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‘Closet painter’ shows work

Jerry Poppell has done folk art for years

POSTED: May 11, 2012 1:25 p.m.
Danielle Hipps/

Hinesville native Jerry Poppell painted a humorous portrait on some recycle material he found.

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Hinesville native Jerry Poppell has painted in private for more than 12 years. So he said many friends were shocked when his watercolor and acrylic works went on display last week.

“Most everybody was saying, ‘I had no idea you liked to paint,’ or ‘You really surprised me,’” Poppell said at the opening reception May 3 for his exhibition in the Hinesville Area Arts Council gallery at 102 Commerce Street.

“I’ve called myself a closet artist, because when I paint something, it just goes in the closet, and I start painting another one,” the co-owner of Farmer’s Natural Foods said.

About 80 people came to the gallery, where almost 50 pieces of Poppell’s work are on display through the month.

“If I had to put myself in a category, it would have to be folk art,” he said. “Meaning usually untrained, original art from native people, usually reflecting their tradition culture and everyday life.”

Before the exhibition, only family and close friends saw Poppell’s work, and some received it as gifts.

“But over the years, after positive comments and encouragement, I decided to share my work with the public,” Poppell said.  

His subject matter includes coastal landscapes, portraits, animals and scenes of people playing music. Some of the works were done on recycled materials.

The artist said he is inspired by the area’s “beautiful coastal landscape, and nature its own self.”

Other art also provides ideas and motivation.

He indulges in the hobby sporadically, sometimes finishing pieces in a single sitting, and other times taking time to reflect on its direction.

“At times, I may paint three to five paintings that I may like OK, but then I paint one that I’m really excited and proud of,” he said. “But many times, the ones that are not my favorite turn out to be another person’s favorite. I’ve had that happen many times, proving that art really is in the eye of the beholder.”

HAAC Chairwoman Leah Poole said the event had the second-highest turnout for HAAC opening receptions.

“The HAAC really appreciates the support of the community recognizing our great and talented local artists,” Poole said. “With our exhibits switching out on a monthly basis, there is always something new and fresh to see at the gallery.”

The gallery also will have extended hours on Thursdays to coincide with the Farmer’s Market.
Poppell expressed gratitude to the HAAC.

“I just want to encourage and inspire others to find their passion,” he said. “Like me, you may not be the most gifted and talented, but the spark of creativity is inside all of us.”

 

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