Influenced by her native South and visits to the Southwest, recent works by the Booneville native and former Booneville art instructor are currently featured at the Corinth Artist Guild Gallery. Waller will visit Corinth for an opening reception at the gallery on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. along with her husband Jeff, who will sign copies of his books. The exhibit runs through Oct. 21.
“Her paintings have a great deal of charm and character,” said Guild President Sonny Boatman. “There is a great variety in the subject matter because she and her husband have traveled widely.”
The Wallers moved from Booneville a couple of years ago to Gulf Shores, Ala., after she wrapped up 33 years as an art instructor.
She began her teaching career at Booneville.
“I always wanted to come back and teach art in my hometown,” said Waller. “That dream came true for me.”
She also taught in Ohio, Tennessee, Louisiana, Tupelo, and at Northeast Mississippi Community College before completing her career at Tishomingo County High School.
She was drawn to art at an early age.
“I remember being in my grandmother’s house and walking around and drawing on the little sketch pads that she had, and seeing my first box of crayons,” said Waller. “It’s been about color ever since.”
Inspired by light and color and influenced by the impressionists, she enjoys painting with acrylics unless using a palette knife, when she opts for oils.
Vivid colors bring to life images of American Indians, rural scenery, a wild turkey, and a bird standing at the edge of deep ocean blues in just a few of the exhibited works.
On the more whimsical side, Waller captures a still-wrapped Tootsie Pop on a large canvas in honor of “Kojak.” It is appropriately titled, “Who Loves You Baby?” Another captures the likeness of Sonny Boatman in the style of Van Gogh.
“That’s the art history background that I have and teaching kids about art history,” she said. “I like to experiment with the different styles people in the past have used.”
Signing the works simply with “A” is a statement of faith. On the back, each is inscribed “MGBG,” signifying “May God be glorified.”
“I didn’t create the things that I’m seeing, and it makes it hard to put my name to it,” said Waller.
She hopes others will enjoy her vision of the world, which she describes as “part observation, part imagination — it’s just me.”
Her husband of 36 years, Jeff, is a native of New Orleans and a retired computer programmer for United Healthcare. He has written several action/adventure novels and the Ty Chase series of western novellas.
His first book, “The Twisted Mile,” was published in 1995.
“It’s largely centered around Tupelo and Booneville,” he said. “The characters in most of my books are pretty much based in the South, in New Orleans or thereabouts, although the stories don’t necessarily take place there.”
He is nearly finished with another called “Indestructible.”
“My feeling has always been unless a story almost forces you to write it, if it’s not an obsession for the writer to write it, you are wasting your time and the reader’s time,” he said.
Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 609 North Fillmore.