Limited Edition Print
Edition of 750 S/N
Image: 13″ x 28.5″
Overall: 18.5″ x 33.5″
William Faulkner certainly ranks as one of our greatest American writers. His stories of the South and his apocryphal Yoknapatawpha County have been both enjoyed and agonized over by students and casual readers alike. Fictional names and places like Snopes, Compson and McCaslin as well as Frenchman’s Bend and Jeffereson come alive as the reader follows the threads deeper and deeper into the fabric which Faulkner spent a lifetime weaving. I read everything he ever wrote, in many cases more than once.
In the early 1970’s, after a two year “vacation” in the Marine Corps, I was a graduate student in American Literature, working on a Masters Thesis on Faulkner, but a business venture and my fledgling art career put my Masters plans on hold (They still are). I knew that I wanted to paint full time, and I was basically teaching myself to paint, using the abundant barns and old mills in the North Carolina mountains as subject matter. I kept thinking about what my friend and Creative Writing teacher, Michael Shaara, always preached: “Write about what you know.” I figured that applied to painting as well. (Mike knew what he was talking about; he won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1975.)
One day in the mid 70’s I was exploring an abandoned farm in the mountains of Tennessee. The farm house was entirely caved in and only the stone chimney was still standing. I kicked over some boards on the hearth and found the carved wooden bears actually in the fireplace. They had been protected by the stone fireplace and the caved in mantel for perhaps fifteen or twenty years. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and by the time I reached home I knew that I had found the main prop for a “Faulkner” painting. I added my grad school ‘Modern Library’ editions, some paperbacks and books of criticism, a couple of old tin signs and “Faulkner Country” was born.
Interestingly, some years later I did a major Ernest Hemingway piece and both pieces ended up in a “Realism” show at the Asheville Art Museum. An art critic wrote a nice review of my work but at the end of the review he wrote that I had a strange penchant for Faulkner and Hemingway, but since I was young (at the time), he hoped I would grow out of it. I did; I can’t read Faulkner anymore, but “Faulkner Country” has been and still is one of my personal favorites of all of my work.