Natchez artist Bernard opens new gallery downtown

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &045; Opening her business, Bernard Gallery Services, at 111 N. Pearl St., was a big step for Catina Bernard, 31, an artist and graphics designer.

&uot;It isn’t easy to be a black, young, single woman opening your own business,&uot; she said, showing some of her artworks and designs on display in the studio and shop.

With talents in music and art, she accepted a partial scholarship to Mississippi College to study music after excelling in the band at Natchez High School.

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&uot;I stayed in the band at Mississippi College for two years,&uot; she said. She took art courses for her liberal arts requirements and became more and more interested in art.

She completed her degree in graphic design and minored in business. As one who liked to work in her own art style, she was not sure the art courses would be beneficial. &uot;But I found they did enhance my drawing and taught me perspective and symmetry.&uot;

She lingered in Jackson for a short time after graduation. &uot;I missed home and family, though, and I came back to Natchez and began work at Alcorn.&uot;

At Alcorn State University, she began working as a library assistant. She enjoyed helping students in the library, she said. &uot;But I realized this had nothing to do with my field. I began to look for more graphic design courses but didn’t find them.&uot;

Still, she was talented on the computer and began to generate ideas and to design items such as fliers and brochures.

Today, the tables are turned, she said, as she now spends much more time on her art, which can range from oil to pencil. However, she knows her best source of income likely will be creating graphic designs.

She can produce stationery, invitations, programs, resumes and other items for businesses or individuals. And, of course, she continues to create brochures and fliers.

Recently, her painting of the gazebo on the bluff was chosen as the artwork for Vision Natchez T-shirts. She created a logo design that included the artwork.

Portraits are one of her specialties. She can create a quick 30-minute sketch or position of the face in profile view; sketch a more detailed drawing that requires about three to five hours; or create the detail portrait in about five to eight hours.

She opened the business in October 2004 and, despite struggles with unexpected expenses, she finds the business is growing. &uot;As soon as you make a profit, you have to turn it back into the business. And you have to sacrifice.&uot;

As a lupus survivor, she struggled to return to good health only a few years ago. Then, unexpectedly, she had a stroke in May 2004. &uot;It affected my vision and my strength. I was weak on one side of my body,&uot; she said. &uot;I call it a miracle, a makeover of my body by God.&uot;

With rehabilitation, she learned to walk and talk again. &uot;Day by day I would see something new I could do.&uot;

She continues to love music. And she sings as often as she can while putting most of her emphasis on the business. &uot;God gives all the directions. As long as he sees fit, I will stay here.&uot;