The Center for Rural Development’s newest visual art exhibit features a collection of wildlife and landscape paintings from two Wayne County artists.
The exhibit includes more than 40 oil and acrylic paintings from wildlife artist James “Jay” Perkins and landscape artist David Coffey. Both are self-taught artists and the best of friends.
Perkins, a native of McCreary County and now living in Monticello, has been painting since the age of 3. His love for art would often get him in trouble at school.
He fondly remembers an incident in class where he got in trouble for sketching a pencil drawing when he should have been working on math problems assigned by his teacher
. That passion and attention to details can be seen in his wildlife oil paintings today. Coffey, who lives in the Frazer community of Wayne County, finds inspiration in everything around him.
He started painting around 10-12 years ago and soon discovered he had a talent for painting Kentucky landscapes. Some of their favorite pieces of art are on display in the lobby outside the North and South Exhibit Halls and on the second floor of The Center in Somerset.
“We are excited to have Jay and David as our featured artists and to display their work at The Center,” said Laura Glover, Managing Director of Marketing and Events.
“They both paint with passion and creativity and a deep love for nature and wildlife.” Both have a deep respect for each other’s work. The two met at an art exhibit a few years back and quickly became friends.
Each has his own unique style of painting. Perkins typically spends hours, and in some cases months, on a single oil painting perfecting every detail, down to the last leaf or grain of sand, and making sure the wildlife captured in his work is portrayed in its natural habitat.
“When I paint wildlife, the whole world is my canvas,” said Perkins. “I strive for accuracy and details in each of my paintings.” However, he admits his work cannot compete with the Master’s creation, “No one’s art can compare to His. All work is simply a very feeble attempt to portray what God has already created.” Perkins’ oil painting of a tiger swallowtail butterfly, on display in the exhibit, is an example of his attention to details.
He painstakingly painted each grain of sand in the painting, which took three months to complete. Coffey prefers to paint a piece of art usually in a single setting, often drawing on his emotion at the time to influence his work. “I have always felt a painting is like a photograph only done by hand,” said Coffey. “
With either a paintbrush or camera lens, the artist is making the same feeble effort to capture God’s mastery that surrounds us.” Coffey is exhibiting an oil and acrylic painting of the historic Mill Springs, as seen in the 1930s, and a complementary piece of the historic Brown-Lanier House in Monticello.
Other pieces in the exhibit include landscapes in Pulaski County and throughout the Bluegrass. Both Perkins and Coffey have exhibited at art shows in and outside Kentucky and are juried members of the Little Mountain Guild of Artists and Craftsmen in Monticello, Sheltowee Artisans, and Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.
The exhibit is free and will be on display through March 31. The public is invited to stop by The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset, to view the exhibit from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during extended evening and weekend hours when the facility is open for events. All of the paintings on display are available for sale upon request. If interested in purchasing a piece of art in the exhibit, please call Debra Hines, who is coordinating the exhibit for The Center, at 606-677-6000. Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold Hal Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In its 45-county primary service region, The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.
Landscape artist David Coffey is exhibiting this oil and acrylic painting of Mill
Springs, as seen in the 1930s, called “Below the Mill,” in an art exhibit at The Center in Somerset. He also
has a complimentary oil and acrylic painting of the historic Brown-Lanier House in Monticello featured in
the exhibit, among his other original artwork. Coffey lives in the Frazer community of Wayne County.
The Center for Rural Development is hosting a new wildlife and landscape art
exhibit by Wayne County artists James “Jay” Perkins, left, and David Coffey. The exhibit is on display at
The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset, through March 31.
Wildlife artist James “Jay” Perkins stands beside his original oil painting of a red
fox in a snow-covered scene on display in an art exhibit at The Center in Somerset. Perkins, a native of
McCreary County and now living in Monticello, is known for his accuracy and attention to details. He has
partnered with Wayne County artist David Coffey to showcase a wildlife and landscape art exhibit at The