‘Journeys’ revealed at Suffolk art show

Published 9:23 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hillcrest Baptist Church on Holland Road in Suffolk hosted the “Journeys” art show in the church fellowship hall on Saturday. Artists in Loretta Lamb’s “Joyful Strokes” painting classes presented an impressive collection of unique artworks, with the majority of these artworks up for sale.

Ten percent of the proceeds went to support the Bland Ministry Center in Bland, located in the Appalachian region near the West Virginia border.

There were several different artists who contributed to the Saturday show, including their instructor, Lamb. Members of the church were joined by friends, neighbors and other locals who perused the colorful, striking selection of art pieces.

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One of these artists was Gail Evans-Hamilton, who had everything from painted sunsets at the beach to smiling scarecrows and Santa Claus. She sells several pieces out of the Cockeyed Rooster Café in Smithfield.

She said that “Baby Henry,” a small painting of a cute little pig, does well at the Café — along with her different chickens, of course.

“I love to do animals and birds, but as you can tell I do a little bit of everything,” she said.

The oldest of seven children, Evans-Hamilton’s childhood free time was spent drawing outside. Then one year, she got a “how to draw book,” she said, and then a few years after that her parents gave her a set of oil paints and an easel. She still uses that easel to this day.

She drew her son’s favorite superheroes — Superman, Spiderman and the Hulk — for him when he was young, more than 30 years ago now.

She was drawn back to her easel once again after she married her husband, John, and stopped working, and she’s been a student of Lamb’s art classes for years. Lamb first held her classes at Michaels, then out of her Suffolk home when the store let its painting instructors go.

“It’s with her guidance, and the grace of God, that I have a little talent,” Evans-Hamilton said in praise of Lamb.

Lamb has been teaching art classes for 13 years and counting. She suffered congestive heart failure in June 2018 and a stroke in December, but she’s recovering well and is still eager to keep doing what she loves.

Lamb and her students hope to make the Journeys art show an annual tradition at Hillcrest Baptist Church. She said that the name is a reference to the intimate, personal paths that every person undertakes.

“We all have journeys in life, and it really doesn’t matter what we’re painting,” Lamb said. “We’re on a journey, and each picture takes us through our own life experiences in some way.”

She hopes there’s at least one art piece that touches someone in some way.

“Something in here will touch one person’s life, and something else will touch somebody else,” she said.