A double treat at Parnell

Published 10:40 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don’t miss the gallery show now in the Montevallo Parnell Memorial Gallery.

It’s a double treat featuring the paintings of Troy Crisswell, and the clay works of Becky Bolton Crisswell. The works will be on display through March 13, with a gallery talk by the artists and a reception on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m.

Even as a child Troy loved to draw and paint, especially comical and exaggerated figures. Serious study began as he attended Indian Springs High School and later Birmingham Southern.

His college education was interrupted by a stint of several years as an electric guitar player in rock bands.

Following those travels, he worked in map-making and as a graphic artist.

In 1982, he met and later married Becky Bolton. She introduced him to outdoor art shows and to the idea of becoming a full-time income–producing artist.

From the beginning, Crisswell’s paintings were a combination of realism with surrealistic elements. According to a quotation of Steve Masterson of The Acoustic Café, “Troy sees things in a strange way and has the ability to take wet paint and arrange it so you can see what he sees.” Many of his fascinating works are bizarre portraits of himself, members of his family or of family pets.

Becky’s interests in clay began when she, as a toddler, modeled bird nests from play dough.

She credits her teachers at Vestavia Hills High School, the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama, with inspiring her to pursue art as a career.

Becky does porcelain figure sculpture and wheel thrown works. Among the exhibits are paper relief designs, folded clay and hand drawn designs.

The extraordinary cobalt blue glaze found on some of her ceramics is a process she developed.

She is noted for a pencil-drawn “swimming fish” motif. Evident in her work is a deep understanding of clay and how to transform that into a thing of beauty.

Both of the Crisswells have strong Montevallo ties. Troy grew up in the city, Becky’s mother is a native, and her great-grandfather, Frank Moody, was on the first UM board of trustees.

Troy has published a book entitled Thoughts on Painting. Becky has most recently been appointed to the Montevallo Arts Council as gallery Chairman. Their work is available at most of the larger art shows, at Artists Inc. in Vestavia, and they will be in the Montevallo Art Show on April 10 in Orr Park.

Troy Criswell will lead a workshop on The Process of Starting a Painting on Feb. 6.

“The benefits would be grasping approaches and techniques,” said Criswell, “that the attendees can apply in their own paintings.”

More information on these artists and the mentioned events can be had at Montevalloartscouncil.org or at Troycrisswell.com.

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net.