GRAFTON—This month, through Sunday, September 6, the Taylor County Arts Council (TCAC) is honored to be displaying the work of Fairmont native, Catleen Cline Campbell at Gallery 62 West.
As a little girl growing up on East Grafton Road, Campbell shared that it was always her dream to become an artist. However, the tools she uses to create her art have developed over the years.
“My tools at the time were a large coffee can of broken crayons, some typing paper and a few coloring books. I used to draw mermaids and the oceans because I was convinced I was a mermaid,” she recalled.
Carrying her love of art with her into adulthood, she majored in Art at West Virginia University, where she started her career in the school system, ran a business, became a mother to three children and played essential roles in the development of the Morgantown Art Walk, A is for Art and the Read Aloud Program in West Virginia.
Years later, Campbell’s artistic path has led her to Tybee Island, Georgia, where she says she found her muse in the breathtaking landscapes of the island, creating beach and ocean pictures.
Campbell now exhibits at #lovellshackstudios and has had her work featured at the Savannah Airport, as well as the Jepson Center of the prestigious Telfair Museum in Savannah.
“I have been blessed to win several awards and to have been chosen to hand in the Telfair/ Jepson Museum in Savannah, Georgia,” she expressed. “Pretty high cotton for a little girl from West Virginia!”
In addition, she is an active member of the Tybee Cottage Art Gallery and the Savannah Art Association at Chippewa Square.
Through her journey in the world of art, Campbell has never forgotten her West Virginia roots, crediting her time in the Mountain State with providing the inspiration for many of her pieces.
Campbell revealed that although she was raised on East Grafton Road, she was born in Colorado Springs, which was where her father settled their family after the war. Every summer, her mother and her four siblings would make the journey back home to West Virginia by means of train to visit family.
“The train ride took three days. I have memories of the fancy train station in Grafton, which was the inspiration for ‘Waiting for the Train.’ My sister and I sat on the old trunk sad to be leaving Memaw and Papaw,” she remembered.
She also noted that the inspiration behind her works entitled “Laundry Day” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was drawn from old photos of her husband’s family, who were from Grafton.
Campbell also connected with her creativity by remembering her days spent at Tygart Lake and Valley Falls State Parks. These precious childhood memories led to the creation of “Valley Falls,” “The Path Taken” and “The River Runs Through It.”
“I’ll always come back to these beautiful mountains. I hope you all continue to support the arts. And yes, this mermaid finally found her muse by the ocean. E.E. Cummings said it best: ‘It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are,’”she voiced.
Campbell’s work will be on display for the community’s viewing pleasure until Sunday, September 6 on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
“Due to the ongoing problem with the COVID 19 pandemic, we are still unable to have the kind of opening reception we would like to for our artists, but we ask that you stop in during open hours and see her amazing work,” commented TCAC member Vicki Aucremanne.
The TCAC would also like to remind those who are planning to come out and view Campbell’s art, that masks are still required in order to enter the gallery, and social distancing measures will still be taken to ensure the health and safety of their guests, artist and volunteers.