The Cape Girardeau County History Center in Jackson was hanging a new exhibit Friday afternoon – A Celebration of the Artwork of Gary R. Lucy.
Upon arrival, I watched a guy (who turned out to be Gary Lucy) mesmerize a gaggle of fifth graders from Natalie Jones’ class at Immaculate Conception School. He was talking about art, how he got started (he thought he was going to be a CPA) and what it was like to be an artist.
The kids ate it up.
Kids asked good questions
When he was asked, “Are you always inspired?” he gave them an honest answer:
“No, no. People always ask ‘are you inspired?’ I’m in the mood to do this about ten percent of the time. [Laughter] The other 90 percent is ‘I need to DO this.’ Do you see what I’m saying? If I waited until I was in the mood or inspired, I wouldn’t get anything done. Artists are dreamers. Artists love to sit back and say, ‘Yo, man, I’m going to do this.’ Or ‘Man, I’m going to do that.’ And they sit there and dream about all the stuff they’re going to do, but they don’t ever do it because they don’t have the self discipline to stay the course.”
That led into a good discussion with the students about what self discipline is.
The Oscar Bird
At the end of his presentation, he whipped out a sketch board and drew his “Oscar Bird,” also known as The Good Luck Bird. He said it you are in need of luck, walk up and rub the bird’s nose. Ms. Jones said she would hang Oscar in her classroom.
Every kid who walked by the Oscar Bird gave its beak a quick rub.
Best conversation in a long time
After the fifth graders left, and while Gary’s wife Sandy and the museum folks were driving nails, hanging prints and adjusting lights, he an I sat at a table and had one of the most wide-ranging and enjoyable conversations I’ve had in a long time.
We shared our common love of the Mississippi’s history and lore. We talked about how photographers and artists see and use light; how he injects so much realism into his work, and how he maintains his houseboat.
I recognized some of the landmarks in his paintings: Eads Bridge under construction, Tower Rock, Island 10 off New Madrid…
His use of light is incredible. He was able to paint an accurate image of Tower Rock at night by parking his mobile studio, a houseboat, in the river on just the right night. I’ve tried several times to shoot the full moon at The Rock, but I guess I’m going to have to requisition a boat to do it right.
Meet Gary yourself
If you enjoy good artwork, history and good conversation, I suggest you attend the opening of Gary’s show Saturday, February 20, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The History Center is located in the Andrew Jackson Building across from the courthouse.
Rather than doing a lot of typing, I’ll point you to Gary’s biography on his website. Oh, by the way, he told the kids the Rest of the Story behind the Corvette that he mentions in his bio. I’ll have you ask him about it.
Gallery of the hanging
Hmmm, that sounds a little awkward when I see it in print, but I’ll leave it. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.