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Couple turns a decaying tree into a stunning piece of art



(photos by Thomas Parker)

An oak tree at Jim and Karen Davis’ Lake Park home had become diseased and needed to come down. The couple decided that instead of complete removal, they would have the lower portion of the tree in their front yard turned into a piece of art.

The couple commissioned Dayton Scroggins to do a carving on the tree stump. Scroggins is a world-renowned chain saw artist. His work has been featured on “Duck Dynasty” and numerous HGTV shows including “Hometown,” He created several pieces of art from damaged trees along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.

Jim lobbied for a Labrador retriever in tribute to the family pet. Karen said that might not resonate well if the couple ever decided to sell their home. So, they settled on an eagle which was a great solution for Jim. Jim is a military veteran and proudly displays the American flag and other patriotic symbols.

Scroggins took nearly eight hours to complete the masterpiece this past Wednesday. The detail work on the eagle is amazing. Photos do not reflect the craftsmanship of this remarkable piece of art. The Davises have named the piece UUHsa for USA.

The carving is located at 107 Lakeview Drive in Lake Park.

Find out more about Scroggins’ work at his website or Facebook page.


Lenore Barkley: Art without limits



The walls of Lenore Barkley’s home are decorated with art, making it a virtual gallery.

Lenore Barkley brands her art “Fun and Zany.”

The colors she uses are vivid and bright—red, yellow, green, blue, purple, orange, pink—all the colors of the rainbow and then some. She loves textures, so her work is not only pleasing to the eye, but also to the touch.

Barkley painted the trousers she is wearing and the chair on which she is sitting using the “splattering” method.

“I see everything as a possible canvas,” Barkley said. That may include bottles, clay pots, cardboard, furniture, pennies, clothes, sticks—anything she might find. Much of her art is original, but sometimes she sees something and puts her own take on it.

Barkley was born in Russellville, Ark., and grew up in Jonesboro, where her father was a dentist.

“Mother was from Dover,” she said, a place with 500-plus residents, and her father was from Cave City, the watermelon capital of Arkansas, but “a metropolis compared to Dover.”

Barkley’s major at Arkansas State University was sociology. She flew for American Airlines “way back when they were called stewardesses and not flight attendants. My first trip was on a DC-6, so does that date me?”

She also worked for her dad as a dental assistant, and after her marriage, lived in Philadelphia, Pa., where she worked in a gift shop, “which sounds like I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.”

When she was a child in the fifth grade, the family moved to Albuquerque, N.M., and she loved the culture and beauty of the West. She was happy there, but her father thought it best not to raise his family in a large city, so they returned to Arkansas.

Barkey hated the move, and she promised herself she would never live in Mississippi or Alabama—but never say never. She grew up, married, and her husband got a job as a biologist with the government in Vicksburg. He was thrilled because of the outdoor possibilities of hunting and fishing and living near the Mississippi River.

“And I thought, well, my life has ended,” Barkley recalled.

Pennies form the mat around this mirror, which shows some of Barkley’s art in the mirror and one of her twig bouquets on the table.

In reality, she had found her niche, though it didn’t happen immediately. A neighbor told her of a job in a trailer just off the interstate where she would be giving out info to tourists. She applied for the job and got it. The trailer was the home of the local Tourist Commission (now called the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau).

She worked for two different directors, and when each resigned, she applied for their job. She landed it on the third try, heading the organization in 1976.

As director of the tourism industry in Vicksburg, Barkley had a job that was more than full time, so there was no time to pursue her art interests and talents.

She will admit that she’s not the most patient person. She is anxious to get things done and often adheres to the theory, “If it doesn’t work, read the directions.” When she went house-hunting in Vicksburg, she bought the first one she saw. The real estate agent wanted to show her others, but Barkley knew, “This is it.”

She probably inherited her artistic genes from both parents, who were potters, and she painted her first canvas when she was 21. It was a primitive, a sort of folk art, and Barley’s mother proudly hung it. Visitors mistook it for a Clementine Hunter original.

Today, her home is a virtual art gallery, and among the many “objets d’art” are a few mementos of her 16 years in the tourism business. One is a large, framed display of matchbooks from her many trips to many places.

Her talent is natural, though she did take one art class: a two-day event from Doug Walton in Ruston, La., 16 years ago.

Most of Lenore Barkley’s art is created in this backyard studio.

She works from a small studio in her back yard, and the little yellow building includes a porch and a weathervane “because this is the South.”

So, what does she paint? Just about anything she sees—there is no limit.

Barkley uses pennies to create mats for picture frames, floor mats, table coverings and other whimsical items. Her cat, Merlo, likes to sleep on the penny mats because “she may have arthritis, and copper is supposed to be a healer” for the malady.

There is no limit to her subject matter either, but she does have quite a number of items featuring cats.

There is hardly a limit to what she can turn into art, but one example is twigs or short limbs from trees in her yard. She paints them, decorates them and puts them in vases. It’s a bouquet that is always in bloom and doesn’t die, and there is no limit or shortage of supplies.

If there is a puzzle and some pieces are missing, it’s of no value, right? Wrong! Barkley takes the pieces and fashions them as branches and leaves on paintings of trees.

She paints chairs—even trousers she wears—by splattering, which is painting objects with a large, floppy brush. She paints with acrylics.

“There’s no such thing as wrong art,” is her philosophy.

Some of her creations are for sale in Vicksburg at the Old Court House Museum gift shop, at Lorelei Books, The Dragonfly, Main Street Market Cafe, The Turquoise Chandelier, the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum and in Jackson at Latitudes.











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Attic Gallery celebrates 48 years in Vicksburg



Attic gallery owner Leslie Silver and artist Keith Matthews with his contribution to the anniversary show.

For years, Vicksburg’s Attic Gallery has offered local and regional artists an outlet to display their talents and sell their work.

Friday, Oct. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m., the Attic Gallery (1101 Washington St.) will be celebrating 48 years in the community with an art show themed “When it comes to family – it’s all relative.”

“On the day of the show in October, it’ll be 48 years that I’ve been here on the corner of Washington Street,” said gallery owner Lesley Silver.

The Attic Gallery in Vicksburg.

“So we are the oldest art gallery in the state that is still owned by the original owner, and we always celebrate by having a themed show every year.”

The gallery sets the theme and then invites artists to contribute with original works. The celebration culminates with an annual show where art patrons can meet the artists.

“There’s usually about 19 to 20 [artists], and they start creating,” Silver said. “We never know what’s going to happen, so it’s always fun to see what the outcome is.

“Someone dropped off a piece for the show today and to them the Attic is family. What the theme meant to them was that the Attic was their family and we’ve all been a part of it. So it’s celebrating community.”

The artists contributing this this year’s anniversary celebration are:

  • Rick Anderson
  • Lane Berg
  • Jean Blue
  • Blockhead
  • Rob Cooper
  • Lucie Cooper
  • Wendy Eddleman
  • Lynthia Edwards
  • DaNeal Eberly
  • Elayne Goodman
  • Randy Jolly
  • Ellen Langford
  • Keith Matthews
  • Patt Odom
  • Becky Pate
  • Susie Ranager
  • Lesley Silver
  • James Smithhart
  • Jamie Tate
  • Carol Zoerb

In addition to great art, Martin’s at Midtown owners, John and Lisa Martin, have donated time and beer for those who will be attending the event.

“The Martin’s called us and said, ‘We want to do something for your show.’ So they’re going to be here and giving beer away just because they wanted to be a part of it,” Silver said. “People also bring food. There’ll be wine and camaraderie.”

Artists play a huge role in making the city what it is, and the Attic Gallery hopes to show everyone what these local artists have to offer.

“You learn from looking at people’s art,” Silver said. “You learn about yourself and your artwork so this is a learning experience.”

For more information about this event, contact the Attic Gallery at 601-638-9221, or visit the Gallery Facebook page.

“I think it’s people celebrating art,” Silver said. “It’s amazing that we’ve been able to be around this long and it’s just thanks to the support of everyone around us.

“We encourage people of all ages to come, because it’s just so much fun.”


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New Art Welcomes Visitors to Vicksburg



Artist Drew Landon Harris has made his mark on his adopted city. Originally from New Mexico, Harris has been in Vicksburg for a couple of years now. Most recently his mark is a 30 foot by 60 foot mural on the side of the downtown building at 1107 Washington Street.

Drew Harris uses a crane to put down the next layer to his art. The mural, which should be completed this week, was commissioned by a well-known local businesswoman, Kelle Barfield.

Drew Harris lays out the wording.

The artwork at 1107 Washington can be seen as you head north on Washington from downtown. It should help to welcome visitors for many years.

The artist, Drew Landon Harris.

See Harris’ other work on his website,

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