Al Morris started painting in oils and acrylics in high school. Though he stopped when he had kids, the urge to create never left him, and he always kept a sketchbook handy. When his wife, Beth, gave him an easel and a set of watercolors, he got hooked and has never stopped, and now he focuses exclusively on watercolors.
Morris was born in Savannah, Georgia, but ventured far and wide during a 20-year career in the Air National Guard, from which he retired as a senior master sergeant. He then worked as a civilian employee at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina for 14 years, followed by another 14-year stint as an engineer with Northrop Grumman in Maryland. Much of his work involved communications in some way, from teaching to designing communications systems. He and his wife moved to Anderson out of a desire to come south and to be close to family. The Morrises have two children and one grandchild.
Morris’s working years included a lot of travel to such places as Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan. He and a colleague often stopped in Europe on their way east, and Morris jokes that he saw Europe “one day at a time.” Now that he’s retired, Morris and his wife have taken many trips together; some favorite destinations include Rome, Spain, the Netherlands, and Croatia, as well as U.S. tours to the Grand Canyon and South Dakota.
When Morris travels, he keeps travel journals in which he does a lot of sketching and some painting. “I keep a record of where I’m at,” he said. “Sometimes it provides inspiration for other work.”
Morris enjoys the challenge of adding layers in watercolor. He paints mostly landscapes and animals and considers himself a realist. “I like to paint things as they look,” he said. He paints early each morning and tries to take one class a year to develop his skills and to try new techniques.
Al Morris’s paintings will be on display in the case on the first floor of the Anderson Arts Center from July 9 to September 10. For more information about Al Morris, visit http://the-morris-gallery.blogspot.com/ and his travel journals at http://thetravelingman-cam.blogspot.com/.