SYLACAUGA — The Icie Wallace exhibit at B.B. Comer Museum is a true example of skills and knowledge progression in art.
Twelve years of learning and an undeniable natural talent are on display, and the 17-year-old, home-schooled senior is excited to show and talk about her artwork.
Plein air paintings, colored pencil pieces and watercolor landscapes are grouped by year. Some are award-winning entries in prestigious competitions, some are more personal and on loan from family members, but the entire collection shows her artistic developments in technique, tools and color in a variety of media.
"I usually use oil paints when I do plein air painting," she said. "I travel with a group called then Alabama plein air Artists Collective. They select a city to go, and I'll go with them. I get to sit with the other artists and learn from them."
She points to a group of 3x5 canvases and elaborates.
"There was a church on Pike Road called Grace Episcopal, and the gardens in the back were probably the prettiest I've ever seen," she said. "It looked like it was like a little fairy land. It was all grown over with moss," she said, adding that she typically doest use a green pallet unless it's for a plein air painting.
She is studying the Zorn pallet now, after a trip to the National Gallery piqued her interest.
"A few years back, me and my dad went, and some of my favorite pieces were by Dutch still life artists," she said. "And a lot of the colors they used were very dark and muted, but they added small bright patches of color just to kind of draw attention to one particular thing. So, I think that's really neat.
"And I like playing around with transparency, which makes sense since I enjoy using watercolor, so I like kind of trying to make the colors almost seem as though they're glowing."
A recent lesson in Asian culture inspired her to use Sumi-e ink for a local Sylacauga street scene, complete with railroad tracks.
"Most of the Japanese ink paintings are very clearly scenes in the Far East. So, I wanted to use those muted tones and that technique for a local scene," she said.
And she recently began embellishing her paintings and sketches with metallics.
"I feel like it highlights certain things, and it gives people a reason to come see it in person, because you can't see those details of my art online," she said. "There's just a lot of things you don't see unless you're in person. It adds like an extra layer of dimension to the piece that doesn't show up on a computer monitor."
Wallace said she plans to pursue art in college, but as a concentration in a marketing or communication program.
A reception for Wallace is planned for Jan. 20 at the museum, and some of her paintings will be available for purchase.