rural artists

Painting

Vignette: Macel Hamilton

“Rooster” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on wood, 12x18in, 2018, Private Collection

“Rooster” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on wood, 12x18in, 2018, Private Collection

“Serious” art people are often skittish about paintings of animals; simple, straightforward, portraits of pets are the work of “hobbyists” they might say. Yet the concept that any artist’s practice draws directly from their immediate environment and experience is a common point of discussion in any critical appraisal.

Macel Hamilton resides in the knobs of Casey County, Kentucky, a rural area in in which her menagerie of12 dogs and 12 cats is not that unusual. So why shouldn’t these plaintive yet precocious subjects serve as a valid expression of Hamilton’s environment? Hamilton was raised in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, so the attachment to the land and its non-human inhabitants comes naturally to Hamilton.

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A nurse by profession, Hamilton has only been painting for about 4 years, and for having painted for so brief a time, there is authoritative us of the brush in capturing the details of this “Rooster” that is compelling. Nothing is overworked. The relative lack of experience seems to have merged with the intimate understanding of subject to finish a simple, naturalistic expression of wariness in this Bantam’s face. It is as individual as any portrait of a human subject.

Hometown: Ligon, Kentucky
Facebook: Macel's art

“Dobey” by Macei Hamilton, Pastel on sanded paper, 14x10in, 2019, Private Collection

“Dobey” by Macei Hamilton, Pastel on sanded paper, 14x10in, 2019, Private Collection

“Horse” by Macei Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 12x10in, 2018, Private Collection

“Horse” by Macei Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 12x10in, 2018, Private Collection

“Baby” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 16x20in, 2018, Private Collection

“Baby” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 16x20in, 2018, Private Collection

“Low Rider” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 12x16in, 2019, Private Collection

“Low Rider” by Macei Hamilton, Acyrlic on canvas, 12x16in, 2019, Private Collection

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Painting

Vignette: Macel Hamilton

"Butterfly" by Macel Hamiton, Acrylic on wood, 6x12in, 2017, SOLD 

"Butterfly" by Macel Hamiton, Acrylic on wood, 6x12in, 2017, SOLD 

When someone picks up a brush and begins painting with no formal training or experience, are they hobbyist, amateur? In a time when art intelligentsia is either busy manufacturing new nomenclature to capture new trends, or rejecting all formal classifications (inter or multi disciplinary?) how do we describe the new artist who enters the fray motivated by curiosity or edification?

"Cow" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Cow" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

Consider Macel Hamilton. The designation Folk Artist connotes a lack of education and primitive technique, but Hamilton is an educated professional, and her skill after a very brief time painting is estimable, and "hobbyist" foreswears the dedication she has put to the task. Her subjects are simple: animals and insects, but she has also painted portraits of people. All of it indicates an innate skill of observation and the controlled manipulation of a brush and medium. That Hamilton often paints on unfinished wood introduces a rustic quality certainly, but compare the delicacy of her color in this butterfly and the rougher, more spontaneous marks in the image of a savage rooster improbably named “Cow”.

Clearly some of Hamilton’s work finds its roots in her rural upbringing: “I was raised in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and now live in the knobs of Casey County. I am mostly self-taught and have taken a few day classes at a local community art center. I have been painting for about a year and a half. I began doing art approximately two years ago, teaching my self to draw portraits.”

So if there must be a designation, perhaps Rural Artist would be apt in this case, a reflection of both Hamilton’s background and the sensibility expressed in her work.

 Age: 55
Hometown: Liberty, Kentucky
Education:  BS, Psychology, ADN Nursing
Facebook: Macel’s Art

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"Untiltled" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, $200

"Untiltled" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, $200

"Sarah's Love" by Macel Hamilton, pastels, 12x16in, 2017, NFS

"Sarah's Love" by Macel Hamilton, pastels, 12x16in, 2017, NFS

"Hummer" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Hummer" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on wood, 10x12in, 2017, SOLD

"Dogs" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, SOLD

"Dogs" by Macel Hamilton, Acrylic on canvas, 16x20in, 2017, SOLD

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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