By Rob McDaniel
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The Cumberland Valley National Bank and the Laurel County Public Library co-sponsored the Cumberland Gallery Art Show this year, and Tuesday night local artists met for an open reception.
The event featured work submitted by amateur artists from Laurel, Jackson, Whitley, Clay, Knox, Rockcastle, McCreary, Pulaski and Madison counties.
Many of the artists were available to meet with the public and answered questions about where they find inspiration and why they paint.
Brandon Thorpe of London was among the artists present for the reception event.
Thorpe submitted two entries into the art show, both pieces stood out due to Thorpe’s unique and interesting art style.
“I grew up really poor,” Thorpe said. “While some kids got Play Stations, I got paper and coloring pencils and I was really happy about it.”
Thorpe said he didn’t really start taking art seriously though until he got in a little bit of trouble.
“I got in some trouble and did some time in jail,” Thorpe said. “Art became a sanctuary to me. It helped motivate me and has kept me out of trouble.”
He said his work is almost always improvised from a basic idea and used to tell a visual story.
The piece he entered into the contemporary category was inspired by a combination of writings by Charles Darwin and documentaries about evolution.
“I thought about evolution and what it would be like if you could freeze that moment when everything begins to change,” Thorpe said. “I tried my best to imagine that moment and once I had it, I wanted to take that moment and I wanted to freeze it.”
Thorpe wasn’t the only artist at the open house talking about his inspirations though. E. Pearl Anderson spoke of the farm she grew up on many years ago.
Anderson painted from memory the barn and fields, where she grew up, and chicken coop where a snake once kept her from collecting eggs.
She told the story of her crowing contest with one of the farm roosters and how she aggravated the rooster to the point he ended up attacking her father.
The old farm is long gone, but for Anderson it lives on in her memory and was an inspiration for her painting.
The art show was considered fairly small, with only 20 artists participating in the event.
“When they told me it was a small show I was like ‘Aww,’” Special Juror Debbie J. Wagers said about the gallery. “But then I saw the work that these artists had done and it really made it hard to make a decision.”
Winning artists included (by category):
• Animal: Angela Rose Darrow of Laurel County, first place; Adrienne Newberry of Laurel County, second place; Kevin Gilbert of Laurel County, third place.
• Contemporary: Brandon Thorpe of Laurel County, first place; Mary Stuart of Laurel County, second place; Faye Miracle of Laurel County, third place.
• Drawing: Magen McCrarey of Laurel County, first place; Brandon Thorpe of Laurel County, second place; Autumn Howard of Laurel County, third place.
• Landscape: Larry Black of Laurel County, first place; Fawn Greer of Laurel County, second place; Magen McCrarey of Laurel County, third place.
• Portrait: Kevin Gilbert of Laurel County, first place and best of show; Glenda O. Woods of Laurel County, second place; Fawn Greer of Laurel County, third place.
• Still Life: Glenda O. Woods of Laurel County, first place; Bunny O’Bryan of Laurel County, second place; E. Pearl Anderson of Laurel County, third place.
The Cumberland Gallery Youth Art Show opening reception will be held Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature artwork submitted from artists in three categories: 5 and under, 6-10, and 11-14.
The public is invited to attend the opening reception and all art works will be displayed until Saturday.
For more information contact Leah Rudder at the Laurel County Public Library at (606) 864-5759.