Paintings to be displayed at FMU, Jan. 11-March 17
Paintings by James Meekins will be exhibited as part of Francis Marion University’s Art Gallery Series, Jan. 11 through March 17.
The display is open to the public, free of charge, and may be viewed between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Smith University Center gallery.
Meekins began to draw and paint very early in life due to the influence of two older sisters. They taught him to read and write at an early age and, as they were also talented at drawing and painting, they taught him those arts as well.
His first drawings were of horses, cattle and simple landscapes, as Meekins was born on a Texas ranch where working animals dominated family life.
He attended many schools and had personal instruction under many leading artists. He studied color and composition under Thelma De Goede Smith, and attended many workshops in France, Holland and Germany in both design and portraits. He never abandoned the Western influence in his work, although he did a “Renaissance” series that won many awards, and does commissioned portraits as well.
His great, great grandfather, Jonathan Meekins, was an early settler in the old Cheraws, which later became Marlboro County. Jonathan Meekins’ sons and daughters moved to several of the surrounding counties, where James Meekins has acquired land that once belonged to his family. His studio, once a school and lodge known as the Dalcho School, was built by Masons in 1874 and has itself survived through many changes in fortune.
Meekins came to South Carolina in 1989 seeking his roots and he found them through the help of many people in Dillon, Marlboro and other surrounding counties. Soon after he arrived, the Florence Museum invited him to exhibit his work, together with portrait artist Lorna Shanks. The show launched his art in the area.
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