Mississippi Delta Sunsets Nourish The Soul

Artist Greg Birdsong observes Mississippi Delta sunsets and paints them, often in miniature.

Greg Birdsong Mississippi Delta Sunset miniature painting titled SKY RIDER

Greg Birdsong Mississippi Delta Sunset miniature painting titled SKY RIDER

By MAGICAL MADGE

Clarksdale, Mississippi

If you follow THE Delta Bohemian®–Poor William, Pontificus Minimus, Chilly Billy–also known as Billy Howell on Facebook, then you know how possessed he is with sharing, via his iPhone camera, the magnificent glory of the evening skies in the Mississippi Delta.

Billy snaps photographs. Greg Birdsong, another Delta Bohemian® and native of Clarksdale, observes Mississippi Delta sunsets and paints them, often in 6″ x 6″ miniature. His little paintings can surprise when placed in just the right spot in a home or office. I gave one to my niece who had been living in New York City to help keep her connected to where she grew up.

Do you want to be reminded of this special place by hanging a painting where you live or work? If so, buy one of Greg’s miniature treasures or commission him to do one especially for you. You will bless him and yourself at the same time!

Greg served as an apprentice for my cousin the portrait artist, the late Marshall Bouldin III. I asked Greg to tell me how he came about working with the master painter. Here is what Greg had to say.

“I asked Marshall to look at my sketchbooks. I was feeling empty inside working as a full time bartender/waiter, and I wanted his advice on whether I should pursue art as a full-time career. After a good long visit and a lengthy critique, he convinced me to quit my job and work with him.

He tried to tell me I had “raw, real talent.” The rare kind. He would not teach me, he said. He just thought I should be around him and the world of professional portraiture. All of this surprised me, since I had never even painted a portrait. I worked mainly from imagination, which he called “True art.” He said his talent was work ethic and perseverance. My talent was creativity and application.

He would tell this story to people when he spoke of my talent. He used to joke about when I would come in with a blank canvas, and he would ask me what I was gonna paint. I would tell him, “hmm, don’t know yet.” lol. And he would continue telling the story by saying “then he (me) would come out three hours later with a beautiful work of art!” I would get incredibly embarrassed. He taught me that you just nod and say thank you. “True artists are bad about receiving compliments,” he said. “The bad ones are lookin’ for them.” Absolute truth in that statement. He was so unabashedly honest and to the point.

He encouraged me to work plein-air landscapes in my spare time.

For him, he had me stretch the canvases, transfer his drawings onto the canvas, tone wash and then under-paint. Once he saw all of that came easy to me, he would challenge me. And I would step up.

Once he asked me to just go ahead and complete a portrait of his because he had a few going. He planned on re-painting in places and making it his own of course. About 4 days later I came in with a pretty fantastic portrait. His quote, “wow!” He said it was perfect. Too perfect…. I left him nothing to do. So I took it and messed it up a lil, painted over the face, and gave it back to him to work on. We both laughed about it.

From that point on he started letting me do a great deal of the under painting. Some of it was good enough, that he would not touch it and leave a lil of my painting in the final painting.

It started off, he needed me to stretch canvases, drive for him, grocery shop for dr B, wash the dog…. Famous artist assistant stuff. But it became so much more. He became a mentor in art and life and my best friend for many years. I loved him and he loved me. We cried often together. We prayed together often. He stayed true to his word that he would not teach me but rather encourage me. We went to every museum we were close to and soaked up the masters together…. And discuss what Rembrandt did wrong. Lol. I’ve begun to ramble….”

–Greg Birdsong, artist

Greg was Marshall’s Apprentice for nine years until his death.

When I asked the Itawamba Community College graduate what influences his work today, he said, “As far as influence…. I don’t pick up a pencil or brush without him on my mind.”

The National Arts Club in New York City recently featured Greg Birdsong at a special event on the Thursday leading up to the Annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park on June 14, 2014.

We highly encourage you to consider purchasing a painting from this Mississippi Delta Artist.

Contact Greg Birdsong @ [email protected].
Greg’s phone number is 662-401-2867.
Greg’s Facebook Page.

Artist Greg Birdsong from Clarksdale, Mississippi

Artist Greg Birdsong from Clarksdale, Mississippi

Artist Greg Birdsong from Clarksdale, Mississippi

Artist Greg Birdsong from Clarksdale, Mississippi

Artist Greg Birdsong from Clarksdale, Mississippi

Artist Greg Birdsong from Clarksdale, Mississippi

 


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