With the stroke of a brush, Hinesville artist Benjamin F. Turner Jr. immortalizes Coastal Georgia’s panoramas on large, colorful canvases for eyes to feast on for generations to come.
Turner, who has been painting for 46 years and considers art to be “a gift from God to share with others,” will have a sample of his works on display during the coming month at the Hinesville Area Arts Council’s Commerce Street gallery.
Art lovers can meet Turner and view his work during a dual-purpose reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, where Senior Pastor Dr. Richard M. Wright also will be present to sign copies of his book, “Stop the Church’s Revolving Door.”
Turner’s exhibition will feature 24 coastal scenes from Saint Simons Island to Hilton Head Island on canvases ranging from 16-by-20 inches to 30-by-40 inches, the 27-year Army veteran said. The images, painted from photographs Turner took while traveling, span from 1976-2011.
The painter, whose only formal art training was in high school, said he hopes viewers are moved to recognize “the beauty and drama of nature’s gifts.”
The work — which has been described as impressionistic, naturalistic and photo-surrealist — features vivid colors and depth, and Turner said he spends between six to 34 months working on a piece.
“Painting keeps you real,” his artist statement says. “People go to the ends of the world to search for calmness. … You can paint for hours and it seems like only a minute, and in those four hours, you’re facing your own story.”
Wright, who serves as pastor for Hinesville First United Methodist Church, said his book is heavily rooted in his doctoral dissertation, which he wrote while pursuing his doctor of ministry degree in evangelism and missions from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas.
He said churches, fraternal organizations and civic groups all have expressed interest in the book, which offers guidance on creating a structured ministry to help people reach out and build community ties.
Since releasing the piece in December, Wright has sold a couple thousand copies of the book, which is printed on demand, he said.
“I’m excited about the opening, and I hope a lot of folks will come out,” Wright said. “Outside of my church, this is actually the first signing I’ve had for this book.”
Turner’s collection will on display from Feb. 7 to March 5, and the HAAC gallery is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Wright’s book is available at www.drrichardmwright.com.