Commissioned by a client in Ashland, AL, he'd taken a photo of the bridge years ago that he said wasn’t very good so he threw it away. He asked me if I would draw it in pen and ink for him in a very horizontal shape including the Presbyterian Church at the end of the bridge. The bridge crosses the Coosa River, is 83 years old and is a favorite landmark in the area. It was filmed in the circus scene in Tim Burton's movie "Big Fish". The original is 11” x 25 5/8” and is available as a print through my etsy shop.
My newest drawing is of Samford Hall. In 1859, the original Samford Hall was constructed as a main building for the East Alabama College and referred to as “Old Main”. It was a four-story Italianate building and was erected at a cost of $75,000. School was suspended in 1862 due to the Civil War.
Sherman’s assault on Atlanta meant reopening “Old Main,” and other facilities of the closed East Alabama Male College for care of Confederate wounded. The State of Texas helped pay for the services, and the place became known as the Texas Hospital. In July 1864, more than 400 Texans were treated there. Many Texas soldiers never made it home from east Alabama and are buried in Pine Hill Cemetery.
On June 24, 1887, Samford Hall burned.
Samford Hall in the 1890s
It was rebuilt in 1888 from plans by Bruce and Morgan, architects with James Smith as the contractor. A ceremony was held the first day of construction with Charles B. Glenn, at the age of eight, laying the first brick. Samford Hall was officially named for Governor William James Samford in May, 1929. Through the years, the interior of this building has been renovated many times to meet the changes of a growing college. Samford Hall originally had a bell that rang every hour for classes, and although the bell still remains in the tower, an electrically controlled clock marks the time now.
Prints can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/ptftnbe
This drawing was commissioned by a client as an anniversary gift for her husband. His father owned a small newspaper which was published in this building. It was called the News Bee and sold for 5 cents a copy back when he was helping his father as a young man. My client even helped when she was dating her husband. The building was torn down several years ago so she's giving him the drawing to bring back warm memories of a special time in his life.
It's not too early to commission a special drawing for someone you love for Christmas. Please email me and arrange a call to talk about what you'd like me to create for you.
"Often during the day, I return to my childhood home. I approach it from my favorite angle by way of its curving driveway that ends aside three graceful arched windows bringing light into the sun porch. I approach by the side of a grandfatherly oak tree, majestically standing.
Melissa Tubbs makes this daily journey possible.
As soon as I asked her to draw the home my siblings and I soon would be selling, Melissa began asking me what I hoped to be preserved in an ink drawing she would render. It's as though she listened into her hands.
Melissa's drawing jumps off the page and into a mind of memories. It's warmth of light and the shadows formed when that light is filtered through trees is astounding. It offers the chance to stand again in that place and to appreciate fully the moments spent inside a grand, old friend. Thanks to Melissa's exquisite drawing of fine, simultaneously strong and sensitive lines, of contrasts that form texture and depth, I'll forever feel--no matter how far away--I'm driving up the driveway, home."
--Jan Weil, New York City, NY
I was recently commissioned to create a drawing for a soon to be released CD by Ben deHoedt of Melbourne, Australia. Indians to Heaven is built on the idea of reversing the meaning of lyrics to Pantera songs. (Pantera was an extremely popular metal band from Arlington, Texas, formed in 1981.) Indians to Heaven (the name itself an antonym to Pantera’s moniker, Cowboys from Hell) represents the work of Aleks Habus and Ben, who have each written and recorded their own “antonyms” of Pantera’s album “The Great Southern Trendkill.”
Aleks has titled his album “A Quiet Life Up North,” and Ben has titled his “The Gentle Northern Wind.” They have co-written one song which appears on both albums with a different title, lyrics and production. While each album is a complete package, written and performed independently by Aleks and Ben, they are both “Indians to Heaven” albums.
“A Quiet Life Up North” is a pastoral celebration of life in Ascot Vale, a suburb north-west of Melbourne. Songs about love, domesticity, lemon trees and the Ascot sunlight are occasionally interrupted with the atmosphere that the dusk brings to the Vale.
“The Gentle Northern Wind” tells the story of a charismatic stranger who offers salvation to a community of defeated people, in a narrative told from multiple perspectives. Conceived as the lyric “reversal’ process for the title song, the emerging themes were shaped into a story reminiscent of Stephen King or Clive Barker and musically traverses several genres, although mostly serving as a love letter to 1970’s progressive rock.
I thoroughly enjoyed the process and experience of working with Ben to create the drawing for his cover. He sent me the lyrics to his songs and described what he envisioned for the drawing including samples of Alfred Rethel’s prints for the look he was interested in achieving. (Rethel was a German printmaker in the early-to-mid-1800s.) He wanted a skeletal reaper “pied piper” on a white stallion with sad, tired, frightened people following him. The setting is the desert in the American west of the late 1800s.
After emailing sketches back and forth, tweaking and fine-tuning here and there, we had the final drawing (above right) which we’re both extremely happy with.
Both albums will be released via Bandcamp very soon with singles from each to be released prior to this. Ben released his single “His Softly Spoken Words” April 25th and you can to it at http://indianstoheaven.bandcamp.com/
“A Cookbook for Katie” by Daphne Simpkins is not your average cookbook. The recipes are laced with history (of ingredients and family dynamics), suggestions for ways of doing things (creating cornbread with crust, making meringue, separating eggs—it’s a sin to throw yolks away, they are given to the dogs, one yolk per dog, including the neighbor’s dog, Mr. Mooney) and woven in between delightful stories.
Several months ago Daphne asked if she could reference my work in the book. The reference is in the last essay “The Bride’s Room.”
“Standing in front of a series of carefully crafted drawings, I experience Melissa Tubbs’ exquisite work on the wall. They are architectural drawings of specific locations of this building. Deceptively austere, they draw you into not the place they represent but into a timelessness, a serenity so peaceful that I can hear the whisper from heaven, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ In those pictures I enter that stillness and know a deeper way of breathing, of being, but once I turn away I find myself wondering about the artist who capture those still moments. I deduce that the artist has a pure heart, and I wonder what that feels like and if she sees God. The Bible says that pure-hearted people do.”
On one hand it’s amazing for me that I could be seen as pure-hearted, on the other hand, that is what creating art is all about--making a profound connection deep within a person for the better. My hope is always that it would be true.
This is a delightfully good read. As Daphne says, “…eating and recipes always come with stories. That’s one of the reasons they taste so good.”
Get your copy at bookstores and on Amazon. As a matter of fact, beginning on Valentine’s Day you can get a free Kindle version of the book on Amazon.
I’m pleased to be a participant in the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts exhibition Creator/Created: Jerry Siegel Portraits and Artists from the Permanent Collection which will be on view from March 8 through June 1, 2014.
Over the past few decades Siegel has captured intimate moments with our region’s most creative artists. By providing details such as what the artists look like or where they work, he creates an important visual record that illuminates the rich art-making culture of the South. Pairing works from the permanent collection with Siegel’s portraits of their creators, allows the fresh interpretations of the art works and new insight into their makers.
The opening reception on Thursday, April 10th will begin with a gallery talk from 5:30 to 6:00 with Jerry Siegel and participating artists, followed by the reception. Please mark your calendars and plan on being in Montgomery to join us for a unique art-and-artist-filled evening!