Friday, July 21, 2006

Fine Art Friday

Claybank Creek, watercolor
Jack Deloney

Though I'm not sure if he exactly qualifies as "fine art," Jack Deloney's works have been featured in museums across the country, though he is mostly known as a regional artist. Deloney's prints are so popular in south Alabama you'd be hard-pressed to find a home without one. My parents have a 1970's wildlife original. His paintings were the first time I realized I could recognize a distinctive artist's "style." Most of his scenes depict idealized Southern life: cotton pickin' landscapes, wildlife portraits, and historical landmaks. Some might say it borders on kitsch. Still, I would put Deloney in a different category from Kinkade, that infamous "painter of light," who makes his buildings shine like something that has spent too much time at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. At least Deloney's paintings are realistic. I'll praise him as well for making art accessible to those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to appreciate it. The southeastern Alabama "Wiregrass" area is not the most artist friendly place, but it is beautiful, and I commend him for recognizing it and making it his subject.

A copy of "Claybank Creek" actually hangs above our sofa. I was given one as a sixteenth birthday present because I admired this scene, which looks exactly like one of my favorite spots along Carter Mill Creek, the small waterway that runs behind my parents' house where I spent many happy childhood hours playing along its banks. I post this today in honor of those memories and in light of my recent visit there. The creek was dry when I arrived on Monday, but a rare rain filled it up so that it sparkled with all the delicateness and color depicted here. Watercolor is difficult (I should know, I dabbled in it in college), yet he captured a replica of my old log bridge beautifully. For that accomplishment alone, I post a Jack Deloney print here for all to see.

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