An exhibit of Frances Hairston's watercolors opens at 2 p.m. today at the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts in West Point. Hairston, of Crawford, gives a gallery talk at 2:30 p.m. Photo by: Courtesy photo
December 2, 2017 10:15:26 PM
Growing up surrounded by the flat cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta and living her adult life in the wide-open Black Prairie country, Frances Hairston developed a love and appreciation for the land. Her exhibit opening today in the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts at 235 Commerce St. in downtown West Point gives both panoramic and close-up views of all things prairie.
"Prairie Images: The Way I See It" takes the viewer on a lazy, comfortable trip through fields, flora and trees. "I paint what I know the best, wild flowers and grasses in the Black Prairie. I want the viewer to look at the painting and to experience a memory," said Hairston.
Hairston studied history at Mississippi University for Women and became a teacher. She met and married her husband in college, and they moved to his family's farm in the Black Prairie of Mississippi, where they raised three children. She is now a grandmother of seven and a great-grandmother of one.
Hairston remembers her younger days on the farm, when she explored nature and breathed in the fresh air. An interest in art began to call, and led to another degree in the fine arts in 2013.
Additionally, she began visiting museums both in the U.S. and abroad, and studying with renowned art instructors. "One of my favorite trips was to spend the day at Giverny, the home of Claude Monet," Hairston said.
She grew proficient in oil painting, and discovered pen and ink and ink wash techniques that pushed her into taking a two-day workshop with Hillary Parker, international award-winning botanical watercolor artist. Now watercolor is Hairston's medium of choice.
Documenting the grasses, flowers and common structures such as silos, old houses and barns has become Hairston's mission. She also writes stories about each painting to further draw the viewer in.
Today's 2-3:30 p.m. opening reception is free to the public. Sponsored by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council, the exhibit will hang through Jan. 31, 2018.
The LCCA will be staffed on some Wednesdays 1-4 p.m. for visitors to see the exhibit. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Kathy Dyess at 662-494-5678.