Now, he’s a full time artist whose life took a turn that’s curiously close to the life is parents had.
For his parents, Virgil and Judy Hartsfield, she was the artist and he, the framer for his wife.
With the younger Hartsfield, he’s the artist, and wife Linda is the framer.
The Hartsfields travel to art shows and festivals throughout the Southeast, and this past week, were in Gulf Shores for the yearly Shrimp Festival which offers fine art and arts and crafts along with music and entertainment and of course, shrimp.
Speaking from Gulf Shores during a telephone interview, Hartsfield talked about his career and about his exhibit in place at Sylacauga’s Comer Museum and Arts Center.
“I’m so pleased that they asked me to do the show,” he said. “It’s a real honor for me to come back to my hometown and have a show.”
Home base for the Hartsfields is Daphne, Ala. now, and Hartsfield said the lifestyle he and his wife have as working artists is terrific.
“It’s a treat for us to do this,” he said. “And this business has been really good to us.”
Hartsfield’s exhibit at Comer Museum is the yearly Artists Selects Exhibit for the museum.
This is the twenty-third year for the exhibit, made possible by an endowment made by the late Donald Comer Jr. It stipulates that each year, the museum’s board of directors chooses an “Artist Selector” who in turn, nominates an “Artist Invitee” to be honored with a month long exhibit and purchase award or honorium.
This year’s Artist Selector is Jimmy Reynolds Jr., artist and board member for Comer Museum. He is a participant in the museum’s “Art in Public Spaces” program and is an active partner in the VSA Arts of Alabama nonprofit which provides arts opportunities for people with disabilities and or chronic illnesses.
Reynolds teaches children’s art lessons at Comer Museum and is currently the interim art teacher for the Sylacauga School System.
The exhibit provides a way of saluting Alabama artists and builds the museum’s permanent collection that will be enjoyed by the public for generations to come.
There will be a public reception for Hartsfield at the museum Thursday, Oct. 15 from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. The public can view the exhibit and enjoy meeting the artist along with live entertainment and hors’doeuvres.
Hartsfield specializes in traditional transparent watercolors creating realistic and sharp paintings of subjects that include still lifes and landscapes, streetscapes and natural scenes as well.
He began his career in art in 1998 and has had paintings accepted in national and regional watercolor competitions. These include the American Watercolor Society, The National Watercolor Society, Arts for the Parks, and the Georgia, Kentucky and Oklahoma Watercolor Society Shows.
He is the recipient of a number of “Best in Show” awards and other awards made in over 350 juried art shows. He has sold paintings to both private and corporate collectors.
When Hartsfield left the corporate world, he moved to Montgomery, having met his wife, who lived there at the time. They later moved to Pass Christian, Miss. to be close to Mrs. Hartsfield’s parents, and lived there when Hurricane Katrina hit Aug. 29, 2005.
“Katrina wiped us out,” Hartsfield said. “Pass Christian is where the eye of the storm Hartsfield said the area was “completely annihilated.”
Mrs. Hartsfield’s father had been ill, and died about six weeks after the storm.
For several months, the Hartsfields lived in Sylacauga as they decided what to do, living in Hartsfield’s mother’s church’s youth house.
“You go through something like that and it puts a whole different perspective on life,” he said. “Then, you’re given gifts in life that make you very humble.”
The Hartsfields then took care of the insurance issues from the loss of their home, and decided to re-establish their life in Daphne.
Hartsfield said he had art lessons in school, recalling art teacher Glenda Rumsey, and there was also the influence of his parents on his becoming an artist.
He had thoughts of attending The Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Fla, after high school, but began working in newspaper advertising.
Hartsfield said he and his wife are looking forward to the reception on Thursday, “it’s going to be fun to see some old buds,” he said.