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The Dart: Natchez resident making most of surroundings

Carolyn Harper works on a watercolor painting at her home. Harper started as a drafter doing architecture drawings, which she still does today, that are meant to be as realistic as possible. She has since picked up painting and enjoys being able to create her own sceneries that may not exist in real life. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Carolyn Harper works on a watercolor painting at her home. Harper started as a drafter doing architecture drawings, which she still does today, that are meant to be as realistic as possible. She has since picked up painting and enjoys being able to create her own sceneries that may not exist in real life. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Carolyn Harper uses the beauty around her to create art.

Deer, turkey and flower paintings are not the only items that hang on Harper’s walls — they are joined by her pen and ink style drawings of area antebellum homes.

Harper’s love for drawing and painting began when she learned drafting in 1954, a type of technical drawing.

“It was when I went on to perspectives that I began to dig deeper into art,” Harper said.

When The Dart landed on Temple Road in Natchez, Harper was sitting with her husband, Bobby, with several wildlife paintings surrounding the couple.

Harper has been working since the age of 14.

Now at 78, she incorporates her past experiences in drafting and architecture in her work.

But Harper has more creative freedoms with painting.

“(Painting) is more creative, and I’m not held down to ‘this is what this building looks like,’” Harper said.

While painting, Harper said she gets to choose her own colors and alter the sceneries from which she gathered her inspiration.

However, Harper strongly believes every house has its own art, as well.

“I feel more comfortable with architecture because the facts are laid out for you, I just have to gather them,” Harper said.

Harper said there is no way to describe the pleasure of creating art.

“It’s just one of the blessings that I have,” Harper said. “I feel like it’s a God given talent, it’s not something that I had all my life. When I was 28, I drew my first drawing — a deer in the snow.”

The deer in the snow was drawn a white cardboard, which is framed in her home.

“There is so much beauty in this world that everyday of your life, people miss — you don’t have to be an artist to see it,” Harper said.

Harper said she has gathered her knowledge of painting and drawing from association with other artists and by self-teaching herself.

Harper is currently a commercial insurance inspector.