The Dixie Carter Performing Arts & Academic Enrichment Center’s Ballroom Gallery hosted an opening reception on Saturday, Nov. 2 for its current art exhibit, “Return to Sea.”
The evening honored Huntingdon native, Miranda Dodds Sampson, in her first solo exhibition. A warm crowd of friends, family, and guests were in attendance to view the art and hear the artist speak about her artwork.
Miranda proudly grew up in Huntingdon and is the youngest daughter of Raymond and Becky Dodds. She attended Huntingdon High School and then Middle Tennessee State University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations emphasis with a minor in Psychology and Visual Art. After her university studies she moved Jamaica where she currently resides with her husband and three children.
Miranda strongly believes that island life has influenced her color palate and significantly strengthened her perspective and inspiration as an artist. She is both a photographer and painter. Although she keeps the two mediums in a separate space, she finds the layering in a photograph much like the layering process of encaustic. “The intention behind my artwork is to capture the essence of the land and seascape around me. My inspiration comes from nature as well as the natural beeswax that I use to create my artwork. Nature is always showing me how to use colors and pattern in my work. I am an artist that works primarily with encaustic to create artwork that evokes a sense of calm in our fast-paced world.”
The artist spoke during the reception about her inspiration and the process of creating the paintings now hanging in the Ballroom Gallery. She explained how encaustic is an ancient technique for painting with wax that dates back to the early Egyptians. The materials used are all natural beeswax and resin from tree sap on wood panels. She described how the wax is fused to the wood with heat from a blow torch, and oil paints or inks are added along with multiple layers of wax to create each piece.
The exhibition took over a year of planning and preparation. She had to get many of her pieces from Jamaica to Tennessee. Some of the larger pieces she created in Huntingdon while visiting with her parents. There are 47 individual paintings on display in the gallery. Some are designed as sets of 2 or 3. They are all for sale, and many pieces were sold during the reception. “Return to Sea” will be on display in The Dixie’s Ballroom Gallery through January 25, 2020. The gallery is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are weekdays from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. For additional information about this and other art exhibits at The Dixie, contact Laura at Ldeville@dixiepac.net