I have just recently finished a painting of Gary Bowlings(a legend as far as I am concerned) and Jody Queen - great friends whose tireless efforts in the Bluefield, WV community has made so many opportunities available to artist like me. For those who have been following my work over the years you know that the Iraq Art show held at the Bluefield Arts and Science Center (Bluefield, WV) was possible because of Joe and his wonderful wife Vicki who not only got the show scheduled for me but also provided the food, promotion and countless hours of sharing my work with complete strangers. Also, last May he and his wife helped my wife's show with the same. All in all I cannot be more grateful for these folks and I felt a painting coming on.
Gary Bowlings, like Joe and Vicki, has been instrumental in our development as well. During our first year at Bluefield College we were seriously thinking about transferring yet I felt that God was telling us to stay - I really think part of that was to give us the opportunity to know Gary and thank God we did. Gary is not just an artist he is a force, something that not every artist has or will ever attain. Gary works on a different level and watching him and seeing work ethic is something else. Over the last two years we attended Bluefield College we found ourselves more and more involved at Gary Bowling's House of Art in Downtown and it was because of this we became better artists and it is what gave us the belief that we could make it as artists.
So as I reflect on these two people I think about how I came to this point.
In the recent months I have been developing a series of paintings about my friends. My wife was watching me work on a portrait and said "Jerry, people are important to you". At that moment I thought "she's right" and that comment gave birth to this new series. Dana pointed out that when the students leave in the spring for summer that I get depressed and I am always trying to get connected to them. I suppose that this is a sign of the "Facebook" era. Being connected is everything. Yet, it is not about the number of "Friends" you have on Facebook it is the stories behind each person and the reasons why you are friends that count and perhaps that is why I am and have always been interested in painting people. So this new series: My Friends.
Above: "Joe", Watercolor, 11"x15", $225
"Gary", Watercolors, 11"x 15", $225