"Craggy Shores"

Budd Bishop
2009 Featured Art
Painter Budd Bishop's "Craggy Shores" is our featured artwork for December 2009.

Budd Bishop is the Director Emeritus of the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. He has also been the Director of the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio and the Director of the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga. And while Budd was fortunate enough to build a career around his passion for art, his directorial responsibilities were so all-consuming and so intense, that he had to give up his painting for 32 years.

All of that changed when he took an early retirement and moved to Livingston, TN, so that his wife Julia could run her family’s business. In 1999, Budd set up a gallery/studio in a charming little house just off of the town square, and, for the first time since 1966, he picked up a brush and strove once again to find his painter’s voice.

In the following year, he found that voice among the breathtaking landscapes of the Upper Cumberland.

“ I never expected to be a landscape painter,” said Budd. “As a young man, I did not find landscape painting interesting. Now I find it infinitely interesting.”

Born in Ball Ground, Georgia, Bud Harris Bishop started drawing as soon as he was able to hold a crayon. When a 2nd grade teacher told his mother that he had “exceptional visual acuity,” she hired a private art teacher for him. From then on, no matter where his family lived, his mother made sure he had art instruction.

“There are probably lots of kids out there who have the abilities – they just haven’t had the opportunity to find them so they don’t know it. It’s important to help kids find and develop their talents.”

Constant exposure to art and constant drawing honed his skills and he earned his way through college and graduate school on art scholarships. In 1960, he graduated from the University of Georgia with a Master of Fine Arts degree. For the next four years, he painted and was an art teacher at a private school in Nashville and a guest lecturer in art history at Vanderbilt University.

“A friend of mine in New York had an advertising agency so I left Nashville and joined him for two years. It wasn’t for me. Then I got the job at the Hunter Museum and I no longer had time to paint.”

These days the prolific Budd Bishop seems to be making up for lost time. He finishes each of his paintings, whether it is big or small, in approximately four hours. If he doesn’t see a successful painting within the first two hours, if it isn’t sending him the right signals, he’ll set it aside. He works in acrylic, watercolor, pastel and colored pencil to try and capture “a single glorious instant” in nature. His work makes that last connection to unspoiled landscapes in our fragile, rapidly changing world.

“I like to challenge myself, to give myself difficult personal assignments and to get out of my comfort zone. I’ll push myself to make a painting work a way I’ve never made it work before.”

“My creative process involves photographing the area and cropping the composition so that it translates to canvas. I often make extensive modifications to the original photo and that includes taking out manmade objects. The only manmade things that ever show up in my work are bales of hay and tombstones.”

You can see Budd’s landscapes at the Arts Company on 5th Avenue North in Nashville, in the Belmont University Student Service Bldg, in American Bank and Trust on Neal St. in Cookeville, and at his gallery/studio in Livingston by appointment.

To contact Mr. Bishop, phone 931.823.1106 or Fax 931.823.1109.

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