Salemburg resident Lila Maxwell can’t remember a time when she didn’t like to draw. Painting, she noted, came later.
The self-taught artist’s work will be featured at the Small House beginning today and continuing through May 20.
Maxwell ,originally from Fayetteville and currently living in Salemburg, will be displaying at least 28 different pieces during the exhibition.
In an interview this week, Maxwell shared that she was an Army brat and has traveled the world. “I have lived in Alaska two different times. Once before it was a state and then after it was a state. Not only was I an Army brat but I married (someone in) the Army and we traveled around the world,” said the artist.
Maxwell is married to Ret. Col. Frederick “Mac” Maxwell. He teaches digital photography at Sampson Community College; his wife is his assistant. “Mac is an artist too. He enjoys painting on feathers and bark. That is just too small for me to do,” said Lila Maxwell.
Maxwell said she has drawn her entire life and began painting in 2003. “ I taught myself,” she attested. Although she enjoys pen and ink, graphite, and acrylics, water color is her favorite medium in which to work. “I love water color. And I love to do portraits,” admitted the artist. “I really enjoy trying to capture the energy and the whimsical ways of children when I paint.”
The artist paints from photographs that either she has taken or someone has shared with her to do her paintings. “Sometimes I take pictures of pictures to use. It allows me the opportunity to work when I feel like painting and not having to have a model,” remarked Maxwell.
Her first painting is a portrait of how she envisions Jesus. “I actually painted Jesus’ portrait twice. The first time, I prayed in the beginning but stopped and I messed it up. On my second attempt, I prayed the entire time and I am not sure where the look on his face came from but it has various meanings to different people when they view it,” explained Maxwell. The artist then told how she named the portrait she calls “The Gift.” “I was at church, (The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church), and Carlyle Williams sang the solo entitled ‘The Gift,’ and I knew that is what I had to call the painting.”
After drawing people her entire life, Maxwell began to paint portraits about a year and a half ago. “I haven’t had any formal training in painting. I am self-taught. However, in an attempt to be with others like me, I started attending continuing education classes at Sampson Community under Walt Smith. I love the way he helps us to see where we have made mistakes. He allows us to discover what we need to do to improve and complete the piece,” shared the artist.
The Salemburg artisan shared that she loves living in Sampson County. “I feel like there is beginning a rebirth of the arts here. If I didn’t have art in my life, I would not be complete. Kara (Donatelli) is doing a wonderful job here with the Art Council. It is unbelievable all that is going on here,” stated Maxwell.
She came to Sampson because she has ties here. Her grandfather on her mother’s side was Wade Peterson. “It is unfortunate but I do not know any of that side of the family. But I guess that is what happens when you travel as much as we did.”
Maxwell, who describes herself as unique, said she was excited and amazed that her work would be on display.
“I do hope people will come, see it and enjoy it. I hope they find pleasure in the whimsical portraits of children. I believe people should live their lives to the fullest and do everything possible to make others happy. That is what I hope people get from my art show,” said Maxwell.
Jokingly the artist said, “When I grow up, I hope to be able to paint like Paula Fitzpatrick, because she does water color so well. And if I ever decide to do oils, I hope to paint like Linda Williams as she does such wonderful work in that medium. I enjoy being able to share my work with others and hope to see many people as they come to see my show,” stated Maxwell.
Donatelli, executive director of the Sampson County Arts Council, shared that she was very excited about the new art show about to begin. “I am excited to have Lila show her work here with us. It is wonderful to be able to showcase a local artist with such talent. It is amazing to see the work she has done as a self-taught artist. She is a wonderful person and I feel everyone will want to come see what she has done.”
The Small House gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 2 until 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Also the gallery is open by appointment. To schedule an appointment call Donatelli at 596-2533.
An artist reception for Maxwell will be held on Thursday, April 28 from 6 until 8 p.m. The public is invited.
To contact Billy Todd, call 910-592-8137 ext. 117 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.