I’ve had enough days at home. It was time to go out and do one of my favorite things – visit art galleries.
My first stop was to the Historic Arkansas Museum, which was having multiple exhibitions. I practically ran through Reel to Real: Gone with the Wind and the Civil War in Arkansas, which showcased some of the costumes, posters, and production paintings from the film. My real mission was to visit see the Mid-Southern Watercolorists’ 41st Annual Exhibition and Forgotten Places, a show featuring the work of photographers Rhonda Berry and Diana Michelle Hausam. Diana’s work will soon be appearing in the Only Originals Gallery.
My next stop was the Arkansas Arts Center, for In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America. I was disappointed that most of the works displayed were prints. I was hoping to see more of the artist’s original paintings. But, since there was no charge for the exhibit, I guess I can’t complain.
I also toured the rest of the museum, since the Arkansas Arts Center is good about switching out artwork. This time, they were displaying drawings from their permanent collection. Some were quite wonderful and one, Four Figure Set Piece by Kent Bellows, will live with me for some time.
From there it was the Hearne Fine Art Gallery, to see the works of Lawrence Finney. I saw a photograph of Daddy Watches in the newspaper, and just had to see more. I wasn’t disappointed, although this particular piece was much smaller than I’d imagined it would be. I love the exaggerated power of the arms and hands wrapping the tiny infant. My own father’s large hands are what I remember most, and it was seeing his hands – rather than his face – that brought me to tears at his funeral.
The colors in Finney’s oils are very clean. It’s as though he simply puts down a layer of color, and then adds the highlights and shadows over top. He often outlines the most important elements. Most of the highlights and shadows are simply lighter and darker versions of the base color. There is little to no color change to indicate a shift of light. But this simple approach lends folk-quality charm to lively, emotional works.
Daddy Watches by artist Lawrence Finney