One of the many highlights of working here at T.K. at the Village is meeting artists whose work we represent. This past year we hosted several artist receptions where I was able to not only interact with the artists but also photograph them.
I want to begin with James Seward. This past year was the second time I had the honor of visiting with Mr. Seward. This meeting was very special because it was the last time he would be here; Mr. Seward passed on Dec. 26th, 2011. While here he was working on the next to last painting of his lifetime, Rejoice In The Lord. A retired Baptist minister, Mr. Seward was most well known for bringing Bible stories to life through his paintings. We are very blessed to have these incredible works of art to remember him by.
I have described Jack E. Dawson’s work as Spiritually Patriotic. When I got to meet him last year I asked what he thought of that description; he said he liked it very much. As he sat and quietly sketched a church on the back of one of his pieces for a client, I got to pick his brain about Reviewing the Troops. He said that his inspiration was The Vietnam Conflict and the lack of respect that history has shown our service men and women that served there. Although the focus of the piece is The Vietnam War Memorial, he has remembered and honored those that have served in many other wars and conflicts through out this countries history. The Vietnamese woman and child are meant to remind us that there are many casualties of war; not just those that served.
Frogs, really? Yes, really! Jann Harrison has made her mark on the art world with one frog in particular: Francois Andre Midas Fibian! Francois is a world traveler, has impeccable taste in wine, clothing, and expecially women. Although he has been seen with many beautiful women, he recently became engaged to Lola Piccard, a stunningly beautiful…..well….frog!
One of the artist that we host regularly is Thomas Kinkade highlighter Janet Cairns. Janet has been highlighting Kinkade’s work for over 10 years and like all Kinkade highlighters, she is an accomplished artist. Janet was hosted for her first solo art show last year in Rhode Island and sold every piece she showed there. Having her in our gallery is a delight and lots of fun!
In 2011 we had our first official Mark Keathley highlighting event. For this event we brought in artist Clifford Land. Like the highlighters for Kinkade’s work, Clifford is a recognized artist in his own right. One of his most famous accomplishments was the iconic DKNY wall in Soho in NYC. Clifford is a gifted portrait artist and enjoys coupling famous people with famous characters.
Mark Keathley visits our gallery twice each year in spring and fall. Mark is becoming quite famous, his work being sought after more and more each year. These events swell the gallery to overflowing with admirers anxious to have him enhance their Keathley with a personal sketch and his signature. In spite of his fame, Mark is one of the most humble, down to earth folks I have ever known. Mark’s work can be seen at most Art of the South galleries as well as galleries coast to coast. The prestigious Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas has acquired the original for Dance of Grace as well as displaying Mark’s tribute art for the 10th anniversary of 911.
On April 21st, 2012 we will host Mark Keathley once again. Make a point to come meet this rising star that some are calling America’s Artist!
When I was 12 years old my mother died. In her bible there was a book mark with a picture of a guardian angel protecting small children as they crossed a bridge.
This is a very famous image by Heiliger Schutzengel. As a grieving child this image brought me great comfort and throughout my life that picture has been a loving reminder of my mother.
One of the first Kinkade’s I sold here at T.K. at the Village was “Cobblestone Mill.”
A woman came in and asked if we had it. I didn’t even know what it looked like, but she did and went right to it. It seems that her and her husband had looked at purchasing the piece before he was deployed to the middle east. He didn’t come home. She bought Cobblestone Mill that day. That was my first experience assisting someone with art that perhaps would help them with their grieving and serve as a future reminder of their departed loved one. My challenge was keeping it together so I could help her.
On two other occasions I worked with people that were looking for that special artistic remembrance. One woman had lost both of her parents at the same time. Her family gathered around her in support while she pondered over “The Guiding Light.” Her mother had loved Kinkade’s lighthouses and had them hanging in her office. Now “The Guiding Light” hangs in her home as a loving tribute.
Most recently I worked with a family that had lost their 13 year old daughter in a tragic car accident. They came in looking for the Kinkade image that had been on the daughter’s memorial card. The piece was “Nanette’s Cottage.”
In front of this peaceful cottage is a small row boat with a teddy bear perched on one of the seats. In the back ground there is a church steeple reaching into the heavens offering courage and hope. There was no hesitation, the whole family was united about having this image to remind them of their darling girl.
I could not hide my tears when working with each of these families. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to help them find one piece of their healing puzzle and my prayers are with them all.
Art ennobles us, inspires us, transports us, and can help to heal us. I believe that art is a gift from God, the artist blessed with the talent so that we may be blessed with their work. My blessings are being able to represent these incredible artists and having an appreciation for art that stirs my soul.
Anyone that lives in The Great Smoky Mountain area can count on family and friends visiting here. Each year at this time my uncle and aunt from Kentucky come for a week and stay at Jack Huff’s hotel right behind The Village. I get to see them more than any other family members because they meander through The Village at least once a day. This year while visiting me in the gallery they both found art that spoke to them.
Aunt Diana is from England. She and my uncle met when he was in europe while in the service. When she saw the Rod Chase canvas Blackmore Vale it only took a minute for her to decide that she had to have it.
This is what we call art choosing you.
My Uncle Littleman, (yes, that’s his name), is really moved by Jack E. Dawson’s work. I call Mr. Dawson’s style spiritually patriotic. Littleman chose two Dawson inspirationals: If My People and Reviewing the Troops.
The images hidden in Jack Dawson’s work tell a story. Everyday I see people examining his paintings with tears in their eyes or telling me how the piece gave them goose bumps. It would be hard for any American to see his work and not be moved.
It has been too many years since I have visited my aunt and uncle in their home. When I do visit them next it will be a good feeling to know that I had some small part in what hangs on their walls and warms their home.
One day recently a man came into the gallery leading a woman with a white cane; she was blind. As they walked through the gallery he was explaining to her the subject of some of the images. As they made their way into the Keathley rooms I thought of the rich texture of one of his originals. I looked at the couple and asked if it was alright to touch her. Getting a nod from the man I gently lifted her hand to the original Muscle in Motion and invited her to enjoy the textures of the paint on the canvas. The man described the painting of a cowboy herding horses across the golden field she was touching. As I moved away so that they could continue enjoying the gallery I was reminded of the resilience of the human spirit.