By: T. Cummings
If you walk through the bottom floor of the 140 year-old Quayside Art Gallery building in downtown Pensacola, you will encounter a strange society hanging from its walls—a cow moose, several herons, an elephant seal, a cape buffalo, a black lab, a titmouse, some owls.
They are the subjects of Nature’s People, a new exhibit featuring animal-themed art from local artists Scott Melville and Heather A. Mitchell. The Quayside Gallery hosted an opening reception for the exhibit Friday. The event was attended by the artists, who were accompanied by a group of owls from the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida.
Scott Melville’s paintings, rendered in tempera, explore a variety of textures—the leathery frown of a buffalo, the crowded scales of an alligator, an iguana’s jaw—which he says the medium is perfect for. “If I can get it right,” he said Friday, “It really comes alive. I like that challenge.”
For Heather A. Mitchell, a pet owner who searches local parks in search of subjects for her art, animals have a strange appeal. “I just feel very connected to them,” she said. “They’re mysterious and yet familiar at the same time.”
Mitchell’s works are done in a variety of mediums, including silverpoint, colored pencil and scratchboard. Her art is meticulous and finely wrought, especially when she uses scratchboard, which she scrapes with an X-Acto knife to produce photo-realistic images of furs and feathers.
The exhibit is open and free to the public at the Quayside Art Gallery until May 2. For more information, visit quaysidegallery.com. To learn more about Heather A. Mitchell and her artwork, visit heathermitchelldraws.com.