

                                                  In the 1990’s Antiques Unlimited was growing in popularity. The owner decided to expand and give Jack space to open an art gallery for himself and other artists. This inspired Jack to focus more on painting and he moved toward his experimental and fanciful pieces created on boards with his custom frames designed to fit each subject.
                                                  Terri Johnson, owner of Gallery on the Square in LaGrange, said his furniture was more “three-dimensional art and his style ranges from what is known as whimsical to primitive to avant garde. His frames are extensions of the artistic concept itself and an integral part of the artwork.”
                                                  Arthur Jack Riggs considers himself a “Worker in Wood.”

                                                  Lynda Rockel
                                                  Painting

                                                    I was born in Columbus, Georgia but raised in Ohio with my father’s family. We often visited Georgia as my mother’s family was from Pine Mountain, Pine Mountain Valley and Shiloh.

                                                    I have been drawing and painting since I was a child, and I took up photography when I was seventeen. I am also a writer and have published two books on Kindle.

                                                    I paint a variety of different styles of art from fantasy to real life and children’s art. I have rarely sold any of my work. I mainly give it to family and friends as gifts. This is my first time putting my art in a Gallery, and I hope you like it.

                                                    Miriam Rowell
                                                    Painting

                                                      Formerly from Talbot County, Miriam has become a serious artist in the last ten years, after retiring from teaching.

                                                      She excels in both oils and watercolor, with a particular love for landscapes, portraits, still-lifes and florals.

                                                      Miriam is a graduate of the University of Georgia, with a B.S. degree in Home Economics in Art. She spent her career teaching Family and Consumer Science and painting as a hobby.

                                                      She has studied oil painting with nationally known artists – Dalhart and Michael Windberg, Robert Warren, Gary Jenkins, Fred Witzel, Mary Carole Larson, Dorothy Dent, and portrait artist Karen Patten. Miriam has also studied watercolor with Mark Polomochek and Joseph Fettengis.

                                                      Miriam exhibits her work throughout middle Georgia and wins awards at almost every show she enters, including the Member show of the Columbus Artist Guild and the Fine Arts Show at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, a juried art show. In the 2014 fair in Perry, Miriam’s “New Calf” won Best of Show in Amateur Fine Arts, which is selected from first place winners in 12 categories, in addition to winning 1st place awards in the livestock and adult portrait categories, 2nd place in fair life category, 3rd place in miniatures and honorable mention in group portraiture. In 2015, she won 3 awards in the Professional Fine Arts Division at the Fair.

                                                      Miriam paints with friends and also teaches in her home studio. This keeps her learning as she paints.

                                                      Sylvia G. Rozell
                                                      Painting

                                                        I was born in Brunswick, Ga and lived most of my life in rural McIntosh County, Georgia. I grew up loving arts and crafts of all kinds. One of my favorite gifts for Christmas was a “Spirograph”. I decorated every room Mom would allow with my colorful designs.

                                                        I graduated from McIntosh County Academy in 1976, married and had 2 children by 1980. I began working for the State of Georgia’s Department of Public Safety as an enforcement officer in 1982. At that time my creative talents leaned more towards sewing, macrame, embroidery, and art crafts of any kind I could afford.

                                                        About the same time my children became adults and began lives of their own, I met Barbara Smenner. She is an artist/instructor from the Manchester, GA area. I took my first “lessons” from her in 1997 and was “hooked” on fine arts.

                                                        I have studied with many fine artists over the last 15 years, Buck Paulson, Karen Patton, Gary Jenkins, Dalhart Windberg, Michael Windberg, Dorothy Dent, Mary Carole Larson, and last but certainly not least, my mentor, Barbara Smenner.

                                                        I retired from the GA DPS October 1, 2011, and have since really delved into my artistic side. Portrait painting of children and pets, landscapes and still lifes are my favorites. And I am always available for commissioned pieces.

                                                        Jim Sibley
                                                        Wood Art

                                                          Jim Sibley’s appreciation of wood began at a very early age – his father was a carpenter.

                                                          A native of Woodbury, GA, Jim graduated from Meriwether High in Woodbury in 1954, attended North Georgia College for two years, transferred to Auburn where he earned a Civil Engineering degree and also his pilot license through ROTC. He flew fixed wing and rotary wing in the military, then enjoyed a 33 year career as a pilot for Delta Airlines.

                                                          Time for developing his interest in wood crafting increased after Jim retired in 1996 and was able to spend more time at the Sibley family farm in Woodbury, where he built an impressive wood working shop. He became interested in woodturning after taking a class taught by master wood turner Nick Cook at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. “The Woodturning Lathe is a very versatile tool which allows great flexibility for the artist’s imagination and experimentation.”

                                                          “I believe that Trees are an important part of God’s creation for this great planet Earth that we occupy so briefly. Each tree is a living, breathing object with individual identity that can live on after it has fulfilled its mission as a contributor to the ecological health of our planet. I strive to use only trees that are from storm damage or are being removed for some reason. Evaluating a new tree is like going on a treasure hunt. I never know what beauty is hidden inside and I look for ways to expose and preserve the beauty created by Mother Nature. My wish is that when you look at a tree, you view it as you would a person and seek the beauty hidden beneath the surface.” Jim Sibley

                                                          Christy Stephens
                                                          Photography

                                                            As a Meriwether resident since 1992, Christy values all this area has to offer. She strives to view the details of life with a unique perspective, appreciating the beauty in things which are often overlooked. Her love for photography was evident for years but has gradually grown into a rewarding hobby. While family and church remain top priorities, photography has easily fallen in line with hopes of continual growth.

                                                            You can view more of cLd Stephens’ work at www.cldstephensphotography.net or e-mail at cldstephensphotography@windstream.net

                                                            Dee Stephens
                                                            Painting

                                                              Newnan, GA

                                                              I was interested in art for most of my life but never had the opportunity to indulge my dreams. I pursued painting on and off throughout my work career, but it was not until I retired that I had the opportunity to study painting under an accomplished artist by the name of Corinne Gallo.

                                                              Corinne is an extraordinary artist and instructor, and it is through her passion and creativity that I have been able to produce paintings with my own interpretation.

                                                              Dees243@gmail.com

                                                              Bobby Vaillancourt
                                                              Pottery

                                                                Sharpsburg, GA

                                                                Bobby Vaillancourt was born in Rome, GA in 1958. He received his BBA from the University of West Georgia in March 1982 with a major in marketing and a minor in art. Bobby was introduced to clay during his senior year of high school at Woodward Academy. A former student demonstrated a new potter’s wheel and from that moment on clay became his medium of choice.

                                                                During college Bobby won two scholarship awards for his Raku pottery. He was also honored to be the first student selected to exhibit in the office of Congressman Newt Gingrich. In addition his work was selected to be shown in RJK International Gallery in Atlanta. Bobby has been a featured artist at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, a five star restaurant and hotel in Dallas, TX.

                                                                Over the last 25 years Bobby has concentrated on commissioned work for individuals and corporations such as Re/Max Realty and his work is included in many private collections throughout the United States.

                                                                On a local level there have been many opportunities with businesses and galleries in and around Atlanta. He was the featured artist at Espresso Lane Coffee in Atlanta and Main Street Gallery in Fayetteville, GA. He was an artist in residence at Gumbo Limbo Gallery in Key Largo, FL for six weeks during June and July 2015, and also served as a guest instructor at Miami Ceramics League. Bobby has also been the featured artist for four years running at the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance where he was recently featured in a short documentary film demonstrating the technique of Horse Hair Raku.
                                                                Currently you can view his work at the Print Shop Gallery in Greenville, GA and The Historic Moreland Mill in Moreland, GA.

                                                                Artist’s Statement

                                                                When creating pottery I feel a strong connection with the earth. Whether it is hand molded or thrown on the wheel, the process can be meditative and calming while at the same time very satisfying. Whatever comes to my mind’s eye can spring to life through the clay. A perfectly centered piece of clay on the wheel spinning at the right speed and being pressed between the fingers is empowering for me.

                                                                While clay can be so challenging to control I believe the challenge is part of what attracts me. Simply put, I like the way it feels! What used to be the standard five or ten years ago is not the same measure that it is today.
                                                                The satisfaction I receive from my work is what drives me. Many pieces get my stamp of approval but rarely do I consider the end product to be perfect. So whatever that says about me as a potter is a part of my core makeup and my attitude about the work.

                                                                It can be something as simple as a bowl or a well-shaped teapot, large or small, it doesn’t matter. All the steps have to be executed well before any piece gets two thumbs up. My inspiration comes from the satisfaction and enjoyment I experience during the process itself while creating each piece. I consider myself to be neither artist, artisan, nor craftsman. I am a potter.

                                                                Annette Wade
                                                                Painting

                                                                  Art beautifully mastered, for the most discerning buyer includes: Murals, portraits, landscapes, architecture, custom contract work, animals & pets, sports favorites, automobiles, abstracts and more. Painting your very own home or your favorite hunting dogs on a giant saw blade, or a mural on your fence or barn. Sharing your love of color and making a personal statement. The options for collecting beautiful art are limitless and available to you and for you by Annette Wade.

                                                                  Annette’s styles include: impressionism, realism, abstract, pop, and modern, mostly in acrylic medium and especially enjoys large paintings. Annette’s first award was for a painting entered in a Muscogee County Fair teen division competition and won first place in realism.

                                                                  Painting is a passion that Annette has had for many years but is just now devoting her full time to creating brilliant hued master pieces that are sure to touch the lives and hearts of the
                                                                  beholders. She has a style of her own and is self-taught and her painting reflects her diversity and love for humanity.

                                                                  Having won acclaim in exhibits from Hawaii, Germany, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Utah her talent graces the lives, homes and businesses of true art lovers. Mural paintings are also a specialty that Annette enjoys and has painted in Parade of Homes, residences, nursery schools, restaurants, medical facilities, and for the cities of Cusseta and Pine Mountain in Georgia.

                                                                  Annette teaches painting to the young and the old and kindles within each of them a “can do” attitude that inspires creative flow and the joy of art. She calls her classes “Chit, Chat ‘n’ Splat”. She has a course in painting discovery, styles and techniques, but most of her classes are actually designed for entertainment/activity at parties in homes, businesses or city art centers where each student starts and finishes a painting in one sitting so that they have a treasured memory to take home with them.

                                                                  annetteewade@aol.com

                                                                  706-464-0199

                                                                  Catherine Williamson
                                                                  Painting

                                                                    Manchester, GA

                                                                    Greetings art lover!!

                                                                    I’d like to tell you a little about my journey into the art world. My art career began as a watercolor artist but I also paint multimedia collage, funny signs and wood pallets.

                                                                    After graduating from Mercer University I taught Elementary school for eight years. Art was always incorporated into my teaching experience but I did not realize I had the talent to become a full-time artist. When my two beautiful children were born my dream of being a “work at home mom” (because ALL moms work), came true.

                                                                    On a vacation to California, we visited Yosemite where I took a watercolor class and painted Half Dome. This was my first and only class when I began this art journey. I am self-taught but now take classes online whenever possible.

                                                                    My children are now grown and I am free to pursue my passion for art. I love how it always surprises me because I don’t know what it will look like until it is finished.

                                                                    Painting is a true gift from God and I am so grateful for this life. I love to paint botanicals but also have a quirky sense of humor which shows up in my art.

                                                                    I hope you enjoy my work! Please feel free to check out more of my work at www.etsy.com/shop/cometothewaters or email me at catherinescolors@me.com.

                                                                    Kathi Askew Wilson
                                                                    Painting

                                                                      Kathi grew up in Forest Park, Ga. After graduating from Forest Park Senior High she began a career with Delta Air Lines in Atlanta, GA. And retired in 2006.

                                                                      She always wanted to learn to paint so in 2009 when a friend invited her to join an artist group at her home she jumped at the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. Since then she has enjoyed art instruction and workshops at the Village Art Studio in Manchester with many nationally known artists.

                                                                      Today Kathi spends most of her free time with brush in hand. She has won numerous awards for her art at the Georgia National Fair in Perry, Ga.