Indoor Gallery Exhibiting Artists


Click the link above to view the full online gallery and to purchase pieces from this year's artists! Some of the artists have provided a little more information about themselves and a short video interview for us. Scroll on and enjoy as part of Virtual FESTIVAL!



Artist Statement: 

I’m a Polymer clay artist specializing in creating pigs and food. Most of my artwork has revolved around pigs. My character Pete the Pig is inspired by characters from children’s books I used to read like the Berenstain Bears, Little Critter, and Perfect the Pig. I have always enjoyed giving my pigs human characteristics and settings. My mother has linked my love for pigs to our time in Mexico when we would visit my great aunt who would take my siblings and me to see her pigs in their pigpen, and, after many visits, I developed an unconscious liking for pigs. 

I also enjoy sculpting miniature foods. All of the food I sculpt is inspired by cookbooks and online photographs. When I began sculpting with Polymer clay, I began to realize that I was able to create realistic miniatures after spending years watching Youtubers sculpt hyper-realistic food. After watching these videos, I decided to try to sculpt miniature bread, and I was delighted with the end result and my newfound ability to create a realistic piece of art. 

My preferred medium is polymer clay because I enjoy bringing my ideas to life in a more three-dimensional, tangible manner. I like the idea of transforming an ordinary block of clay into something unique and extraordinary. I enjoy the process that comes with the sculpting, from planning my ideas, sketching them out, taking the clay and shaping it, and finally baking the piece in my oven. After baking the clay, I like having the ability to be able to create molds from my pieces using Amazing Mold Putty. I have sculpted with polymer clay for about nine years, and have enjoyed seeing my growth as an artist with each new creation. My main inspiration for my sculpting has come from other artists who share their work through Youtube. I have learned how to use a wide variety of tools like sandpaper, tinfoil, pottery tools, soft pastels, toothbrushes, and craft knives to create unique works of art. My artwork has been featured at the Creative Arts Guild and Erlanger Baroness Hospital. I currently create my artwork from my home studio in Dalton.   

Any specific info you'd like to share about your piece in the exhibit. 

1950 Memories: 

I have always been fascinated by the culture of the 1950s, so I thought it would be fun to create a common locale from the time, a retro diner. I spent a few days researching different logos as well as the food that would have been served. Then, I designed my logo in Photoshop. I spent three to four weeks sculpting the burger, fries, mustard, and ketchup bottles as well as the whipped cream and cherry for the milkshake. I used resin for the drink and milkshake. Finally, I made the food tray and then spray painted and sanded the wood on which everything sits.  

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/ stay at home order? 

During these uncertain times, I have come to realize that, even though we are living in a global pandemic, my artwork doesn’t have to be living in one. I have tried to remain positive and look on the bright side of the situation. Because of the pandemic, I have had more time to create more pieces and do what I am most passionate about, which is to sculpt with Polymer Clay. I have also been able to make products for my Etsy shop, which will launch this November.




Artist Statement:

I love to paint and draw almost anything. All around I see objects and scenes that are beautiful, interesting, moving, etc and I want to share those things with others or just record them.

Any Specific info you'd like to share about your piece(s) in the exhibit?

I love the marshes in South Carolina and Georgia and they present beautiful scenes. The Joe Pie and yellow road are in middle TN. The beautiful color of the Joe Pye int he middle of the grass was such a treat when I looked out the barn door.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

Much of it from my garden or my old photos.


Artist Statement:

"I find the constant color and light shifts in the sky from dawn to dusk awe inspiring to my creativity. There is no better way for me to begin or end my day than with a glorious sunrise or glowing sunset over the river!" With my paintings, I hope to inspire that same awareness of the amazing natural world and find a sense of peace or a feeling of excitement that is reflected on canvas.

Any specific info about my paintings: 

" Private Conversation" was inspired by an artist challenge using only black and white values. The challenge inspired me in several ways, especially having the palette reduced to the use of black and white. It is amazing the various images that can be created with just those two values. I don't always know ahead of time exactly how I want the completed painting to look. I tend to use familiar images that show up in my paintings often such as the birds. Outside my studio window are woods that allow me to see many types of birds which I love to watch and inspire me. Depending on the subject matter I will sometimes paint in a much more abstract way such as with the "Approaching Storm". It was a painting that sort of "painted itself', by which I mean it evolved as I laid in a background layer of paint and with each layer it became a stormy landscape. "Fields of Fall" is the result of many trips to the beach in the fall. There is a distinct difference in summer and fall seasons and the way they look as you view the ocean in the distance. I am not sure what inspired "Moonscape" but it was definitely a fun composition that I felt compelled to paint -obviously totally from my imagination. It went through many phases but ultimately always remained the same. I never know how paintings like that will turn out. 

Having so much time to consider doing things that are important to me gave me time to take a break from painting and freed me to just "be". With no deadlines in sight I spent a lot of time outside working in my yard, pulling weeds and vines growing in from the woods next to the house. Living in the city, it became so so quiet, with absolutely no traffic sounds since everyone was staying put. Things like the singing of birds was suddenly magnified and their voices were each so distinct. I would be awoken early in the morning with their conversations and singing and the chattering of the chipmunks- that it was just a plain inspiring way to start the day. I loved getting to feel so close to nature and forget all the craziness that was going on outside my stay-at-home world. 
Now with traffic sounds starting up again the birds voices are muffled and the sounds of the city interrupt my peace and quiet. It has made me aware of how the time I spentin near silence with the surrounding birds, rabbits and chipmunks will stay with me forever. 
I'm so thankful for that special time I had to just "be". What could be more inspiring to creativity than that?


Artist Statement:

I draw or paint because something - sunlight coming from behind a morning glory, shadows cast by a bridge onto the water, the blue color of someone's eyes - is so very beautiful to me that I want to capture it. I want the subsequent creation to convey to the viewer the feeling of beauty or color or light that stirred me. I want to share the feeling of that moment. The play between light and shadow never ceases to amaze me. I try to include this in my work, in the depth and movement. I lose track of time and find renewal when I create.

Any specific info about your pieces?

The small peony painting is colored pencil on canvas. It was an experiment. I find it very pleasing.

The gerber daisies were also an experiment. Under drawing of graphite. I do think the look is a good one.

The watercolors allow me to loosen up, be a little free after the tightness of pencils.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

My garden and the bouquets my husband brings me.




Artist Statement:

I paint a variety of subjects, whatever I find interesting. Like many artists, I'm particularly drawn to dramatic lighting and color. The medium I use is chosen by how effective it might be to convey the look I want to achieve.

Any specific info about the pieces?

The three oils I've submitted are of coastal areas I've visited. The two watercolors are subjects in my neighborhood.



Artist Statement:

Weaving has been a journey into a new-to-me, but ancient, medium that I would have never dreamed of exploring had it not been for a chain of events in my life that led me from being a designer to being an artist. I draw my inspiration from my background in textiles and a love of texture and color, and I try to honor life experiences we all have as humans. Woven on a simple frame loom, the process of this free-style weaving compares to sculpture in the way that anything can be created. Often I start with an idea and a plan, but in the end, it feels like its the weaving itself that determines what it will be, and I am just its instrument. I've never experienced that with other art media. My work this year I am calling Departures. Pieces stretch the medium of fiber art and bring in other media and unique materials push­ing what is usually considered craft into the fine art arena. 

Specific info about your pieces?

I must tell you about the afghan in Relic I. I come from a long line of women and yarn. My grandmother crocheted, and I vaguely remember that maybe her mother did? My mother did. I tried when I was twelve, but I didn't have the patience. I certainly couldn't make one of these throws, but oh my grandmother and mom did. As a small child, I would hide under these things and watch Scooby Doo. The holes allowed viewing with just the right amount of protection. Upon my grandmother's death I was given an acrylic beige crocheted throw that had been made by my mother as a gift for her mother. My mother had passed years before, and the aunts thought I would like to have it. Ok, so here I admit ... .I don't really like crochet. I especially don't like acrylic yarn. But there I was, given yet another afghan. (I am pretty sure the one that she had made me ended up at Goodwill). It sat in a trunk for a few 
years until I decided to shred it. and put it in this piece. I think about the strengths of my mother and her mother, and the strength passed to me. It has been getting me through this year. 

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

Inspiration has been tough. Forty Days is about the pandemic and about my time at home. Emphasis on TIME. It was a journey for me that allowed me to be still as my hands and mind worked through things. I've found a needed stillness in the color and texture as I've dealt with this year"s events.






Artist Statement:

My inspiration comes from my love of nature and the environmental beauty around me. My palette can range from very simple color combinations to more varied choices. Since I am self-taught, I am still trying to find my style and learn as much as I possibly can to improve my work.

Specific info about any pieces?

Hazy Hydrangea - You can find beauty eve on dark days.


Artist Statement:

I am a self-taught artist that enjoys combining different mediums to create unique and unusual pieces of art. Since retiring I have the freedom of spending time trying different techniques that lead to unexpected satisfying results. I don’t look at my work in terms of how long it took to create but how much I  enjoyed the journey . It’s an amazing feeling when something totally comes together and you know it’s just as you envisioned.

Any specific info about your pieces?

I have always enjoyed outdoor activities and creating pieces that reflect my experiences give me great satisfaction. I would like people  to look at  my pieces and wonder how it was created, that’s why I enjoy incorporating different mediums. I’ve always enjoyed “ coloring outside the lines” to see what happens next. Sometimes it works and others not so much, but I’m ok with that too! At least I tried. 

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

I have spent many hours watching YouTube in an attempt to learn new techniques. Spending time reflecting on the current events I came to the realization that no matter how crazy this world seems, life still moves forward. God is ultimately still in control and there is joy to be found. My flowers still bloomed and the hummingbirds came back, and it’s up to me to take this opportunity to enjoy this time in my studio.


Artist Statement:

Robert Garren Hall is known in the Tennessee Valley for his evocative images of Southern Americana. His subjects range from depictions of charming small town scenes, Southern landscapes and memorabilia, to his renditions of vintage, often rusted, cars and trucks.Garren has always loved to draw. As a child his favorites were his drawings of comic-book-style-art. As a young man he also spent many weekend afternoons watching “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross on PBS, finding Ross’s style and techniques “accessible.” In 2002, after his mother saw an ad for a new art studio and gallery located in St. Elmo offering paint classes, Garren enrolled and studied for a year with Certified Bob Ross Instructor, Joyce Meffert. He then continued his studies with artist Brenda Wright in East Ridge, TN, and has been developing his own unique style ever since. He paints with both oils and acrylics.Garren enjoys traveling around the Chattanooga/North Georgia region photographing potential subjects for his paintings. He calls his method “reference painting,” often combining elements from several photographs to create one work.Asked what drives his art, Garren says, “I paint things I know. And I have to feel a passion for whatever I’m painting.” Garren is a member of the Civic Arts League, Inc. and the Regional Art Alliance. His other interests include music, cars and his church family.


Artist Statement:

In my Chinese-American parentage, my growing up years in New York City and now in my Tennessee environment I find views and ideas seen or hidden in memory just waiting to be expressed in abstract industrial or earthy themes. Embracing the varieties of life and cultures I've experienced allows me the surprise and satisfaction of creating my work in different mediums: acrylic, mixed media, collage or assemblage. As I work I'm always asking the "what if' questions ... what if I use this color, what if I change this shape or what if change the orientation. As an artist I find that the "what if' questions not only pertain to my art but are also life's biggest questions. I hope the viewer can find answers in my work to the "what if' questions.


Artist Statement:

My art work goes from the seemingly slick to the organic. I like to work in varied mediums from free standing mixed media forms to tubular knit 3D forms.  Much of my work tends towards an energetic abstraction or a meditative study that I hope will bring the viewer in to touch it.  My suspended tubular knit pieces cannot be contained; they must be free to dance in the air currents casting shadows, thus making their own art form.


Artist Statement:

There has never been a time in life where Melissa was not creating. She sees art in everything around her. Drawing inspiration by organic movements and water Melissa creates as if the world is broken into many pieces rather than a whole. The way light reflects and plays tricks creating many forms to create one body is how each piece is created. Alcohol inks are her desired medium. Inks have a mind of their own and each piece is a separate challenge. Abstracts are a favorite because Melissa never backs down from a challenge and inks are definitely that as they create a unique challenge with every ebb and flow.

Any specific info about your pieces?

I love a challenge and working with Alcohol Inks I have a very unique one as the inks seem to have a mind of their own. Just as I am inspired by water and motion the inks have a movement to them like no other. You must really adapt with each movement in order to create the result that you wish to achieve.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

I am always inspired by organic movements. Being at home has allowed for extra time outdoors. I draw inspiration from swimming, walking in the beautiful mountainous area, and kayaking in our lake.


Artist Statement:

I am working part-time in accounting. I enjoy painting in my off time. I am inspired by being outdoors and my daily walks.


Artist Statement:

The use of patterns, textures, color, and glazing to suggest shapes and venues and sometimes figures and faces are in my acrylic/mixed media paintings. My hope is that the artwork will have the viewer stop, look, and determine what they feel; hope that it gives a feeling of enjoyment. .If you have artwork, it should bring contentment. Being an assemblage artist, the criteria remains the same. 

Any specific info about your pieces?

The pieces that were chosen give an overall feel for what I do as an artist. They convey what I love: texture, color, patterns, etc. The 3D assemblage uses the same criteria as my paintings.

Where have you been drawing inspiratino from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

The stay at home order was like (I feel) a prison sentence. No interaction (except text & phone) with fellow artists. So being in the studio was my therapy; it brought me happiness and a feeling of daily accomplishment.



Artist Statement:

Before I began studying art, I looked at my surroundings but never really saw them. The details and colors, I fear, had never been fully appreciated.   The nuances of color in the sky, the delicious details of a flower are examples of the joy that I now find in my surroundings.  In composition, I’m especially drawn to bolder colors and texturing.  I derive much satisfaction by creating challenges for myself in subject matter as well as composition.  If I can create an interesting piece that speaks to each viewer in a personal way then I have accomplished my goal. 

Any specific info about your pieces?

For one piece, I wanted to create a painting with a backdrop of texture.  I sealed a textured fabric to a canvas.  As paints were applied, they began to perform their own dance in, over, under and around the texture.  It became mesmerizing to see how the colors and applications began to find their own way.  It had to become a painting with rhythm.  Thus, ‘Come Dance With Me’ was born. 

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during Covid 19 stay at home order? 

At first, inspiration was hard to find.  The first paintings were quite dark.  I discovered that my emotions were revealing themselves in my art.  With time and as I have acclimated myself to staying at home,  I have found inspirations in old photos and my own backyard.  “Sunday Best” was inspired by butterfly activity around our koi pond.  An artist friend asked me if I’d like to be art accountability buddies.  I did and it has been a great help in my regaining my focus.  Through texts, emails and Zoom, we share ideas and progress. 


Artist Statement:

Music is a large part of my artistic inspiration. I like to say "work hard" and paint for yourself. I am always saying to people that I get music and art therapy every day. I am hoping to show movement and energy in my work, along with a freedom of play and uniqueness and enjoyment. My intention is to give the viewer freedom for their own interpretation.

Any specific info about your pieces?

A diverse range of mediums using collage, batik, acrylic, ink. I normally start most paintings in an intuitive play of marks. My style is abstract impressionism and I'm not concerned with replicating my subject. When I plein aire I like to conentrate on one subject and expand on it, using color and design. The approach is one of freedom of expression by giving the viewer excitement and mystery.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home?

I always draw inspiration from music and my surroundings on my small farm of 21 years in the Sequatchie Valley. I usually paint daily and am represented in 3 galleries, so they give me purpose to paint.




Artist Statement:

I create hand powered pendulum machines with single and dual rotation points.  A single touch can move the piece for a half hour.  Materials are iron, brass, copper, aluminum and baked enamel. Engraving panels are pure copper sheet, starting with an acidic cleaning bath and then sketching with ink.  Knives, stone wheels, steel brushes and sand papers are used to engrave the image by overlapping textures and heating isolated areas with a blow torch to develop oxidation colors in the copper.

Anything specific about your pieces?

My art is created with the intention to be touched and played with.  The pendulum machines let you alter the balance points and create secondary motion.  The copper engravings are composed of multiple texture layers so that watching it from different angles reveals different images and patterns.  Occasional large scale (8' to 20') commissions for corporate, hospital, private, city and university clients.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home?

What a very interesting thing to think about inspiration right now.  It has really been quite direct; going from thought to production quickly.   Making the decision to create a kind of hurried thing; to hold a simple idea into the art. Too few words may be a good way to feel it.  A light tilt of the head can express so much when it can have that moment.




Artist Statement:

Ann Nichols is a contemporary realist painter who works with oil on panel. An artist since 1980, she has explored vartous subject matter in series - finally settling on realistic still lifes in 1994. Her current series, "Split Focus," represents a departure from the traditional still-life format. Dividing the picture plane into two unequal sections, the small detailed paintings possess a bold presence. Exotic birds balance delicate eggs, nests, flowers or fruit in each piece. "After working on a rather large scale for about 20 years, I wanted to do a series of miniature paintings that resembled 'little jewels," said Ms. Nichols. "I feel the brilliant colors and iridescent jewel tones of hummingbirds convey my intention." 
Ms. Nichols' has a BS, MS and a BFA in painting. The winner of 4 gold medals, she was juried into the Tennessee State Museum's "The Best of Tennessee" exhibition and her painting was purchased by the museum for its permanent collection. Her solo exhibitions include Hunter Museum of Art; Customs House Museum, Marietta-Cobb Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Tennessee Arts Commission and Dalton Creative Arts Guild. Her paintings are in the public collections of Tennessee State Museum, Humer Musetum, TVA, Opryland Hotel, Baylor School, Memorial Hospital, Benwood Foundation, and First Tennessee Bank among others.


Arstist statement:

I paint with acrylic, oil, pastel, spray paint and charcoal. I create abstract expressionism and my paintings are built in layers. This allows me to scrape and reveal previous colors or marks. I deconstruct the subject and lay out the essentials of light, color, tone, movement and texture. This process starts intuitively and I then adjust my compositions by adding bold contrasts of pastel or color stroke. I enjoy playing between force and movement, aiming for a sense of balance. Palettes knifes are my favorite tool and textures are very important in my work. 
My influence or inspiration comes from what I see around me, virtually or in reality. I like to observe shadow and line and allow it to become my meditation practice. I like to take a mindful walk, observe and breathe. I paint because it makes me a better person. Painting gives me a sense of tranquility where I have no anxiety, no depression, and feel completely free. My work reflects that energy and, as a result, my abstract paintings show a balance between beauty and chaos. 

Any specific info you'd like to share about your pieces in the exhibit? 

The piece lntime is a portrait of my dad who passed away several years ago. I couldn't remember every details of his face and I just went with the palette knife everywhere. This piece was a shift for me, and really represent my work of this years. It's really about the balance of lost line and define edge. I like playing with the abstraction and this piece show it well.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

I normally plan my year of production a head and I really try to stick with it because I invest a lot of work in the planning. However, I might put a little more smiley piece in there. But, in general the stay at home order didn't affect me because my studio is at home. 


Artist Statement:

I fell in love with art as a child, spending most of my time sketching and drawing comic strips. I went through several art mediums from web comics to building puppets before finding a love for painting a few years ago. I love the process of watching things build on a canvas until I get it just the way I want it. I prefer working with acrylics, sometimes with a charcoal base underneath.

Any specific info about your pieces?

I really enjoy capturing movement and did a series of dancers. Swingin' came from that series and was a really fun challenge. Calming Tides came from experimenting with a dabbed brush, and I love how it turned out.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

I normally work day-to-day in my home studio, so COVID-19 has not changed a lot for me. My 5 year old daughter and wife have been home since March, so our pace has slowed down a lot. My daughter loves to paint, so I've gotten a lot of inspiration from teaching her and experiencing things she enjoyes painting. I've also drawn inspiration from nature and current events.



Artist Statement:

My home is very eclectic because I’m drawn to things that do not necessary “go together” but somehow they combine in a way that is pleasing to me. The same is true of my art. I paint pieces that are somehow pleasant even if they are not entirely defined. I enjoy using bright colors and frequently paint faces or  impressionistic florals. I also like a gritty distressed look which I often create sometimes incorporating papers and objects into the paintings to give them a texture. When I like what I paint, I am happy. When other also like what I paint, I am ecstatic.  

Any specific info about your pieces?

I posted these pieces on Facebook and it has been interesting to hear the various comments about these pieces and to see which ones have had the most reactions.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

It has been difficult to paint while isolated. I generally draw on the energy of being around others and often paint with friends but that has not been possible for almost 6 months. I’m excited about this exhibit and hope that it will inspire me to get busy in the studio.


Artist Statement:

I consider myself a folk artist who loves to create artwork that reflects my passion to conserve the planet in a quirky, fun-loving and childlike way. I enjoy challenging my imagination by using as many recycled materials as possible in my artwork. It is so much fun to view an object and imagine using it in a totally unexpected way to give the artwork its own unique personality.

My goal is to create artwork that brings a smile to the viewer and awakens their childlike imagination as they try to figure out what everyday objects are used in its making. Perhaps seeing objects that are viewed as “trash” in a new, positive light might bring about a change in our rampant consumerism.

Any specific info you’d like to share about the pieces in the exhibit:

Most of the pieces are created from rusty, vintage items, saving a little bit of nostalgic history for the future. 

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID -19/stay at home order:

As I have been unable to visit flea markets and junk shops it has caused me to become more creative with the limited items I currently have on hand. It forced me to think creatively of new ways to use them. 



Artist Statement

I have always been drawn to wood and turned my first bowl in 1959, but I only began to think of it as an artistic medium after the turn of the century. I grew up in the Arizona desert where dramatic textures abound, and sunsets are more often thannot, stunning. I was fortunate, at the same time, to be able to explore the wonderful world of the ocean, its moods, tidal pools, the magic it revealed as the water disappeared twice daily. The wideopen spaces of Texas and the forests of the north Georgia mountains taught me to expect a delightful surprise in the most unexpected places. Today I work almost exclusively with rescued hardwoods native to the southeastern states because I feel there is so much variety and beauty in wood that would otherwise be wasted. I prefer not to encourage unnecessary harvesting of these wonderful resources. While there are certainly spectacular wood species in distant lands, there is plenty of exotic to go around among our domestic varieties. I like nothing better than to start with a piece of wood seemingly destinedfor the fireplace or the soil of the forest floor and transform it into a wonderful delight for sight and touch. I strive to make each piece a wonderful visual and tactile experience with that indefinable “Ahhh!” quality.

Any specific info you'd like to share about your piece(s) in the exhibit?

These works are a collaboration of 17 years of exploring woodturning techniques and a lifetime of collecting inspirational impressions and memories.

Where have you been drawing inspiration from during COVID-19/stay at home order?

Shapes, patterns, textures, and colors are the core of my inspiration, and I find them all around me whether I can leave home or not. Nature has taught me to look twice, look closely, and look with more than my eyes. Take a long look at the pattern in bark of the next tree you pass! Pay attention to the texture of the leaves you are walking through! You will understand!The impressions and echoes of those experiences and more have been my artistic mentors and guide the forms I create. I still turn traditional bowls and vessels, but transforming the inspirations of nature into something wonderful to see and touch is what I enjoy most.