Deloney shares insight with budding artists

Published 3:11 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

Jack Deloney might have cut his teeth on the farm, but he’s made his mark in the world with a paintbrush.

Deloney of Ozark is recognized as one of the top Southern watercolor artists working today. He attracted a packed house at the Colley Senior Complex on Thursday as guest speaker for the Art Guild’s quarterly meeting.

“I grew up on a farm,” Deloney said. “We had chickens and a milk cow and always a big garden to tend.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As a young boy, Deloney took mental snapshots of life of the farm, from his granddaddy sitting on the swing under the pecan tree to gathering peanuts in the field. From these images he doodled up an interest in art.

“Back then, you took aptitude tests to find out what career would best suit you,” Deloney said. “The test didn’t indicate that I could be an engineer and build bridges, but it did show that I had an interest in art.”

Although he was a doodler, Deloney had never read an art book.

“I’d never even read a book about art,” he said, laughing.

As Deloney began to doodle in a more serious manner, he found that there were some things he could do good and others he could not do as good.

He realized that he could learn from other artists and that it was possible to make a little money producing art. He learned about limited edition prints and started to participate in street shows.

“I became a street show junkie,” Deloney said.

He attended Troy University and honed his artistic talents under the tutelage of Alice Thornton and Ed Walter.

He found work as an illustrator at Fort Rucker and became obsessed with art.

“In an unconscious manner, I was moving toward a career in art,” he said.

“Visions of my childhood began coming to me: shanties, mules, farm implements, syrup making. I had cut my teeth on the farm and it became a part of my art. And, God gave me the strength to work and improve.

“When God gives you a talent, it’s not handed to you on a silver platter. You have to work at it and I’ve worked at it.”

Deloney is not painting as much as he once did.

“I’m in kind of a slump but I’m anxious to get motivated,” he said. “I’m ready to get the juices flowing again. Because art is what I do and my heart is in it.”