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Betty Hale Grugin, Libert's coastal artist
Treasures of Midway
Col Norsworthy art
One of Grugin's paintings - photo by Photo by Matt Norsworth
Are you looking for a painting that represents coastal Georgia, particularly the natural beauty of Liberty County in the Midway and Sunbury area? Then you should look for one of Betty Hale Grugin’s beautiful works of art.
Grugin has lived in Sunbury for 26 years with her husband, retired Army Col. (ret.) William (Bill) Grugin.
The Grugins moved to Liberty County when Bill was stationed at Fort Stewart in 1981 and retired after 30 years. The two have lived all over the world.
In addition to serving in both wars in Korea and Vietnam, Bill Grugin was a military attaché in Columbia and Peru and head of the military program at the University of Puerto Rico.
Betty Grugin worked part time and for brief stints, whenever possible, while her husband served and their two daughters were growing up. She didn’t start painting until the late 1970s when she had more time and fewer distractions.  She said she became truly inspired when they moved to Sunbury.  
The Midway and Sunbury area made painting, “easy because of the beautiful scenery, fish and wildlife,” Grugin said. Many of her paintings are of sites in Liberty, Bryan and Chatham counties, but most of the nature and wildlife works are from right here in our own backyard.  
Grugin’s earlier art consists of palate knife oil paintings and brush oil paintings. But her most recent work is in watercolors.
Her paintings became quite popular through out the 1980s and 90s, especially her watercolor paintings of the sites and nature found along the coast.
Grugin became a part owner of the Signature Gallery in downtown Savannah that featured a lot of her work and exposed her to people from throughout the world.  Her work became so popular she would spend many sleepless nights painting into the wee hours in order to supply the intense demand for her art.
Grugin said she, “admired Monet and probably would have been an impressionist, but her niche and her greatest skills were in the watercolor paintings of the area.”  
She was commissioned to create the locally popular “Liberty County, Georgia” print found in many homes and businesses today. Grugin even did a one-woman art tour of Germany in the early 1980s because of the popularity of her coastal paintings.
She is quite proud of her art career, but after talking with her you will realize this is not the only aspect in her life. She and her husband have many stories to tell of their adventurous life and their love of the Midway and Sunbury area.
They also enjoy spending time with their family, including five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Because of health-related concerns, Grugin has not been painting in nine years.  She also sold her interest in the Signature Gallery in Savannah about the time she stopped painting.  
At this time, people can only buy Grugin’s paintings from The Midway Gallery or from private collectors.
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