McCray’s Art exhibit open house

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Artist Dian Kent McCray talks about her paintings. (Contributed)

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Readers are in luck! The many who appreciate fine art still have the opportunity to visit the Parnell Memorial Library Gallery to see Dian Kent McCray’s wonderful “Self-Portrait in Red” exhibit that will be on display until Dec. 22.

In describing this group of paintings, McCray explained that she loves bright colors, especially red, and that each image in the exhibit represents a special relationship or event in her life and captures her personality, attitude and individuality as an artist and as a person; it reflects her life and her interests. She summed it up as she proclaimed, “This collection is me!”

“When I stand before the easel,” said the artist, “I consider myself a portrait artist even though I usually paint places and objects. In my mind, if I successfully capture personality, attitude and individuality when painting a chair, it is a “portrait” of that chair. I depend on rich color and texture and high contrast to define those desirable traits in my work.”

This writer can only describe McCray’s delightful paintings of everyday objects as bright, bold, pleasing and somehow reminiscent of the mid 1900s, and Grandmother’s kitchen.

McCray is a native of Shelby County and has taught art in the Thompson schools (elementary and high) for 32 years.

She studied art at Arizona State University, but received both undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Montevallo. She has paintings in private collections throughout the United States and in Europe and exhibits regularly in several Southeastern galleries.

This lady is multi-talented: She is the author and illustrator of two children’s books. The latest is “Amma’s Magic Box,” the story of Art JuJu as told through her 6-year-old grandson’s eyes. McCray has also published articles in “Arts and Activities,” and “Alabama Zoological Society” magazines and illustrated several publications for Hopscotch Press, Manasha Ridge Press and Bantam Doubleday Dell Books.

McCray’s current art exhibit is sponsored by the Montevallo Arts Council and can be viewed during regular library hours.

For information concerning upcoming art gallery events, go to


Catherine Legg can be reached at