For its new location on Highway 81 in Anderson, Countybank recently purchased eight paintings, including pieces by six Anderson Artists Guild members: Debbie Bzdyl, Diana Gilham, Garret Hamm, Jamie Hansen, Al Morris, and Diann Simms. The pieces were on display at the branch’s grand opening on Sept. 19. Last year Countybank purchased Stan O’Bannon’s artwork from the AAG display window for the bank’s downtown Anderson branch.
Thornwell Dunlap, President and CEO of Countybank, is well known for his support of the local arts community. Leslie Lee, former director of the Anderson Arts Center, brought eight paintings out to the new branch for Dunlap to choose from. He ended up purchasing all of them.
Debbie Bzdyl’s Evolution of Matter (acrylic) is part of a series called Cosmic Dance. “Abstract painting allows me to work with feelings and concepts, to give form to the intangible,” she said. “The concept of how things morph, transform, change, and renew—particularly on a cosmic scale—intrigues me.”
Diana Gilham’s painting, Wetlands (acrylic), was inspired by her love for nature’s mysteries. “I like marshes and their mystique,” she said. “All kinds of life are living within and under them. Also, I was going for a representational painting with lots of color.”
Sunday Brunch (oil) by Garret Hamm was sparked by an early morning walk. “I find that all large to medium sized cities are empty of people early on Sunday mornings,” he said. “My wife and I were walking our dog and taking a few photos when we walked by this alley. I took the photo as reference for the large columns and extreme perspective. The painting evolved from there.”
Jamie Hansen’s piece, Iris Diptych (watercolor and gold leaf on paper), was “painted from a photo I took outside my old office in Greensboro, North Carolina,” she said.
Al Morris’ GMC (watercolor) “is a detail of a rusting GMC pickup truck that was in the woods near Highway 76,” he said. “It currently graces the front of The Smokin’ Pig restaurant.” He signs all of his work with his initials, CAM, the way he did as a draftsman.
County Bank purchased two paintings, both watercolors with ink, by Diann Simms. The inspiration for Lena’s Tree followed a death. “A very senior member of Grace Episcopal Church died and I was asked to go to her house and make photographs of the trees on her property—perhaps for inspiration at a later date,” said Simms. “I was inspired. Mrs. Lena Chapman and her brother grew up on the property and she lived there her whole life. I could just see that young girl sitting in the crook of the branches reading a book and daydreaming!” The second piece, Rainey Day, was completed after a storm. “I was caught in the rain in a parking lot in Charleston one day,” she said. “I absolutely couldn’t bear to waste the time and the views. This painting represents one of those views.”