Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stephens Gallery

While I was strolling around historic downtown Northport taking pics, Mr. W. Lackey Stephens stepped out of his gallery and said, "Well, you're out early." I noticed the paint brushes and palette knife in his hand and made the connection...the artist himself. He'd been painting since daylight, so he was earlier than me.

He graciously allowed me to photograph him, then invited me into the studio and shared his artwork. Mr. Stephens was the CEO of Zeigler Co. for 25 years before retiring. His oil painting is his hobby. In his words, "I do this for fun. When it stops being fun, I'll stop doing it."

He works in oils in the chiaroscuro style, which emphasizes light and shadow.
"The shadows define the light." I'm thinking there's a life lesson in that statement.
Most of the painting in the gallery were still-life, with a few landscapes. He does commissioned portraits of people and of pets.
He added a few strokes to this painting while I watched. He explained that he started this one and never finished it, so had recently picked it back up. He pointed out several "errors" he intended to correct. I thought it was beautiful as is.

The gallery is in what was the first "luxury" gas station in Tuscaloosa County. Luxury being defined as having a cover to pull under when it rained! When Mr. Stephens acquired the building, he left the "no loafing" sign, complete with cobwebs. He also showed me where the gas pumps used to be and the old bottle caps cemented into the cracks where the Coke machine sat out front. Great art, history and interesting conversation - my kind of morning!


Hilda said...

What a lovely story and a beautiful start to your day! I love that he's doing something he loves now, and that he kept some of the old parts of the gas station.

Jacob said...

Lovely photos and such an interesting tale you tell. I would love to visit Mr. Stephens gallery sometime...

bfarr said...

Great photos and interesting commentary.

Rose said...

Oh, this sure made a lovely was a fun read and something a little different.