Watercolor series by Oakman artist debuts locally
by Jennifer Cohron
Mar 24, 2013 | 1848 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Barry Graham looks at old windows, he sees more than broken glass and peeling paint.

He can feel stories waiting to be told.

Graham has collected nearly two dozen of those stories in “Southern Windows,” a series of watercolor paintings that are now on display locally for the first time at the Walker County Arts Alliance.

A rundown house on Kings Mill Road inspired Graham, an Oakman resident, to start the series two years ago.

“My thought behind it was showing how life changes,” Graham said. “People used to live in this house. Maybe kids looked out this window many times. After they were gone, it’s like their spirits left something there because you could look in that window and feel something through the darkness.”

The exit of life is symbolized by a vintage sack cloth curtain hanging over the bottom pane, while life renewed can be found in a vine growing up the side of the house and through the window.

Graham captured the story of the window just in time. Two months after completing the painting, he drove by the house and noticed that all of its windows had been busted by vandals.

Although the series is called “Southern Windows,” Graham rarely left Walker County in search of new subjects.

Two of the six paintings currently hanging at the WCAA office depict windows from the original Son’s Grocery, which Graham vividly recalls visiting as a child, and the unique rock building in Oakman that once served as the town’s library.

Graham has completed 20 paintings for the “Southern Windows” series since 2010. His goal is to produce at least 50 and include them in a book.

Several of the pieces were included in a show at Little House Art Gallery in Homewood in 2011.

The collection came to WCAA’s office in downtown Jasper as part of the nonprofit’s “Tasting of the Arts” event held Thursday evening.

Graham was the first artist to be invited to participate in a four-part series of celebrations marking the Arts Alliance’s 10th anniversary.