For many years on Glades Road I had driven by an old barn with Paul Murray’s signature piece, Lil Miss, on the side. The black and white portrait of a small girl is beautiful and haunting at the same time.
I never saw the gallery however, so I thought perhaps it was on a side road. Then one day I was traveling the Artist’s loop with a girlfriend and told her I wanted to find his gallery. And we did. And I now know why I never noticed it. I had no idea the old dilapidated looking farmhouse was in fact an art gallery!
We pulled into the gravel parking area and got out of the car. As we walked past the split rail fence I noticed a steel washtub hanging on the side of the house. We passed an old out building and what looked like a garden, although it was March so there was nothing growing just yet.
As we approached the steps to the porch leading into the gallery I noticed the railing for the steps was secured with string to a vertical post stuck in a concrete block. The steps were very worn and in need of a paint job. A picture of Lil Miss was on the porch, along with a lot of old chairs and other odds and ends. The rickety screen door had a sign that invited us in, so we opened it and entered the main area of the gallery, a former living room with a fireplace.
As you look around at the gorgeous drawings and paintings in this farmhouse it is hard to believe this is a gallery with some of the most beautiful portraits of the people of the Appalachian Mountains you will see. EVER. And therein lies the charm, we were mesmerized.
The walls had old newspapers as wall coverings. The back room contained a picture of a mountain man with a shotgun across his lap and a look that could kill. Never mind the shotgun! I believe that painting is sold now, but it sure made an impact on us when we walked into that back room. Paul Murray’s portraits capture the essence of these mountain people like no others I’ve ever seen.
If you travel to Glades Road the gallery is a must in my opinion. If you can’t get to the gallery at least take a look at the Paul Murray website, watch the video, and browse through his gallery. His work is unbelievable and well worth the trip. I get there as often as possible, and every time I’m amazed at what Paul Murray captures with just a pencil and paper.