Artists to be honored Friday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 4, 2009

NATCHEz — ArtsNatchez Gallery will host an exhibit and reception for June Artists of the Month, Deborah McNeal and Doris Rodriguez from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the gallery.

McNeal, a folk artist, who grew up in her grandmother’s house, on Cemetery Road, in Natchez, attributes much of her inspiration to her childhood memories and her grandmother’s proverbs.

“When you pass my house, if you keep going, you’d run right into the river,” explains McNeal, who still lives in her grandmother’s house today.

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“My grandmother used to say things like: ‘One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,’ and ‘A stitch in time saves nine,’ and I use these sayings to paint my scenes,” said McNeal.

“I left Mississippi for a while and lived in North Carolina and this is where I really started getting into arts and crafts.”

McNeal paints in acrylic on wood, but she also enjoys quilting, making woodcrafts, life-size dolls and life-size sculptures.

McNeal is a teacher’s assistant at Frazier Primary School in Natchez.

Rodriguez, a Natchez native, was always interested in painting, but it was not until she retired from International Paper Company, and her daughter left for college, that she began to seriously study painting in oils.

She employs traditional and abstract methods of oil painting on canvas, and prefers still life, florals and landscapes, as her subject matter.

“You can achieve more detail with oils and more contrast between colors,” said Rodriguez explaining her partiality for oils over acrylics.

“I am able to express myself in my oils and it’s really fun to learn new techniques.”

Rodriguez has attended workshops in Atlanta, Nashville, Monroe, and various other southeast cities.

She accounts her tutelage under floral artist, Gloria Perkins, of Atlanta, as a major influence in her oil painting style and technique.

ArtsNatchez Gallery is located at 110 N. Union St. in Natchez and is opened daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information call 601-442-0043 or visit