Hawkins County boasts a fine art community, and Lorraine Brewer who is an established artist and Smithsonian contributor is among them.
She’s a local legend around here. As Hannah Gillenwater said, “For those of you who are not familiar with Mrs. Brewer and her beautiful watercolor paintings, she is an artistic icon in Hawkins County. She has captured local landmarks, homes, buildings, etc. She is truly a wonderful lady and excellent artist.”
Hannah our local historian has a group on Facebook called, ‘Hawkins Conversations and Stories,’ where pictures were posted of Lorraine at home in Stanley Valley near my grandpa Shanks’ Mill.
It sparked public interest and comments. That same mill Lorraine painted as a watercolor, and I admiring her work did an acrylic copy. She was quite pleased and gracious as I was showing her my work, and I was charmed.
That post stirred curiosity about her classes and her paintings for sale. Many expressed love and gratitude such as Stacy Lawson Brewer who said, “She is also the best Mother-in Law and grandmother anyone could ask for.”
But don’t be fooled by her southern charm. In class she has a quick wit and ready retort: she couldn’t think of any reason she shouldn’t be in this article. I was pleasantly surprised to learn she had read my previous article about the Drive in Movie on Choptack Road and enjoyed it.
Interestingly enough the property where it sits was formerly owned by Lorraine’s grandparents. Talk about a small world.
Lorraine’s down home wisdom is appreciated and sought after still as it has been many years before and will continue to be for years to come. Future generations will be talking about her long after we’re all gone.
Hannah goes on to say, “I took two classes where we painted vintage windows. One was a fall scene and the other winter. She had the image drawn on the glass and we painted it. Kinda like paint by numbers… The only way I can paint.”
“I once did her prints. She is one of the best,” says Mike Lawson. I responded yes we are fortunate to get the chance to work with her. Vicki Jo Wallen added, “The painting that means the most to me is the one she did of Daddy Joe and Grandmother Simmon’s house in Stanley Valley: “It brings back memories of happy times at their house.”
The cabin where she teaches is warm and inviting. It’s filled with her treasures and artwork, even a painting she did as an 8 years old girl. Her art has touched many lives. I myself had Lorraine’s artwork in Helsingborg Sweden to remind me of home.
Faye Ferguson sent photos of her paintings and said, “I treasure them because they were gifts from my Mother but also because I love Lorraine, who was our neighbor in Surgoinsville.”
“I love Lorraine,” says Phyllis Wolfe Mackie. Billy Davis adds, “Her and her husband are such nice people.” Tammy Hutchins Begley said, ”I’ve had many lessons with her.” Barbara Perry Sturgeon did window painting with her and loved it. Nadine Gatewood Armstrong stated,”She’s a wonderful artist.”
Debbie Davidson at the Davidson Farm had Lorraine’s work throughout her house. It was interesting to see. We talked about how Debbie acquired them. Each with its own story. And it was fun, seeing my own work next to hers.
Shauna Slaughter has a fantastic mural in her foyer painted by Lorraine, standing on a scaffold. Shauna an artist herself and protege of Lorraine for 9 years says, “The best advise she has gotten from Lorraine is not to stress about the process because it’s just a piece of paper and art is a series of corrections.”
Anyone interested in studying under Lorraine Brewer or seeing her collection can contact her at (423) 345-3347. Her studio is located the Stanley Valley community near Surgoinsville at 169 Brewer Road.