Sitting on the shores of Logan Martin Lake, this is where the artist concentrates on his work and uses the tranquility that surrounds him to create.
Artist Art Bacon has lived in the quiet compound that houses his home and studio since the 1970s, and to this day, it’s his favorite place to find his muse.
“This is all I want, a peaceful place to paint,” he says, standing in the midst of the close to seven acres of his property.
And paint he does, Bacon is halfway into his seventh decade and after retiring from a long career as a biology and art professor, Bacon has focused on his art since retirement.
With an exhibit in place this month at the Pell City Library, Bacon has been adding up lots of other accolades for his work.
In August, Bacon’s depiction of “The Burning Bus,” which actually happened in Anniston during the early Civil Rights years was selected by the Birmingham Museum of Art for its permanent collection. The painting is part of the museum’s “Etched in Collective History” exhibit, along with two other Bacon pieces.
Bacon said he painted the piece chosen for the permanent collection about a year ago.
On a similar note, Bacon has several pieces displayed at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, showing scenes of that era, during which Bacon was a young man.
Taking a look at Bacon’s background, his interests follow both an artistic path as well as a scientific one.
He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Talladega College and his master’s degree in zoology from Howard University.
Later came a doctorate in protozoology from the University of Miami and postdoctoral research completed at the University of California at Berkeley as well as work completed at Harvard University’s Senior Administrators Summer Program.
Scientific interests aside, Bacon said he’s always had a leaning toward the arts and has had the interest since he was a young boy.
In recent years, Bacon has added poetry to accompany his paintings, and said he wants to continue with more of that additional expression in the future.
For now, Bacon says he’s “not painting as much as I need to, but I usually do paint some every day.”
His studio in the woods holds plenty of pieces in progress; there are single and group portraits, landscapes and sites of interest he’s found throughout Alabama and beyond.
He does a good bit of his work in acrylics, many of them large canvas pieces, painted in a loose but realistic style.
Bacon also works with washes and ink and said he does favor a black and white effect in his art at times.
He still offers lessons for both beginners and more advanced artists and for children and adults, too.
As far as the beginners go, Bacon said they often surpass their expectations.
“In most cases, they really surprise themselves,” he said.
Bacon has created his own private gallery inside his home, where those interested in his art are invited to visit and may contact him for an appointment by calling 256-268-2697.
In the main gallery, Bacon has placed a portrait of President Barack Obama, along with samples of other pieces he’s done through the years.
Retired since 2009, Bacon’s plans are to continue his painting and writing just as he’s always done.
His work is also on display at Birmingham’s Atchison Gallery and inside Gabriel’s Restaurant in Birmingham’s Civil Rights District.