Thursday, November 1, 2012

Landscape Drawings by James Bennett Opens in Art Gallery

On Display Through January 3, 2013

Jim, a retired insurance executive, began his newfound art career only in the year 2000. At the time, he was successfully recovering from a bout with Cancer and at the suggestion of his wife, Dolores, took a pen and ink course taught by a noted nature artist. By the end of the third class, the instructor asked Jim to join him in teaching the class and later encouraged him to enter juried art shows.

Jim has a natural talent, with minimal formal training, who somehow is innately aware of the various drawing techniques as well as the principles of light and perspective. His specialty is drawing landscapes, seascapes and animal life, in great detail. Later while recovering from a heart attack, Jim expressed his grief at the tragedies of 9/11 in two paintings, embodying an emotional property. One of these drawings was delivered to then President George Bush, where it remained on the wall outside the West Wing and now is part of the George Bush’s private art collection. Another print hangs in the Office of Emergency Management near ground zero.

Originally, he sketched only in pen and ink, but later enhanced his drawings with color, using pencils, watercolors, acrylics, oils and pastels—and when called for, he employs a number of different media in the same drawing.

His drawings contain an intrinsic, spiritual quality, drawn on his personal beliefs and convictions. “Living in the mountains of Georgia, I am constantly amazed at the natural beauty all around us—just waiting for artists like myself to capture on paper.”

Jim has served on the Boards of the Cherokee County Arts Council, the Sharptop Mountain Arts Association and The Lake Arrowhead Arts Association--and is also a member of the Arts Alliance of Georgia and the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association. He has received many First Place ribbons over the past ten years.

James can be reached at 770-704-0390 or at

The Lilliput Lane Collection by The Gilmans Opens in Display Gallery

On Display Through January 3, 2013

Joe and Susan Gilman are long-time residents of Smyrna, having moved here in 1990. They are the proud parents of 3 daughters—Emily Gilman, Natalie Gilman Powell, and Hannah Gilman. Shortly after moving here, Joe was asked to lead a major project in Australia for BellSouth which allowed him to travel extensively throughout Asia and periodically meet with business partners in Europe. On one of his trips to London, he purchased their first Lilliput Lane cottage, “Butterwick,” as a homecoming gift for Susan.

Lilliput Lane cottages were the creation of David Tate in 1982. David had a background in chemistry and materials and developed the plaster-like material used in casting the models. The material allows more intricate details to be formed. His first cottage, done as a project for a school that was closing that wanted to honor its students, was “Cliburn School.” Only 64 of the models were made and were given as gifts. The value of one of these models today on the secondary market is approximately $2500.

Numerous models have now been produced, ranging from tiny cottages to large landscapes. Each is made and hand-painted in the borderlands between England and Scotland. The display here is only a small portion of the Gilmans’ collection and captures several different phases and types of Lilliput cottages. The displays include the original American Roadside series, European collections, and, in honor of the season, snow-covered cottages. The snow-covered cottages are among the Gilmans’ favorites, especially during the holidays.