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Artist Spotlight: Henry Gaines

Posted: November 7, 2013 - 9:36am
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Henry Gaines
Henry Gaines

A native Augustan, Henry Gaines credits an art teacher in junior high school for starting him on a life-long path of creative living. When he rotated through art, his teacher was Jean Jackson.

“I think it was her first teaching job, but she was eager to teach and very innovative. Even on the little money available to junior high schools for art, she introduced us to more than was probably expected. We used milk cartons, cans from the cafeteria, and she even had a load of Georgia red clay delivered. We had to clean it of rocks and debris before it could be used, but it worked.

She also taught us lead casting, paper Mache, mosaics, plaster sculpting and clay pottery using Georgia red clay. I made a small African mask that could be worn on a chain and a small ‘pinch pot’ bowl that I still have today. I don’t know what became of her, but she left a positive impression on me regarding art and the importance of funding art in junior high schools. When I was 14, just on a whim, I carved an African type mask out of a piece of 2 x 4 pine board using a screw driver as a chisel and stained it with cordovan shoe polish. I have kept it all these years. Once when I retrieved it from the attic, I was amused to see that it had added its own realistic touch…one of the broad nostrils was leaking resin.”

Gaines began his higher education at Augusta State University studying Biology and later transferred to the University of Georgia. He obtained a B.S. in biology, medical technology and began studies for a master of science degree. When Doctors Hospital in Augusta was completing construction, he was offered a position opening the clinical laboratory and blood bank and continued in that position for 25 years. His studies in biology gave him a strong science foundation for his watercolor paintings, and he continued painting and attending workshops throughout his career.

He has studied with Jim Gensheer, Cathy Marberry for oils, Michael Pearson and Lou Ann Zimmerman. It was in Zimmerman’s class that Gaines understood what the wet-on-wet technique was in watercolor painting and how it can help develop a painting.

“My favorite subjects to paint are salt marsh grasses, the seashore, and flowers. I love everything about the seashore and the coastal estuaries--the smell, the sound, the food, fiddler crabs, and the white birds," he said.Reach Gaines at h.gaines09@comcast.net.

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